Page 7


Zile Ne uf g or k &into TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 1970 In The Nation: What Price Party Loyalty? By TOM WICKER AUSTIN, Tex., May 31The sizable liberal faction of the Texas Democratic party is confronted again with its longstanding dilemmawhat to do in November, this time in the Senatorial race between Republican George Bush and conservative Democrat Lloyd Bentsen. There are those who urge an independent candidacy by Senator Ralph Yarborough, the liberal Democrat defeated by Mr. Bentsen in last month’s primary. But Mr. Yarborough has flatly rejected that course and endorsed Mr. Bentsen. Be. sides, it is too late for anyone else to get on the ballot, so any independent candidate would have to seek write-in votes, which is never an easy way to get elected. No doubt a number of Texas liberals will “write in Ralph anyway; but the greater possibility is that they will vote in impressive numbers for the Republican candidate, George Bush. Since Mr_ Varhnrmigh gof 7U 000 votes in the Ma y prim arv. such a szsoutkaLs t ilherc i LQuidl ie one of the most important factors in the November election, It was, after all, an outpouring of Texas liberal votes that helped send the conservative Republican, John Tower, to the Senate in 1961 and has helped to keep him there. There are a number .of reasons for Texas liberals to disdain party loyalty again and flock to Mr. Bush. The first is that many consider Mr. Bentsen not only to be the more conservative of the two candidates but to have waged an unfair campaign against Mr. Yarborough, and one too heavily reliant on slick television commercials \(although many liberals concede that Mr. Yarborough’s voting record and late-starting campaign had him Nor do many Texas liberals see why they should help send a conservative Democrat to the Senate, thus setting back liberalism in the national Democratic party as well as in Texas. Regular Democrats are already trying to counter this attitude by raising the point that Mr. Bush’s election might help the Republicans win control of the Senate. The Liberals’ Theory Some liberals also have a theory that if Texas puts two Republicans in the Senate now, it will be easier in 1972 to defeat Mr. Tower with a liberal Democrat. But that depends heavily on the success of the liberals’ root theorythat it is in their political interest to en courage a two-party system in Texas, for state offices as well as in Presidential campaigns. This theory holds that most Texas conservatives are Republicans at heart, voting for Republican Presidential candidates, but registering ,Democratic and voting in Democratic primaries because it is in those primaries that state ‘offices have usually been won or lost. This year, for instance,’ 1.5 million Texans voted in the Democratic primary and only, 106,000 in the Republican; yet, the Bush-Bentsen race this fall is expected to be close. If Conservatives Switch But if Republicans can be regularly elected to state offices, making Republican maries Mean something in state politics, the liberals believe more and more conservatives will switch to the Republicans, building up that party but giving liberalism a far greater voice in Democratic primaries. Mr. Bentsen, for instance, defeated Mr. Yarborough by only 92,000 votes, and liberals here point out that if only a relatively few more conservative votes had been cast in the Republican primary, rather than in the Democratic primary, Mr. Yarborough’s liberal support would have produced a Yarborough-Bush race this fall. There is obviously something to this theory. In 1958, only 17,000 Texans voted in a state Republican primary. But ,:in 1961, Mr. Toweraided by. a Democratic splitwon his Senate seat to become the fi r st Republican holder of a statewide office since Recons4tcton. By 1962, the Republioan primary vote was extended nearly ten-fold to 114,000which was at least one reason why conservative John 13, Connally Jr. barely won the Democratic gubernatorial primary over a liberal opponent. Similarly, when 40,000 voted this year in a hotly contested Republican primary in Harris County, where Republicans previously had elegy! several local officials, Mr. Yarborough carried that county over Mgr. Bentsen by 25,000 votes. 5n_ it is \(-Attain that thousands of lihpral TPTAR negranerAts will vntP next Nnvystntsprr for George Rush sand Pant Et gmtheasubliizaasindidateL for Governor. What is itrust, remarkiahlim about this is 49 vr , logical and “thinkable” it ntny Seems when not so may yolgim ego_ in Texas as elsewhere, Or placed on party loyalty. wbtever its irloologirok ‘ \(We will be happy to provide speakers and materials for meetings or informal get t;E r