The American Independent Party in Harris County, Texas, 1968 : Issues and attitudes in historical perspective
Allee, Henry E.
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This thesis is an Investigation of the American Independent Party In the electorate In Harris County, Texas, 1968. The objective of the analysis is to discover the issues and related attitudes of the active Wallace supporters in Harris County and relate these Issues and attitudes to similar minor parties of the past. The information presented includes a historical survey of past minor parties of the United States, a suggested classificatory scheme for such parties, and survey research data gathered about the Wallace 'activists' in Harris County. The activists are studied in an effort to ascertain the main issues and attitudes around which the third party was organized and to test for any apparent relation between these issues and attitudes and the socio-economic composition of the party in the electorate. The main conclusions of the survey research are that most of the activists had a great fear of Communists; held varying degrees of belief in social and ethnic inequality; and had a conservative economic voting pattern in the past. However, the degree to which each issue grouping of activists possessed these characteristics varied considerably. Apparently some activists possessed a very conspiratorial mentality. Others were drawn to the Wallace party because of frustration with the Vietnam war, riots, taxes, inflation, the credibility gap of the Johnson administration, and the inability of the Republican Party to suggest alternatives to the policies of the Johnson administration. When compared to minor parties of the past, the American Independent Party seems to have had counterparts throughout much of the history of the United States. However, in 1968, the Wallace party benefited from extreme social, economic, and political conditions which enabled it to poll an unusually high popular vote for a third party.