Our Political System
By definition, any government is the individuals, institutions, and process that makes and enforces the rules of society. Government has the responsibility to provide for public good, police powers, public services, taxes, and most importantly, to protect the power of the people. If any of the above is not met, it is up to the people to use its government to tell it what they want. The role of government institutions in making public policy is the key to a stable political system.
Public policy is the decision government makes over a certain issue. This job falls under the jurisdiction of the legislative branch. It is congress job to make all the laws according to what the people want. How does congress know what laws the people want made? It is the people s responsibility to choose their representatives and to use the government agencies at their reach to tell congress what they want. All kinds of linkage institutions exist throughout the country to keep the law making process at the reach of the people. Interest groups are also very important in this process.
Environmental groups for example have been responsible for the passing of many laws concerning endangered species. Gun control groups have most recently taken incidents such as the one at Columbine High School to push for tighter gun control policies.
In order for an issue to become part of the public agenda, the people must let the government know where they stand. Political parties take on these issues, and from there we elect our officials to carry on these issues. After the laws are passed, it is now up to the executive branch to implement the laws. So in a sense, even though it is not completely up to the people to make the laws, the decisions they make in electing their leaders and officials affects them in many aspects.
Several key factors affect politics in Texas. The economy, people, and the different regions play an enormous role in our state s public policy.
Texas economy was mainly an agricultural one at the turn of the century. After the discovery of crude oil and natural gas however, Texas economy changed from a land based economy to an oil based economy. For a good part of the century, the state s economy became dependent on the gross profits from its oil production. Labor costs were kept low in order to attract economic growth in the state. This however took its toll in the 1980 s when the state entered a recession when oil prices plummeted. Since then, the state has found some ways to maintain the economy without depending solely in the oil industry. This came in handy in 1998, when oil prices plummeted again but allowed the state s economy to survive.
As you can see, the economy affects how government is run. In some cases, the government can even become too dependent on one source of profit. This is where public policy is implemented to make sure a government can survive a recession.
Over the years, there s been a huge increase in immigration from Mexico into Texas. This brings a lot of new diverse ideas of how our state should be run. Also, the ethnic composition of our representatives has changed from past years.
The proportion of elderly people in the population has also changed dramatically. This state has become an elder state in recent years. This will have a huge role in coming elections. Elderly people have shown to be more and more active in our political system. More elderly people show up to vote on election dates, and more elderly people run for office than the younger population. It is these people who will be making most of the decisions for the rest of the state s population in the near future.