Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Texas Republican Crossovers

The evidence is anecdotal, but it appears many Texas Republicans crossed over to vote in the Democrat primary yesterday. (Yes, that’s legal in Texas.) That’s understandable given that, for the first time in many years, most of the real action was in the Democrat primaries here, not the Republican. And it appears a majority of those crossovers voted for Hillary Clinton.

This event brings back distant memories of when the Democrat primary was always the only political game in town in Texas. And, yes, back in the old days, many (most?) Republicans crossed over and voted in the Democrat primary.

I remember when “Mama”, may she rest in peace, crossed over to vote in the 1970 Democrat primary for Lloyd Bentsen for Senate against the sitting Senator Ralph Yarborough. Mama hated liberal Yarborough with a passion. With the help of such Republican crossovers, Bentsen won and went on to have a long Senate career.

The crossover Republican support for Bentsen had unintended consequences, however. It scuttled the chances of the Republican in the November election, one George Bush (the elder). And Bentsen turned out to be unbeatable, holding the Senate seat for 22 years until his retirement to become Secretary of the Treasury.

Such Republican miscalculation is understandable though. Back then, most Texas elections were decided in the Democrat primary as it had been since Reconstruction.

That would soon end, however. The “Yellow Dog” Democrats were already beginning to die off. 1972 and George McGovern would lurch the national Democrat Party to the left. In the Reagan years, Texas would become a strongly Republican state.

So it’s been many years since Texas Republicans had reason to cross over into the Democrat primary. Although it would be a cold day in Hell before I would do so (I do usually split my ticket in November though.), I think this development is healthy. Being a one party state or close to it breeds corruption and complacency regardless of which one party is in power. As a Republican precinct chair, I saw first hand negative effects of Denton County being a one party Republican county. It woke me up to the fact that the rot of one party politics isn’t just a Democrat problem. So I think the strong Democrat primary yesterday was healthy, both for Texas and for the Texas Republican Party.

And, yes, I’m also glad we slowed down Obamarama.

More here and here.

And I am ready to hear confessions from Republicans who crossed over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me! I voted for her and yes I did it to slow down Obama-mania. It was getting way too weird for me. I felt the necessity to rough him up a little make him seem less invincible.

Now I feel that some sanity and sobriety has been restored to American politics. The last thing we need is to go down the road that leads to the election of men like Chavez. Chavez is also a populist who traffics in stirring up emotions and the people fell for it and voted with their hearts. While Obama is no Chavez, I would rather not set the precedent that could lead to someone like him.