In 2012 President Obama spoke to a group of people at a fund raiser event in Texas and seemed optimistic that Texas would soon be a battleground for the Democratic Party (Parker, 2013). Unless Democrats possess an extraordinary strategic plan this could prove to be a challenging task to accomplish. Recent voting in Texas has faithfully been favorable toward the Republican ticket for over 30 years (Parker, 2013).
There has been a widespread margin in the percentage of votes between Republican and Democratic candidates in the last four presidential elections. Currently Republicans occupy all elected statewide offices, both state and federal houses of Legislature, and both U. S. Senate seats (Secretary of State TX, 2013). Republicans U. S. Senator John Cornyn and U. S. House Representative Ralph Hall both have won each of their re-elections. If these two elected officials accurately represent Texas then hard-hitting conservatives seem to be what wins the hearts of Texans.
Texas Congressional District 4 (TX-04) has proven their steadfast loyalty to Republican candidates (Texas Political Almanac, 2013) and it does not seem plausible that the Democratic Party will be able to overcome TX-04 or Texas as a state any time soon. Liberal democrats may have to stock up on political artillery if they intend to be a recognizable force on the political battleground of Texas. Texas Voting History The Lone Star State: Reliably Republican “You’re not one of the battleground states, although that’s going to be changing soon”.
These words were spoken by President Obama, a Democrat, while addressing Texans at a fund-raising event in July 2012 (Parker, 2013). It has been over 30 years since the Democrats conquered Texas in a presidential election (Parker, 2013). If past poll results in Texas are an indication of future election results, President Obama’s prediction may prove inaccurate. In the last four presidential elections, Texas has not wavered in its support of Republican candidates with one to zero margins between Republican wins and Democrat losses. In recent years the Lone Star State has proven itself to be reliably republican.
Texas History: Political Parties Democrats were the leading party up until the 1960’s (Political Parties, 2013). Texas began to take a turn toward the Republican Party when John G Tower, former Democrat (D) turned Republican (R), took the senate seat in 1961. He was the first Republican senator for Texas since Reconstruction in 1870. Another significant change took place 17 years later when Williams P. Clements became the first Republican Governor of Texas also since 1870. Clements lost his seat four years later in 1982 to a Democrat but ran and won again in 1986 (Texas Politics, 2013).
Prior to 1980 there were a limited number of Republican wins. The few wins were mostly in presidential elections. Texans supported Republican candidates in 1952, 1956, and 1972; however after 1980 Republicans successfully won every presidential election in Texas (Texas Politics, 2013). The Republican Party steadily grew stronger throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. In 1994 both senator seats were held by republicans (Political Parties, 2013). The Republican Party continually kept rising and presently could claim Texas as its own.
Republicans currently occupy all elected statewide offices, both state and federal houses of Legislature, and both U. S. Senate seats (Secretary of State TX, 2013). Politico’s presidential election data for Texas shows a narrow margin in 1996 with 49% of the votes for Dole (R) and 44 % for Clinton (D) (Election Central, 2012). The margin widened when Republican candidate George W. Bush, a native Texan, was on the ticket. In 2000 Bush received 59. 3% of the votes while the Democrat candidate Gore received 38%. In 2004 Bush’s victory in Texas was won with 61. % of the votes cast in Texas, compared to that of Kerry (D) with 38. 3 %. In 2008 the Republican victory in Texas narrowed slightly with the McCain (R) – Obama (D) ticket when 55. 5 % of the ballots were cast for McCain in contrast to 43. 8% for Obama. In the most recent 2012 presidential election; Romney (R) received 57. 2 % while Obama (D) received 41. 4% (Texas Political Almanac, 2013). It is important to note that “Although the two major national parties have dominated electoral politics in the state; Texas also has spawned significant third parties that have affected national politics” (Texas Politics, 2013).
The Reform party, founded by billionaire Ross Perot in the 1990’s, has gained support with a small number of Texas voters. The Libertarian and Green Parties have experienced growth in Texas (Texas Politics, 2013). The candidates from these parties have affected races statewide by almost 20%. In the 2012 presidential election both the Libertarian and Green Party qualified for the 2012 ballot and resulted in receiving almost 2% of the Texas vote (Texas Politics, 2013). However, in the 2012 elections, Republicans reigned in victory with the Democrats only able to gain a few seats.
In the 2013 legislative session, Democrats sit in 55 seats in relation to the 95 seats held by Republicans (Texas Politics, 2013). United States Senator John Cornyn Senator John Cornyn has been in public office for 28 years. Cornyn is described as a “powerful voice for conservative values in Washington” (Biography:John Cornyn , n. d. ). Cornyn’s liberal and conservative voting scores seem to prove this statement to be true. Political Biography John Cornyn is a graduate of Trinity University and St. Mary’s School of Law, both in San Antonio, Texas.
Cornyn earned a Masters of Law from the University of Virginia Law School in 1995. Cornyn began his public office career as a District Court Judge for Bexar County, Texas from 1984-1990. He served as a member of the Texas Supreme Court from 1991-1997. Cornyn was elected to the office of Texas Attorney General in 1998 and held that office until 2002 when he was elected to the Senate (Project Vote Smart, 2013). Cornyn was elected to his second term with 67. 1 percent of the votes in 2008 (Texas Political Almanac, 2013) and is currently still serving out his term.
Cornyn served as a member of the Deputy Whip team after just one year in office, and is currently a member of the Republican Senate leadership and has been since 2006. Cornyn was elected in 2012 to serve as Minority Whip for the 113th Congress by Senate Republicans (Biography:John Cornyn , n. d. ). Cornyn co-sponsored and initiated the reform of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) known as the OPEN Government Act of 2007 (National Security Archive , 2008). Cornyn has won numerous awards during his term in office and currently sits on the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees.
Cornyn is also a member of several other committees, both legislative and non-legislative (Project Vote Smart, 2013). Conservative Champion Cornyn was ranked as 2012’s second-most conservative member of the Senate with a score of 93. 8 percent by the National Journal (Terris, 2013). There is a vast contrast in Cornyn’s liberal and conservative voting scores. That’s My Congress gives him a Liberal Action Score of 0/100 and a Conservative Action Score of 40/100 (2013). The top liberal and conservative interest group ratings for Cornyn hold nearly as wide a margin.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) gave Cornyn a score of 25% for 2010-2011. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) scored the senator at 10% for 2011. In 2012 American Conservative Union (ACU) rated Cornyn with a lifetime score of 93 % with a 2012 score of 88%. Christian Coalition of America (CC) has given Cornyn a 100% rating from 2003-2010 (Project Vote Smart, 2013). These conservative voting scores clearly indicate that Senator John Cornyn holds a conservative political ideology. U. S. House Representative Ralph Hall
Congressman Ralph Hall has been in public office for 63 years, serving Texas Congressional District 4 as their U. S. House Representative for 23 years. Congressman Hall is described as a life-long conservative (Ralph Hall, 2013). Hall’s voting scores and awards are more than sufficient in backing up this claim. Hall’s constituents of TX-04 seem to be satisfied with his representation of them in Washington and Congressman Hall has seemed to make their respect for him, as their representative, a priority. Political Biography Ralph M. Hall joined the U. S. Navy in 1942, serving in World War II until 1945.
Hall then attended Texas Christian University in 1943 as well as the University of Texas, Austin from 1946-1947. Hall graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Law degree in 1951 and went on to practice private law in his hometown of Rockwall, (Ralph Hall, 2013). Congressman Hall began his public office career serving as County Judge of Rockwall County, Texas until 1962. From 1958- 1959 he served as President of the State Judges and Commissioners Association. Hall was elected in 1962 as a Texas State Senator and served in that office until 1972, serving as President Pro Tempore during1968-1969 (Project Vote Smart, 2013).
Congressman Hall was first elected to serve the 4th District of Texas in the U. S. House of Representatives in 1980 and has been re-elected in every election since. Ralph Hall is currently 90 years old, and is the oldest-serving Member of the U. S. House of Representatives in recorded history. In November of 2012, Hall became the oldest member in the U. S. House of Representatives to ever cast a vote (Ralph Hall, 2013). Conservative to the Core There is little room for doubt that Congressman Hall has maintained a conservative view throughout his political career.
That’s My Congress gives Hall a Liberal Action Score of 0/100 and a Conservative Action Score of 71/100 (2013). Liberal and conservative interest group ratings for Hall score his voting record in accordance with a conservative view. The liberal interest groups ACLU and ADA both scored the congressman at 0% for 2011-2012. Conservative group ACU rated Hall with a score of 85 % for 2011 -2012 and CC has given Hall a 100% rating from 2007-2010 (Project Vote Smart, 2013). In February of 2013 Ralph Hall received the American Conservative Union Ratings Award. Congressman Hall has won this award 32 times.
In Hall’s acceptance speech he stated “My constituents believe in America’s founding principles and upholding our Constitution, and I will continue to fight for the priorities and conservative values important to those I represent” (Ralph Hall, 2013). Congressman Hall has a reputation of staying in tune with the needs of his District and their views on relevant issues. Hall is known as a man that “would rather be respected at home than liked in Washington. ” (Ralph Hall, 2013). Being elected to serve as the U. S. Representative for Congressional District 4 for the past 23 years seems to indicate that he has earned TX-04 respect.
Texas Congressional District 4 According to Texas Political Almanac (2013), the total population in 2012 for Texas Congressional District 4 (TX-04) was 698,488, which makes up 2. 7 percent of the entire population of Texas (U. S. Census Bureau, 2013). The voting history in District 4 of Texas echoes the same loyalty to the Republican candidates as Texas has as a state. However, voting in TX-04 reflects a higher margin of votes for Presidential Republican candidates in comparison to total votes cast statewide. In the 2012 presidential election, polling results statewide were Romney(R) 57. % Obama (D) 41. 4%; however, TX-04 results were Romney 74%, Obama 24. 8% (Nir, n. d. ). Margins for the 2008 and 2004 presidential election mirror near the same percentage ratio. In 2008 TX-04 votes were McCain (R) 68. 9%, Obama 30. 1% and in 2004 the final tally was Bush (R) 70. 4 % ,Kerry (D) 29. 6 % (Texas Political Almanac, 2013). It is difficult to ignore TX-04 loyalty to its Republican candidates. TX-04 has persistently voted a straight republican ticket since 2002. Election results from 2002 – 2010 for all elected statewide offices has been in favor of republicans.
Each individual republican candidate has routinely won in District 4 with an average of 65 % of the votes (Texas Political Almanac, 2013). TX-04 and its recent voting history have consistently proven Congressional District 4 to be overwhelmingly in favor of Republican candidates. Conclusion Texas has discernibly proven to be reliably republican at the polls for over 30 years. If Senator Cornyn and Congressman Hall accurately represent Texas and their constituents then one can safely assume that Texas is fundamentally a conservative state.
If these two elected officials and their ratings with interest groups correctly reflect the Republican Party then one can believe that the principles of the Republican Party are based upon conservative values. Therefore recent voting results of Texas and especially District 4’s voting analysis’ seem to imply that Texas wants to place conservatives in Washington. If this is an accurate conclusion then the liberal Democratic Party will have to sharpen their political swords if they hope to advance to the frontlines of the battleground of Texas. References 012 Election Central. (2012). Retrieved July 12, 2013, from Politico: http://www. politico. com/2012-election/map/#/President/2012/ Biography:John Cornyn, (n. d. ). Retrieved July 12, 2013, from John Cornyn United States Senator for Texas: http://www. cornyn. senate. gov/public/index. cfm? p=Biography National Security Archive . (2008, January 2). Retrieved July 19, 2013, from National Security Achive George Washington University: http://www. gwu. edu/~nsarchiv/news/20071218/ Nir, D. (n. d. ). Daily KOS Elections. Retrieved from Daily KOS: http://www. dailykos. om/story/2012/11/19/1163009/-Daily-Kos-Elections-presidential-results-by-congressional-district-for-the-2012-2008-elections Parker, R. (2013, February 19). Lone Star Blues. New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2013, from New York Times: http://http://www. nytimes. com/2013/02/20/opinion/getting-texas-to-go-democratic. html? _r=0 Political Parties. (2013). Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved July 10, 2013, from Texas State Historical Association: http://www. tshaonline. org Project Vote Smart. (2013, July 13). Retrieved July 13, 2013, from Project Vote Smart: http://www. otesmart. org Ralph Hall. (2013, February 23). Retrieved July 15, 2013, from Congressman Ralph Hall: http://ralphhall. house. gov/index. cfm? sectionid=26&itemid=450 Secretary of State TX. (2013). Retrieved from Texas Secretary of State: http://www. sos. state. tx. us/elections/voter/elected. shtml Texas Political Almanac. (2013, February 7). Retrieved July 11, 2013, from Texas Political Almanac: http://txpoliticalalmanac. com/index. php? title=CD4 Texas Politics. (2013). Retrieved July 13, 2013, from Liberal Arts Institute Technology Services University of Texas : http://texaspolitics. aits. utexas. edu/4_1_0. html That’s My Congress. (2013, July 11). Retrieved July 19, 2013, from That’s My Congress: http://thatsmycongress. com/senate/senCornynTX113. html Terris, B. (2013, February 13). The Senate’s Most Conservative Member: Ever Heard of Him? Retrieved July 13, 2013, from National Journal: http://www. nationaljournal. com/2012-voting-ratings/the-senate-s-most-conservative-member-ever-heard-of-him-20130220 U. S. Census Bureau. (2013, June 27). Retrieved from U. S. Census Bureau: http://quickfacts. census. gov/qfd/states/48000. html