In 1976 I was living in Austin and did this illustration for the Austin Sun. It was the year that Ronald Reagan ran in the Republican primaries against then president Gerald Ford. The controversial ex-governor of California was seen by most political observers as too extreme and conservative to win the nomination. Ford was winning the primaries as predicted, until Texas. Reagan won by over 30% and the view of him began to change. Reagan did not win the nomination but as it turned out, the horse Reagan rode in on was a Trojan horse, filled with right-wing ideologues that turned the Republican Party sharply to the right. Setting the stage, ultimately, for the rise of the far right and the Tea Party. As if to prove that point, in 1978 Texas voted in Bill Clements as governor. He was the state's first Republican governor in over 100 years. One of Clement's most memorable comments was made in that campaign when asked why he didn't put up any Spanish language billboards in South Texas. He replied " ... son, I'm runnin' for Governor of Texas, not Mexico!" It's been downhill ever since.
To get some real insight into Texas politics, read Lawrence Wright's The Future is Texas in The New Yorker.
Artwork © 1976, Dan Hubig
Dan Hubig is a freelance illustrator and street photographer who lives in San Francisco, California. He was the first art director for the Austin Sun and had his political illustrations syndicated internationally from 1978 - 1985.