“Past Politics” explores the intersection of my three ongoing projects: one on the 1964 presidential election, another that uses Texas to understand the shift from midcentury liberalism to late century conservatism, and a biography of former Speaker of the House and Vice President John Nance Garner. Lyndon Johnson is the unifying figure throughout this research, and his presidential election victory in 1964 is the subject of the book project I am most actively working on. The project that looks at the shift from liberalism to conservatism and the Garner biography are more demanding projects and are still in the formative stages. This page shares some of the digital components of my research, which mixes more traditional archival work with newer digital humanities techniques.
I am building a massive database that explores political, economic, and social trends in Texas and compares them across the rest of the country. Once I am finished my Texas data will track election returns to the county level and layer this information with data from the U.S. Census.
I will also use sources like the Congressional Directory to quantify the power Texans accumulated on Capitol Hill by studying the committee chairships held by Lone Star State lawmakers vis-a-vis chairships held by other state delegations.
I also use text mining strategies to understand the rhetorical shifts from midcentury liberalism to late century conservatism in ways that archival research alone will not permit.