Blanco County is the home of Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat who served as President of the United States from 1963-1969. He was the product of the southern arm of the Democratic Party, sometimes referred to as “Yellow Dog Democrats.” These voters would allegedly vote for a yellow dog before they would vote for any Republican. The southern arm of the party tended to differ from the northern arm, supporting views on fiscal policy, national defense, and race relations that are considered conservative today.
LBJ broke this mold and forever changed the political landscape when he courageously fought for and signed into law many progressive programs through his Great Society agenda. Examples include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Medicare (1965), and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
LBJ was, and still is, beloved by people in the Texas Hill Country. As a U.S. Congressman, he passed legislation to bring dams and electricity to the region, which was subject to floods and poverty. Unfortunately many Southerners, including Texans, resented the impact of the Great Society, which granted full citizenship to African-Americans. With its passage, the South began to turn increasingly to Republican candidates.
Today Blanco County is politically conservative. The last year in which a Democratic candidate won a majority in the county was in 1994 with 62.4% of the vote. The trend towards conservatism has increased since then. Tracking presidential election years, in 1996 (Clinton’s second term), Democrats obtained 33.6% of the vote. By 2004 (G. W. Bush’s second term), it had dropped to 27.6%. It reached a low of 21.9% in 2016.
The 2018 general election, a non-presidential, mid-term election cycle, featured a strong slate of Democratic candidates both statewide and in the Texas House and U.S. Congressional districts that include Blanco County. In 2018, more Democrats voted in Blanco County than ever, even more than in 1994 when Democrats had the majority.