Turning Red: How Texas became a GOP stronghold

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the nature of politics in Texas.

By Brett Barrouquere

Texas is fertile ground for the Republican Party these days - and an electoral desert for Democrats. The reverse was once true.

From statehood in 1845 through the mid-1960s, to be a Republican in Texas was to be a lost soul in the political desert. Then, with the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 (by President Lyndon B. Johnson - a Texan), things began to change.

"It convinced Anglo conservatives that the Democratic Party was no longer a comfortable home," said SMU political scientist Cal Jilson. . .

The Pew Research Center projects a large growth in Hispanic residents in Texas over the next three-plus decades. That's a group Republicans have had a tough time with in recent elections.

But, it may be a while before Democrats want to focus on Texas as a swing state in national elections.

"Competitive two party politics in Texas are a couple of decades out, at least," Jilson said.

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