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This last American election gave me the impression that Texas voters were awfully close to electing a liberal, which is something to me that would be incredible.

Apparently Biden got 46% of the vote which seems a stellar performance in Texas.

So my question is, have Texas voters ever selected a Democrat for president and, if not, how close was this last election to being the first time?

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    I think this may be an interesting question, given that the roles of the political parties have changed over the years. – Cort Ammon Dec 7 '20 at 17:19
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    @CortAmmon the problem is that the answer is so easily discovered with a little googling. – RonJohn Dec 8 '20 at 17:10
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    Most famously of all - the Texan - Lyndon Johnson! – WS2 Dec 8 '20 at 18:02
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    Most states are pretty close to 50/50, it's more common than not for neither candidate to get over 60% of the vote in any particular state. The whole blue state/red state thing is kinda blown out of proportion. – Kat Dec 8 '20 at 18:32
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    It should be borne in mind that, from a historical perspective, the descriptive terms you used in your question — "a liberal" and "a Democrat" — are far from equivalent or interchangeable, particularly in Texas and other Southern states. – jdmc Dec 9 '20 at 1:27
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Yes, in fact from Wikipedia's article on "United States presidential elections in Texas", we can see that Texas has elected a Democrat for president twenty-two times since 1876, most recently electing Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election. Republican candidates have only been elected fifteen times.

The highest percentage vote that a Democratic candidate received was in 1932, when FDR achieved 88.06% of the state's vote compared to Herbert Hoover's 11.35%.

Bear in mind that part of the reason for this historical inconsistency, despite the modern Republican party's relatively strong standing in Texas, is that the Republican and Democratic parties have 'switched sides' ideologically throughout their history - see this related question - and the Democratic Party of a century ago is not particularly comparable to the Democratic Party of today.

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    The evidence to substantiate the Southern Strategy and the party switch of the 20th century is surprisingly lacking considering the number of times that it is stated. It is true the the interests and ideologies of each party has changed and realigned over the centuries, but the party switch as usually stated simply didn't occur. Very few ideological Democrats of the early 20th century became Republicans. It's more true that instead the population generally adopted principles which aligned with the Republican platform as society and culture changed. – eques Dec 7 '20 at 21:35
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    @eques the Southern Strategy doesn't relate to the politicians. You are correct that very few actual politicians "switched sides", rather it's about techniques designed to switch the white southern "working class" voting base away from the Democratic party by use of veiled racism. With regards to that definition, the evidence is practically unassailable. So much so, that in 2005 the RNC chair and elements of the Bush campaign both apologized for their party's historic role in "exploiting racial tension" in a bid to reattract Black voters. – Shmuel Newmark Dec 8 '20 at 6:10
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    "Switched sides" is erroneous and misleading. It posits an polarization which did not exist. – eques Dec 8 '20 at 19:04
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    @eques "The evidence to substantiate the Southern Strategy and the party switch of the 20th century is surprisingly lacking" There is a wide variety of positions for which the parties have switched sides. I don't see how that can be disputed. "It's more true that instead the population generally adopted principles which aligned with the Republican platform as society and culture changed" What does this mean? Do you mean that there was a constant Republican platform that Southerners generally adopted? – Acccumulation Dec 8 '20 at 22:20
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    We shouldn't get distracted by debating the great party switch. The answer here says that they switched sides "throughout their history" and links to a question about how many times they switched. It's clear that they've changed positions on various issues at various times, so that you can't treat them as constant over the years, and that's all that this answer is claiming. So there's no need to argue about anything more. – Toby Bartels Dec 9 '20 at 1:02
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Yes, Texas has gone to the Democratic party several times. It is important to remember that the US Democratic Party is one of the oldest continuously operating political parties in the world (and the oldest in the US). In fact, over its history, Texas has generally favored the Democratic party from its statehood until the start of the sixth party system some time in the 1960's or -70's. Two of these occasions (1968 and 1976) may have occurred under the current sixth party system, though there is debate about when exactly the new system began, and it is clear that for most of the sixth system, Texas has favored the Republican Party. These are the years in which Texas voted for a Democratic candidate for president (Presidential winners in bold):

  • 1976 (Dem. Jimmy Carter vs. Rep. Gerald Ford)
  • 1968 (Dem. Hubert Humphrey vs. Rep. Richard Nixon and Independent George Wallace)
  • 1964 (Dem. Lyndon Johnson vs. Rep. Barry Goldwater)
  • 1960 (Dem. John F. Kennedy vs. Rep. Richard Nixon)
  • 1948 (Dem. Harry Truman vs. Rep. Thomas Dewey and Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond)
  • 1944 (Dem. Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Rep. Thomas Dewey)
  • 1940 (Dem. Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Rep. Wendell Willkie)
  • 1936 (Dem. Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Rep. Alf Landon)
  • 1932 (Dem. Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Rep. Herbert Hoover)
  • 1924 (Dem. John Davis vs. Rep. Calvin Coolidge and Progessive Robert LaFollette)
  • 1920 (Dem. James Cox vs. Rep. Warren Harding)
  • 1916 (Dem. Woodrow Wilson vs. Rep. Charles Hughes)
  • 1912 (Dem. Woodrow Wilson vs. Rep. William H. Taft and Progressive Theodore Roosevelt)
  • 1908 (Dem. William J. Bryan vs. Rep. William H. Taft)
  • 1904 (Dem. Alton Parker vs. Rep. Theodore Roosevelt)
  • 1900 (Dem. William J. Bryan vs. Rep. William McKinley)
  • 1896 (Dem. William J. Bryan vs. Rep. William McKinley)
  • 1892 (Dem. Grover Cleveland vs. Rep. Benjamin Harrison and Populist James Weaver)
  • 1888 (Dem. Grover Cleveland vs. Rep. Benjamin Harrison)
  • 1884 (Dem. G. Cleveland vs. Rep. James Blaine)
  • 1880 (Dem. Winfield Hancock vs. Rep. James Garfield)
  • 1876 (Dem. Samuel Tilden vs. Rep. Rutherford B. Hayes)
  • 1856 (Dem. James Buchanan vs. Rep. John Frémont and Know Nothing Millard Fillmore)
  • 1852 (Dem. Franklin Pierce vs. Whig Winfield Scott)
  • 1848 (Dem. Lewis Cass vs. Whig Zachary Taylor and Free Soil Martin Van Buren)
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