was chosen to be part of the influential executive committee of the party. It was while in this position that Rayner spurred more controversy as he urged the party to step up their advocacy for African American civil rights in Texas. However, despite his great reputation as the best orator and influential member of the Populist Party, his hopes and ambitions were dashed when the party chose to support the Democratic Party candidate for president, William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Thus, it was at this point that Rayner realized that the state of Texas was no different from other southern states that hated reconstruction. He decided to support the candidate for the Republican Party by brokering a deal with the Republican Party but the Democrats in Texas blocked blacks from voting. Thus, the author shows how race played part in the politics of the era as seen from the deals that Rayner tried to forge between the Populist Party and the Republican Party to advance the interests of the populists. Race was used as a tool of the dominant where the Populist Party chose to support the Democratic Party candidate. Instead of supporting someone who was in favor of their own ideologies, they chose to support a different candidate who stood for the white solidarity rhetoric employed by the Democratic Party. Hence, as much as the party dashed the
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- Fall '18
- author of the book, John Baptist Rayner