Amarillo's Political Changes

WTAMU Political Science Professor Dave Rausch
WTAMU Political Science Professor Dave Rausch

The Texas Panhandle has not always been a red state. From the 1870's to 1970's Texans typically favored Democratic candidates.

A local professor says the Panhandle was the first in the state to begin the Republican movement in the late 60's.

In fact, because Randall County was one of 15 state counties to vote against Lyndon B. Johnson for President some historians theorize that is why Johnson closed the Amarillo Airforce Base.

WTAMU Political Science Professor Dave Rausch says, "That's why Johnson decided to close the Amarillo Airforce Base was because ...I'm a Texan, shouldn't Randall County vote for me and in fact there were more people in the county who voted for republican Barry Goldwater.

The GOP switch was complete around the time of Ronald Reagan's presidential re-election in the mid-80's.

Rausch says young voters were some of the first to register republican. He says the political pendulum is now swinging the other way.

"In 2008 being liberal is cool and in part because we've had 8 years of being conservative. So really its an anti kind of thing. We've been liberal so long so being conservative is cool and that's the anti thing, and I'm not like mom and dad."

Rausch says he would not be surprised if there was a similar move back to the republican party in 10 or 20 years.