blue texas

Will Texas be a Blue State in the Near Future?

Texas has been a blue state at points in the past. Lyndon B. Johnson, the President of the United States who succeeded Kennedy, was a native Texan, and his signature of the Civil Rights Act is very much in line with the progressive policies still advocated by Democrats. Perhaps the most successful governor of the state was Ann Richards, who was very much a Democrat. It is not likely, though, that the state will return to being blue in the near future. Too many conservative interests have made the state too much a ruby – a hard, red stone – for it to turn blue anytime soon.

Political Control

Texas has tended towards conservatism – defined here as an ostensible rejection of federal influence and of public provision of domestic services – for some time. Some of the tendency is a reflection of the cowboy ethos in which many Texans still take great pride. Some of it is a result of business interests at work in the state, about which more, below. But whatever its source, it has resulted in most of the state senate, state representatives and elected executives showing up on the red end of the political spectrum, as well as most of the federal delegation – of which US Senator and 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz is perhaps the most prominent example. With the bulk of state and federal governmental representation for the Lone Star State solidly in the red, as well as no small number of county and city governments, the ability of any non-Republicans to gain political authority in the state is sharply limited for the foreseeable future.

Military Involvement

Despite a prevailing rejection of federal interference, conservatives tend to reward – and be rewarded by – military interests. The Lone Star State hosts more than 30 military installations:

  • Brooks City-Base
  • Camp Bullis
  • Camp Mabry
  • Camp Swift
  • Coast Guard Air Station Houston
  • Coast Guard Station Aransas
  • Coast Guard Station Freeport
  • Coast Guard Station Port O’Connor
  • Coast Guard Station Sabine Pass
  • Coast Guard Station Saluria
  • Coast Guard Station San Luis Pass
  • Coast Guard Station South Padre Island
  • Coast Guard Station Velasco
  • Corpus Christi Naval Air Station
  • Dyess Air Force Base
  • Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base
  • Fort Bliss
  • Fort Hood
  • Fort Sam Houston
  • Goodfellow Air Force Base
  • Grand Prairie Armed Forces Reserve Complex
  • Hensley Field
  • Joint Base San Antonio
  • Lackland Air Force Base
  • Laughlin Air Force Base
  • Martindale Army Air Field
  • Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth/Carswell AFB
  • Naval Air Station Kingsville
  • Randolph Air Force Base
  • Sheppard Air Force Base

Given the heavy military involvement in Texas, and given the prevailing political associations with that involvement, the possibility that the state will become a blue state soon is sharply limited.

Business Interests

The Lone Star State is associated with the oil industry, both traditionally and, more recently, with Halliburton – headquartered in Houston – and the Eagle Ford Shale drilling. As with the military interests at work in the state, energy interests tend to be favored by and to favor red states. Oil production accounts for a great many jobs in the state, and the people who rely upon those jobs tend to vote for people who will help bring those jobs into the state. That is, they vote for ostensibly business-friendly conservatives whose policies against taxation and labor standards tend to attract corporate investment. Conversely, progressives tend to agitate against the kinds of work that Texan energy interests bring, and because that agitation works against the immediate needs of a great many people, it is not likely that the Lone Star State will become a blue state anytime soon.

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