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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Liberal Texas Democrats support Lyndon Johnson in his early years

Carter explains why the liberal Texas Democrats changed their loyalties and decided to support Lyndon Johnson early in his political career.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Margaret Carter, October 25, 1975. Interview A-0309-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
In other words, he was perceived as a pretty straightforward liberal candidate in that context?
MARGARET CARTER:
Well, don't go too far. [Laughter] But we supported him.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Well, what I'm trying to get at is at that time, did he appear to be more liberal than some people came to believe perhaps than he was later on?
MARGARET CARTER:
Well, he was a useful member of the Texas Congressional delegation. He had been in the House and he had a pretty good record as Texas congressmen's records go. We certainly didn't want to see Coke Stevenson in the Senate. He had been the governor during part of the struggle over whether people who intended to oppose the national nominees had a right to control the state machinery. That was what all this Dixiecrat,-"No Third Term" -Texas Regular squabble was about and Coke Stevenson had stood aside and said, "You never drink coffee from the boiling pot and I have friends on both sides."
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
This was at the time that he was governor?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes. In the forties. So, we knew that we didn't want Stevenson to go to Washington and furthermore, when Rainey's situation developed, Stevenson had been the governor when Rainey was fired and he had made no effort to influence the regents. So, we had that against Stevenson, too. Of course, Stevenson very much wanted to run for reelection, but come '46 when the powers that be saw that they weren't going to be able to guarantee Stevenson's reelection, they supported Jester for governor and Stevenson was promised that if he would support Jester for governor, the same people who were supporting Jester for governor would support him for the next Senate race. They tried to deliver and they just couldn't quite do it.
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
And that was known by the liberals at the time?
MARGARET CARTER:
Oh, yes. From the establishment's point of view, Johnson was an upstart who was trying to get promoted to the Senate when it wasn't his turn. We were always for upstarts. [Laughter]
CHANDLER DAVIDSON:
Still are, aren't you?
MARGARET CARTER:
Yes.