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When forced to raise taxes, Texas politicians have generally favored sales taxes. Homer Rainey was a former University of Texas president who ran for governor in 1946 with the support of labor, minorities, and other liberals.
When forced to raise taxes, Texas politicians have generally favored sales taxes
Homer Rainey was a former University of Texas president who ran for governor in 1946 with the support of labor, minorities, and other liberals.
Under Jester’s leadership the legislature passed an anti-lynching law, the Gilmer-Aiken Acts, support for an improved highway system, increased aid for the elderly, improvements at the state hospital, and a program for juvenile criminals.
Jester also began reform of the state prison system. Jester’s administration “was the first to address the problems of an urban Texas.”
In twentieth-century Texas politics, the "Establishment" label refers to conservative businessmen and state leaders of the Democratic Party.
The Fiftieth Legislature established Texas Southern University and expanded graduate education at Prairie View A&M in an attempt to thwart Heman Sweatt's application to enter the University of Texas.
The Texas Regulars and other southern conservatives defected from the Democratic party in 1948 and formed the Dixiecrats, who nominated Strom Thurmond for president.
Lyndon Johnson distanced himself from organized labor and civil rights and won a controversial election to the U.S. senate in 1948.
Sam Rayburn served as Speaker of the House during most of the period from 1955 until 1961, exercising great power in Washington.
Under the guidance of O.B. Ellis, the state prison system was reformed. Ellis modernized the prison system’s farms, constructed new buildings, and generally improved conditions for prisoners.
Allan Shivers was the governor of Texas from 1949-1957. Shivers greatly enlarged the powers of the office of lieutenant governor. Future lieutenant governors would wield much control over the senate as chair of the budget board.
In 1952 conservative Democrat Allan Shivers won control of the Democratic party state executive committee and shocked fellow Democrats by endorsing Dwight Eisenhower for president.
“I like Ike”
In response to conservatives’ anger at the national Democratic party, Shivers devised a strategy of cross-filing whereby a candidate could be listed on both the Democratic and Republican party primary ballots. Texas Democrats divided over the issues of cross-filing, support for the national Democratic party, and Shivers’ endorsement of Eisenhower.
Shivers’ endorsement of Eisenhower’s successful 1952 presidential campaign did not move white Texans into the Republican party.
Yarborough challenged Shivers in the 1954 gubernatorial campaign, charging that Shivercrats were “secret Republicans.” Shivers charged that “communist labor racketeers” supported Yarborough and advocated the death penalty for communist party membership. When the United States Supreme Court ruled segregated schools unconstitutional (the Brown decision), Shivers turned to Negrophobia, charging Yarborough with support for integration. Shivers won.
Reaction to Brown decision
Democratic voters and the state legislature overwhelmingly opposed integration. When a white mob prevented the integration of Mansfield High School, Shivers sent Rangers to prevent black students from entering the school. Shivers appointed an advisory committee which reported twenty-one profoundly racist proposals, including the recommendation of closing down the public school system to avoid integration.
Unhappy with the press coverage given to Yarborough in the 1954 contest, Frankie Randolph of Houston financed the founding of a liberal-loyalist Democratic paper, the Texas Observer, edited by Ronnie Dugger. That group joined with Jerry Holleman of the AFL-CIO in creating the Democrats of Texas (DOT), and organization committed to abolishing the poll tax, broadening liberal influence in the state party, and endorsing national Democratic goals. (p. 400.)
During his three gubernatorial terms, Price Daniel changed from conservative to moderate. He confronted a problem of finance. A majority in the legislature advocated a sales tax, while Daniel preferred higher taxes on business interests. In 1961, the legislature established a sales tax which became law without Daniel’s signature. By 1970, the sales tax generated 62 percent of the state’s revenue. Thanks to the sales tax, for the first time the state had some way to predict annual revenue income and maintain a consistent pool of tax monies.
The DOT (Democrats of Texas) and Yarborough lost control of the party machinery in 1956, when Johnson/Rayburn/Daniel Forces consolidated a hold on the State Democratic Executive Committee and refused to seat liberal delegations to the state convention. The bitterness of the liberals towards Johnson would last into the next decade. (p. 400.)
"No member of the Texas 'Establishment' blocked any school doors to prevent integration. Both Johnson and Yarborough voted for the 1957 Civil Rights Act and only five of twenty-two Texas congressmen signed the notorious Southern Manifesto which pledged never to allow integration. During the early 1960s, Texas began to depart from its southern racial heritage."
John F. Kennedy was able to carry Texas and win the presidency in 1960 because he chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. The Democrats won Texas, but Nixon and Lodge received more votes in Texas than had any previous Republican candidates.
Allan Shivers organized the Democrats for Nixon and joined with a very strong Republican party organization that hoped to duplicate its successes of 1952 and 1956. Both candidates considered Texas’s twenty-four electoral votes crucial to their victory. Extreme conservatives decried Kennedy’s Catholicism and the civil rights planks of the Democratic platform. Johnson tried both to assuage liberals’ doubts about his own beliefs and abilities and to keep Texas Democratic. (p. 403.)
In 1961 John Tower became the first Republican senator from Texas since Reconstruction. Tower went on to win three more Senate terms. In 1966, the Texas Observer endorsed Tower over his conservative Democratic opponent, the former attorney general Waggoner Carr.
John Connally, Lyndon Johnson’s close political ally, was elected governor in 1962. The assassin who killed John Kennedy on November 22, 1963, also wounded Connally. The voters’ sympathy for Connally contributed to his easy re-election campaigns in 1964 and 1966. Connally was a Business Progressive who advocated long-range planning, improved higher education, and the attraction of out-of-state industry.
On November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. The shots also seriously wounded Governor Connally.
In the 1960s and 1970s, urbanization and the women's rights movement challenged the second-class citizenship of women. National influences compelled change.
Although after 1972 the women's movement waned in Texas, it did have some successes.
In the early 1970s, the Sharpstown scandal led to a massive turnover in the state legislature, conviction of several state officials, and calls for reform.
In 1970, Lloyd Bentsen, a conservative millionaire, defeated Ralph Yarborough in the Democratic primary and George Bush in the general election to become U.S. senator from Texas.
The Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr in 1962 and Reynolds v. Sims in 1964 ruled that the state legislature must be apportioned on a "one man, one vote" basis.
In 1964, the states ratified the Twenty-fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which barred the poll tax as a possible requirement for voting in federal elections. The Texas legislature retained the poll tax as a requirement for voting in state elections (one of only five states to do so) until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a poll tax as a prerequisite for any type of voting violated the Fourteenth Amendment. (p. 410)
Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., August 6, 1965. This act outlawed voting restrictions and provided for federal election monitoring.
THE VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965: The federally mandated changed in election procedures helped explain why the percentage of African Americans of voting age who actually registered to vote in the state grew from 35 percent in 1960 to 56.8 percent in 1970 and to 65 percent in 1976. During the same period, the percentage of whites who registered grew from 42.5 percent to 69 percent. (pp. 410-411.)
Barbara Jordan became the first African American since Reconstruction to serve in the Texas Senate and in 1966 she became the first African American woman from the South to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.