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Research Paper Example: Texas Political Culture

7 pages
1730 words
Sewanee University of the South
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

1. Introduction to Texas Politics

When we analyze modern Texas, we encounter elements of diversification based on ethnic background, political ideology, economic interest, and regional variation. Today, labeling an individual as a Texan merely regarding few qualities will be inapplicable. Today, Texas is home to millions of people from diverse racial and ethnic upbringing. Factors such as diversity in historical, economic, social, and geographical forces determine the daily livelihood of the residents. Some of the qualities of a modern-day Texan include living an independent life, straightforward, simple, and patriotic.

Also, individuals who are born in Texas and have lived there for a long time often tend to be boastful, religious fanatics, and materialistic. Texans also believe in being equally competitive to survive in a world full of competition. They believe in the idea of natural selection. Only the strong deserve to survive. Today, the complexity and diversity of culture in Texas are eminent in social dynamics such as political representation in the legislature as well as economic interests, and religious beliefs (Brown et al., 2013). This paper analyzes the political culture of Texas as well as political representation in the state. Apart from that, this essay highlights the roles and functions of various interest groups in Texas politics.

2. Texas Political Culture

2.1. Definition of Political Culture

Political culture refers to how the citizens of a country or a state view or understand the local, national or international politics. The political culture of a particular group of people is evident through their values, habits, ideas, and beliefs regarding the government. A viable research on people's political culture should encompass dynamics such as the relationship between the public and the state, the rights and freedom of the people, the obligation of the government to the people, as well as the limits of the powers of the government.

That said, this section of the paper aims to analyze the political culture and ideology in Texas as well as the inclusion of Texans in state politics.

2.2. Political Culture and Political Ideology in Texas

This section will analyze and describe the political culture and ideology in Texas through three types of philosophical approaches. These approaches include classical liberalism, social conservatism, and populism.

Firstly, the approach of classical liberalism relates the diversity in the political culture to the political value and legislative frameworks that allow individuals to exercise their civic rights without infringing other people's rights. In Texas, many politicians and political parties adopt this approach to attain their social objectives. Classical liberalism in Texas employ strategies such as reliance on the private sector or the free market to achieve the best outcome. Apart from acting as a fuel to accelerate economic growth, this technique also encourages religious tolerance and civil liberty among civilians in Texas.

Secondly, the idea of classical liberalism is being surpassed by the embracement of social conservatism in the state. The believers of this approach in Texas often value existing traditions such as established religious beliefs and practices as well as the respect to the authority figures in the society such as religious leaders, members of the military, political leaders, and businesspersons.

Lastly, the political culture of Texas also incorporates the idea of populism. The primary objective of populism is the concern for the well-being of ordinary civilians, and consider the will of the majority as the principal virtue of a political figure or group. Populists in Texas encourage the involvement of the government in the regulation of societal norms and the economy. At times, populism is used to ignite tension between the ideologies of classical liberalism and social conservatism, as populists often emerge as a neutral party.

2.3. Political Inclusion in Texas

Texas is a state of immigrants. Texas itself borders Mexico. Long before the coming of the Europeans, Texas had been home to immigrants from different parts of the world such as the Native Americans, the Spanish, French, Anglo-Americans, Africans, and so on. However, this influx accelerated after the World War 2. The population of immigrants increased tremendously during this period resulting in the development of diverse economy and society.

Today, the entire human population in Texas is approximately 30 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2000), the population of Texas between 1990 and 2000 recorded a growth rate of 22.8% . The figure accounts for an additional 4 million people within ten years. However, over the years, the poor, women, the disabled, and the minority groups have not enjoyed equal political representation and participation relative to their population size. Research indicates that whites have dominated the Texas politics over the years. However, over the last three decades, these marginalized groups have managed to secure representation in the legislature by elected one of their own in government offices.

Still, factors like low levels of education, language barrier and poverty hinder this development. Also, many women who have the interest of pursuing political careers find it hard to do so because of the difficulties in balancing their motherly duties and professional careers. Additionally, prejudice and discrimination also contribute in limiting the opportunities for political participation for the minorities, the poor and the women. As illustrated before, these groups today are making progress in securing seats in government offices such as the judiciary, the legislature, and the executive.

Lastly, the immigrant population in Texas tend to be much younger than the non-immigrant population. This statement implies that the immigrant groups in the state are not old enough to participate in the democratic processes like voting or running for a seat in the public office (Davidson, 1992). It is for this reason that the Republicans and Democrats in Texas are developing strategies to inflict a sense of party loyalty and identification among the immigrants and minorities.

3. Political Parties in Texas

3.1. Political Representation in Texas

The significance of political parties in the political system is often debatable. Political analysts argue whether political parties are critical to the operation of the democratic system of a nation. Most people view the political parties as being responsible for causing divisions in the society as they are often partisan. However, apart from the negative results of political parties, their roles are critical to the operation of the country's political system. Political parties also unite various groups of people within the electorate.

Like in other American states, the political parties in Texas provide a platform for public participation at various levels of the political system. Apart from providing a platform for people to exercise their political rights, political parties in Texas also helps to provide people with the latest news and the emerging issues in the political world. Apart from that, parties also help to connect the government with the citizens and various levels of the political system.

Lastly, this section of political parties in Texas highlights on the contemporary party politics in the as well as how the public participate in party politics in Texas. This chapter also examines how the political parties function and their obligation to the society.

3.2. Contemporary Party Politics in Texas

Throughout the first half of 20th century, Texas party politics has been dominated by the Democrats. However, as years went by, Democratic Party dominance in the state politics has witnessed a series of decline. For example, over the last one decade, the party has lost support from conservative white voters and sponsors because of support from liberals and blacks for civil rights. Also, political parties in Texas are shifting to more expensive techniques of campaigning with some parties resorting to fundraising for their campaigns. The Republicans have gained the upper hand soliciting campaign money through fundraising.

Since the decline of populist insurgency in 1896, party politics in Texas has been under the dominance of the Democrats. For over five decades, the Democratic Party has dominated the politics in Texas. However, differences began to develop between three groups of Democrats, that is, the conservatives, the liberals, and the moderates. The former are primarily business oriented, and often resistant to allowing improvement on civil rights for African Americans as well as Mexican Americans. Also, this group is for the support of the current social conventions.

The liberals are however against the pro-business bias of state government, are for the civil rights of the minorities. They also advocate for the increase in state funding of services for the poor. The moderates often provide neutral stands on contentious issues between the liberals and conservatives. They attempt to mediate between the two groups by advocating for equality in civil rights and equity in social service provisions while maintaining support for business interests in the state.

As mentioned before, the Republican Party over the years has increased their representation in Texas party politics. Many political analysts attribute this improvement to the internal divisions in the Democratic Party (Khaligh et al., 2002). Still the growth of the Republican Party in Texas politics cannot entirely be attributed to the divisive politics among the various groups within the Democratic Party.

The gradual diversification in the economy of Texas over the years has resulted in the influx of businesspersons from other states. Also, the religious conservatives have become more intertwined in the state politics. Such changes have led to the growth of Republican base in Texas thus causing a decline in the popularity of Democratic Party politics in the region. Amidst this downturn, the Democrats in Texas resorted to adopting more of the liberal ideas. In the meantime, the Republican Party maintained their conservative ideology it had followed for decades.

3.3. Participating in Texas Party Politics

Political parties have a important role in the democratic system to mobilize and organize individuals for the good of the majority. Studies indicate that most Texans eligible to vote have identified with one of the two major political parties. However, the notion of party identification has weakened in the recent years, with the Democrats experiencing this decline the most. Still, even in the decline of party identification, many Texans still employ political parties as a platform to participate in state and national politics.

That said, Texans who are actively involved in party politics have influenced the organization and leadership of political parties in some ways. For instance, Texans engage in selecting officers of what is known as "party-as-organization." Also, active Texas citizens participate in the selection of nominees interested in holding public offices through voting or political volunteering.

Additionally, election laws in Texas permit registered voters to vote in the primaries for party nomination as well as voting in the gen...

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