Political culture is how many people define who they are and how they vote. The factors that can contribute to a regions political culture, define how the people in that region see themselves. Texas for example see themselves, for the most part, as a proud, tough, freedom loving people, who like their independence and their firearms. The political culture in Texas is geared toward traditionalistic and individualism, both wanting the government to stay out of the way, and also not to do much. The conservative roots in Texas are shown in Texas’s adoption as an amendment to the constitution establishing marriage as between a man and a woman.
Texans also do not like the government to do much, it is for this reasons that the Texas senate is not in session except for 140 days, every other year. The state constitution, establishes that almost every office in the state is up for election. This unique effect of Texas political culture means that school boards are elected, judges are elected, and even our executive branch has been split up into seven different pieces, not just a Governor. The power of the executive was split due to the abuses of the governor put in place after the civil war Edmund J Davis.
Davis’s administration was very centralized, giving the governor most of the power in the state. His abuse of this power led to the early Texas constitutional framers decisions to reduce the power of the office, and to put checks and balances on the offices. This is another of the unique effects that the Texas political culture has, the checks and balances they put in was to require public votes on amendments to the constitution. This has led to the primary issue with the political culture in Texas, voter apathy.
Texas voters get to vote on so many things, that by the time the reach the end they are tired, and many people just turn to vote straight ticket voting, when the vote at all. This makes change in Texas politics very hard, if your current party is in favor, like the current Republican Party. Many people see Texas as a state that has deep republican roots. The vast majority of Texan governors have been Democrats; Texas has only been a republican state for the last fifteen years, the state has leaned more to the conservative side of politics, providing fertile ground for the Tea Party movement.
Governor Rick Perry and the Tea Party have gained a lot of publicity in Texas. However with the shift towards urbanization, people tend to vote Democratic. The inclusion of the Latino population, the poorer areas of the state, and a population which is growing ever more progressive, is shifting the political culture of Texas. This can be seen as the major urban areas, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio voted for the Democratic Party in the last presidential election.
Courtney from Study Moose
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