Democrat Texas Governor Allan Shivers (1907-1985) endorsed Eisenhower (a Republican) for president in 1952. Conservative Democrats like Shivers were called"Shivercrats," and, after 1970, many of these “Shivercrat” Democrats turned Republican, making Texas a politically “red” state. The term “Shivercrat” was used on May 7, 1952, and is of mostly historical interest today.
The Shivercrats were a conservative faction of the Democratic Party in Texas in the 1950s. The faction was named for Texas’ conservative governor Allan Shivers, who was criticized by liberals within the party—particularly Ralph Yarborough—for his corruption and conservatism.
The term was first used derisively by party liberals, who attacked Shivers and his allies in the party for backing Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower over the national party’s chosen candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1952. The liberals also charged the Shivercrats with defrauding veterans through the General Land Office. The Shivercrats responded with a vicious negative campaign that tried to paint the party liberals as communists.
President Lyndon B. Johnson at first aligned himself with the Shivercrats (including John Connally), but after becoming president Johnson increasingly sided with Yarborough and the liberals on policy matters. Most of the Shivercrats either left public life or became Republicans after Johnson’s presidency, as the liberal-moderate faction was in firm control of the state party after 1970.
Wikipedia: Allan Shivers
Robert Allan Shivers (October 5, 1907 – January 14, 1985) was a Texas politician who led the conservative faction of the Texas Democratic Party during the turbulent 1940s and 1950s. Shivers also developed the lieutenant governor’s post into an extremely powerful perch in state government.
Shivers disputed the Truman administration’s claim on the Tidelands and disapproved of Truman’s veto that would have vested tideland ownership in the states. Bucking the tradition of the “Solid South,” Shivers delivered Texas in the 1952 presidential election for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower—only the second time that Texas had supported a Republican for president since Reconstruction. The state Republican Party reciprocated by nominating Shivers for governor; he thus ran as the nominee of both parties
The Handbook of Texas Online
The 1948 Senate race in Texas exemplified many of the tensions within the state party. Lyndon B. Johnson, who eventually defeated Coke Stevenson in an election fraught with charges of wrongdoing on both sides, represented the difficulties liberal New Dealers faced when they attempted to campaign statewide. To appeal to a conservative but Democratic electorate required pragmatic compromise. By the end of the 1940s the Democratic party in Texas had split at least three ways-into a conservative wing that usually controlled state politics, a liberal wing that had supported the New Deal and that later championed the rights of women, the working class, and ethnic minorities, and a group in the middle that shifted back and forth between the two extremes. By the middle twentieth century the Texas Democratic party was riven by factional strife. The liberal-conservative Democratic split also aided the development of a viable state Republican opposition. In the years after the 1952 presidential election a two-party system began to emerge. The gubernatorial administration of R. Allan Shivers (1949–57) and the efforts of the liberal opposition to reclaim power within both the state party machinery and the state government dominated state Democratic politics during the 1950s. During the 1950s Texas Democrats also wielded significant power in Washington with Sam Rayburn as speaker of the House and Lyndon Johnson as Senate majority leader. Texas Democrats Oveta Culp Hobby and Robert Anderson held cabinet appointments during the Eisenhower administration. After becoming governor, Shivers took control of the party machinery by instituting a purge of the State Democratic Executive Committee, an organization with two members from each state Senate district, and stacking its membership with his supporters. Shivers also engineered a change in the election laws that permitted cross-filing for both the Democratic and Republican primaries in the 1952 election. As a result of the change, conservative Democrats, termed “Shivercrats” because of their allegiance to the governor, also filed in the Republican primary, thus reducing the number of Republicans that ran for office.
7 May 1952, San Antonio (TX) Express, “Site Selected For Bolting S.A. Delegates” by Roy Grimes, pg. 1, col. 1:
Fagan Dickson of Austin, executive secretary of the Loyal Democrats who helped lead precinct and county convention bolts in his home county, announced that “La Villita has been reserved for May 27 for a legal state Democratic convention, if required. This convention will be called in all likelihood if the Shivercrats still refuse to take the loyalty pledge at San Antonio.”
7 May 1952, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, ‘Rump Convetion Chooses Own Delegates to State,” pg. B1, col. 1:
“We want to go on record here,” Montgomery told the rump convention, “as not being Loyal Democrats, as we have been called. We’re not liberal Democrats, conservative Democrats, Shivercrats, Dixiecrats—but just plain Democrats.”
8 May 1952, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, ‘Governor Shivers Accused Of Political Interference,” pg. 3B:
Dickson said the people who controlled virtually all county Democratic conventions Tuesday were “Shivercrats.”
8 May 1952, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Shivers hails victory, draws liberal threat” by Jimmy Banks, pt. 1, pg. 11:
Dickson said his Liberals were compelled to withdraw from Tuesday’s county conventions “because of the Shivercrats’ refusal to support the party nominees.”
27 May 1952, Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, pg. 4:
if the Shivercrats refuse to take a pledge to support the Democratic party, it means that one branch of Texas Democrats might go for Taft or Eisenhower—if the Chicago convention adopts a plank favoring FEPC or opposing tidelands oil.
OCLC WorldCat record
The Shivercrat rebellion: a case study in campaign speaking strategies.
Author: J A Hendrix
Publisher: [N.p., 1968]
Edition/Format: Book : English
Off the record:
The private papers of Harry S. Truman
Edited by Robert H. Ferrell
Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press
December 22, 1952
27,300,000 cast for the Democrats and 33,900,000 for the Republican Dixiecrat, Shivercrat, anti Korean Bible-belt coalition.*
*The term “Shivercrat” derived from Governor Allan Shivers of Texas, who went off the Democratic reservation.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, July 16, 2010 • Permalink