Texas was annexed to the United States as the 28th state on December 29, 1845. From Reconstruction (the late 1800s) through the early 1960s, the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics. Keep in mind, the Democrats of those days differed considerably from the current political party. For almost a century, Texas Democrats consisted mainly of white conservatives, who prevailed in almost all statewide elections.
A Texas-worthy phrase was used during this era to describe the especially dedicated party members: “Yellow Dog Democrats” were the state’s die-hard partisan loyalists who would vote for a yellow dog if it ran on the Democratic ticket. The phrase is now used to describe any Democratic loyalist, although the recent stronghold of Republicans in Texas is rendering the term nearly obsolete.
Texas’s bicameral legislature is comprised of 31 Senate members who serve for four years and the House of Representatives, with 150 members elected for two-year terms. The legislature meets for its regular session in the spring of odd-numbered years, but the governor may convene a special session for the legislators to address particular issues. The governor of Texas is elected to a four-year term in November of even-numbered, nonpresidential election years.
Texas is divided into a whopping 254 counties that average nearly 1,000 square miles in size. West Texas’s Brewster County is especially enormous—at 6,169 square miles, it’s roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition