Blue cities in red states are a common occurrence, showing how human nature adapts to its environment. Why is this such a trend in the United States?
Texas is known for its traditional right-wing politics and conservatism, Houston follows the common trend of cities leaning toward liberalism and voting blue. In recent years, Houston has become even more left-winged despite being a firmly red state.
Texas is a loud and proud state of individualism and nonconformity. Houston might just reflect this independence, as its politics don’t align with the state’s conservatism. Keep reading to find out more!
Current voting trends in Houston
With 55% of the population voting Democrat in the last presidential election, Houston is a set liberal city. The vote is incredibly close, however, most likely because Houston is surrounded by red conservatism this city is still over the fence in the blue, however. Liberalism has been popular in Houston for much of its history but recently has made a big leap forward.
The current mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, is a Democrat and has been in office since 2016.
His predecessor was a woman named Annise Parker. She ran as nonpartisan and supported several liberal policies. She championed the legalization of marijuana, for example. The city of Houston is also run by a mostly nonpartisan council.
Texas’s political past
Texas’s flag design isn’t the only reason it is known as the “Lone Star State.” Texas became a state in the US in 1845. Texas has been legally part of the US for over a century but in its heart, it has never forgotten it was once a free state and has remained fiercely independent ever since. With Texas voting Republican in every election since 1980, it’s very clear that this southern state is a hardcore conservative.
Right-wing politics tend to be more popular in states with less urbanization, as well as the South in particular. Known for its ranches, Texas’s open skies and farmland tend to attract more conservatives. Tradition also plays a large part in Texas’s politics, where students still pledge allegiance to the Texan flag.
Following the Civil War, however, the Republican party was not so well received. The Union Army marched in and occupied Texas, turning the state Democrat for years until Texas left the Civil War behind and turned Republican once again. Though the state has switched sides before, it has since proved its loyalty.
Texas holds fast to ancestral history and tradition. It is openly proud of its heritage and stands its ground. Texas is an incredible and multicultural state, with modern America melding with the previous history as a sovereign state, the customs of Native Americans, and immigrant lifestyles from around the world. Texas is a melting pot of culture and history! One thing connects all of its residents: their strong independence.
Houston is unique in its political balancing act, not quite tipping totally to one side or the other. It differs from its state in being more liberal, but the conservative aspect of Houston is strong as well. This makes Houston mirror its state in being a melting pot of culture and beliefs.
How liberal is Houston?
The more urban a place is, the more liberal it becomes. Houston is not an exception to this rule. However, Houston is also surrounded by a conservative country, meaning there is a conservative voice in the city. This meld of urban and rural means Houston is often on the fence, and sway between liberal and conservative.
For the most part, however, Houston stays liberal, if only just. Cities are almost always blue, and Houston is a traditional urban area that is only growing, so the liberal voices within the city are growing with it.
So, if you’re looking for a conservative pocket in city limits, you’ll probably find one. Conservatives are not the majority in Houston, but they are definitely prevalent. Generally speaking, however, Houston is a left-wing city with small right-wing pockets that don’t always get along. Texans are known for being strong-minded, and Houston is no exception! Be prepared for big opinions and people not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.
What is it like to be conservative in Houston?
Conservatives in Houston are not always popular, but their heads are not mounted on pikes if that’s what you’re wondering! In today’s political climate, it’s getting harder and harder to openly state any viewpoint without a mob being summoned to argue with you. It can make anyone hesitant to start conversations or associate with different-minded people.
There is a fair-sized right-wing populace in Houston, which keeps the city balances and encourages the flow and strengthening of ideas. Political diversity is always a good thing.
We shouldn’t barricade ourselves depending on our political stance! Being conservative in Houston means you might have different beliefs and opinions than your neighbors, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from ever coming to this city. Don’t be afraid to come across differing opinions of any kind, they can actually make your stance on an issue stronger and more defended.
Blue cities in red states
Houston is a blue city in a red state, which causes more conflict than people realize. American legislation states that states can make laws on anything not specified by the Constitution, and this freedom of state government has led many cities to think that this law extends to them. They think that cities can rule differently than the state legislature. This is not true.
There have been several instances of red cities overturning attempted blue cities’ legislature. Most recently, this has happened over issues like LGBTQ mobility and gun control, two issues the right and left have been butting heads over even more than usual.
This overturning of city power has caused bitterness from both liberal city residents who don’t want their legislation so easily ignored and a conservative population that doesn’t want the small city area to set rules their state doesn’t support.
Both parties may feel they have been promised one type of governing and given another. This clash is leading to several consequences, none of them good.
One big problem is that this creates a large divide between citizens of the same state. The more conflict arises over differing political agendas, the more people are sticking to members of the same party. It can also make people in a minority political party feel as if they have no power over their hometown.
This is an issue in any state that is set either blue or red. Citizens may feel their opinions, beliefs, and vote don’t matter in a state where their voice is swallowed up by the majority. For blue cities in red states, residents are surrounded by like-minded people but are still ignored on many major issues.
In cases where the city legislature does pull through despite state opinion, residents may feel they are in a delicate bubble of political opinion. Either way, it’s unfortunate that people are drawing away from anyone with a differing opinion, or trying to create a bubble that has no unpopular beliefs or customs. This sort of situation doesn’t encourage mental diversity or encourage people to stand up for their beliefs.
Recent political change
Houston used to be less polarized but in recent years has begun to lean further away from right-wing politics. This may be due to the urbanization of Houston and the surrounding cities it swallows up into its boundaries, as well as the intense polarization that started around the 2016 election.
Polarization is becoming more and more prevalent in America today, and while we can’t say exactly why, there are some theories about why people are pulling away from each other. Politicians on both sides try to push voters into die-hard loyalty to get re-elected, resulting in a growing chasm. While this divide is great for subpar politicians trying to get more votes and appear more competent, it has a lasting and negative effect on the population as a whole.
Recent years have also been tenser, which reflects in elections as voters feel the need to be more offensive about their rights and the issues they’re passionate about. Citizens have started to band together over recent issues like COVID, the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections, and social justice.
One event that occurred recently and started a divide between citizens was the death of George Floyd, caused by a police officer over a counterfeit bill. Houston is the birthplace of Floyd and has prompted many residents to respond to this event in outrage.
Houston is also become steadily more urban, with the city limits expanding. Houston is a growing city that tends to swallow up any territories near it.
Whatever the cause for this shift, it has several pros and cons. People are becoming more politically aware, but also less likely to have relationships with people of different political ideologies. It’s important for people to be able to hold conversations with those who think differently than they do.
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