• Texas Political Culture

    Texas Political Culture

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Perry Dont Mess With TexasIn the past, a simpler economy that relied heavily on natural resources and a dominant Anglo, Protestant, and rural population exerted little pressure for social services and limited inclusion in the political process. But today, the Texas economy and the Texas population are being transformed. Texas conservatism is deeply engrained, but new citizens, raised in urban environments with different ethnic, religious, and economic experiences, and with different needs and expectations, will influence Texas political culture into the future.

Texas remains a low-tax, low-services, conservative state that celebrates individual effort and responsibility, resists government interference in economic life, and relies on traditional social values to maintain stability in a rapidly changing world. Whether this political culture can survive in a world fundamentally different than the one in which it was born is an open question.

Virtual Roundtable

The 21st century will test the ability of state government to address the issues posed by changing economic and demographic trends. What are the major challenges facing Texas government in the 21st century?

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, Texas 21st Senatorial District, Laredo, TX


Allan Saxe, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Arlington


Jessica Lavariega Monforti, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Texas - Pan American


Elise Hu, Journalist & Political Reporter, Austin, TX


Rep. Rafael Anchia, Texas House of Representatives, District 103, Dallas, TX



Additional Resources


Texas Public Policy Foundation
This conservative, non-profit organization’s mission is "to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise in Texas by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public policy debate with academically sound research and outreach."

Center for Public Policy Priorities
This progressive, non-profit policy institute is "committed to improving public policies to better the economic and social conditions of low- and moderate-income Texans."


Lone Star Tarnished: A Critical Look at Texas Politics and Public Policy, by Cal Jillson.
Professor Jillson approaches public policy in the nation's most populous "red state" from historical, comparative, and critical perspectives. The historical perspective provides the scope for asking how various policy domains have developed in Texas history, regularly reaching back to the state's founding and with substantial data for the period 1950 to the present. In each chapter, Jillson compares Texas public policy choices and results with those of other states and the United States in general. This critical perspective allows the reader to question the balance of benefits and costs attendant to what is often referred to as "the Texas way" or "the Texas model."

The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State and Lessons for America, by Chuck DeVore. 
DeVore compares Texas to its large state peers and details why Texas is increasingly the destination for Americans seeking a better life. The book describes a state with low taxes, modest government, and a lawsuit climate that allows entrepreneurship to flourish while encouraging job creation.