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be able to understand how very important the outdated commissioners'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