Cowboy ConservatismTexas and the Rise of the Modern Right

Cowboy ConservatismTexas and the Rise of the Modern Right

Sean P. Cunningham

Print publication date: 2011

ISBN: 9780813125763

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky

Abstract

This book is about political change as it evolved in one of America's largest and most important states during the tumultuous seventeen-year period between John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas and Ronald Reagan's ascension to the presidency in 1980. Partisan realignment is the most obvious aspect of that change. Texas was once as solidly Democratic as any state in the nation. By the end of the twentieth century, it was among the most solidly Republican. A simplistic analysis of this transformation based in large part on the perception that Texas has always been a conservative place, might suggest that—as Ronald Reagan, the preeminent icon of modern conservatism, once similarly quipped—Texas didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left Texas. However, the political changes that gripped Texas during the last decades of the twentieth century resulted from a more complex mélange. This book analyses this in detail.