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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Nancy Palm, December 16, 1974. Interview A-0194. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Importance of local politics for the Republican Party in the mid-1970s

Palm discusses why she believes that by the mid-1970s there had not yet been a decisive realignment of conservative and liberal political interests. Although many had believed that by that time conservative Democrats would have moved into the Republican Party and liberal Republicans would have moved into the Democratic Party, Palm contends that Watergate had temporarily thwarted this process of political evolution in Texas. Instead, Palm explains that major breakthroughs for the advancement of the Republican Party continued to happen at the local, rather than statewide, level at that time.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Nancy Palm, December 16, 1974. Interview A-0194. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
There wastalk a few years ago, I believe both on the part of the Republicans in Harris county and the liberal Democrats that single member districts would result in political realignment. The Republican party would become the conservative party. The Democratic party would become the liberal party. That the conservative Democrats would move over into the Republican party. Has that happened?
NANCY PALM:
Not to any great extent. And the reason it did not happen was because of Watergate. It would have happened and it may yet happen. Because the Democrat state hierarchy is becoming more and more liberal, labor dominated. So that we may see that in the next four to five years at a state level. But we have not seen it thus far. See, we do not have a significant number of persons in the state legislature and no state-wide Republican office holder on a state level. The major breakthroughs for the Republicans in the state of Texas - and somebody from out of the state may not be able to understand how very important the outdated commissioners' courts and county judges are. But they are indeed the dominant political factor in the state. And we were able, here in Harris county, and they were able in Dallas, to elect a county judge. And this is a major breakthrough for Republicans. Because we have now a third of the state's population that is governed, at a county level, by a Republican rather than by a Democrat. Remember in Harris county, electing a county judge is the equivalent of electing a US Senator in eighteen states from a population standpoint.