With the 2022 elections on the horizon and Texas Democrats again angling for a purple state, the rumors of a Republican downfall appear exaggerated, but not without some merit.
Although Texas is widely considered a conservative state, it was not always a well-known Republican stronghold.
GOP History in Texas
In the years following the Civil War, Reconstruction soured most Southerners toward the Republican party, as the U.S. military occupied the South under the auspices of the Republican presidential administrations of Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant.
President Rutherford B. Hayes removed U.S. troops in the beginning of his presidency in 1877, but the stained image of the Republican Party as occupiers continued. This image did not sit well with a state whose population was built on the freedom and self-sufficiency of earlier Texians.
For nearly a hundred years after Reconstruction, the Republican Party barely managed to hold a primary much less accomplish the task of getting an official elected to statewide office.
However, in 1960, Texas Republican John Tower won the U.S. Senate seat in a special election following Lyndon B. Johnson’s resignation to become vice president. Senator Tower was the first Republican elected to a statewide office since Reconstruction, beginning a new era for the Republican Party in Texas.
In 1972, William Clements Jr. became the first Republican governor in over a hundred years, though his two non-successive terms were marred by controversy and scandal.
Together, Clements and Tower would build the Republican Party in Texas into a viable political machine, and with the campaigning of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush occurring in Texas during the 1979-1980 presidential election, the people of Texas would slowly make the switch from moderate Democrat to Republican.
The elections of the 1980s and 1990s demonstrated the continual rise of the Republican Party, with
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