Keyword: W. Lee

Listen to Pappy O'Daniel, A Texas Progenitor of Donald Trump's Celebrity Populism

| By: Jim Henson

A little less than fourscore years ago, Texas contributed one of the clearest progenitors to Donald Trump's presidential candidacy in the person of W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, who was elected governor of the state in 1938, was reelected in 1940, then elected to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate in a special election in 1941.  (In the Senate victory, he became the only person ever to defeat Lyndon Johnson in an election.)  O'Daniel was a businessman who became a public figure via radio, which he used to advertise flour, first for Burrus Mills and later for his own company, Hillbilly Flour.  Part of his pitch was the use of the Light Crust Dough Boys, the western music band that included Bob Wills and contributed to the creation of Texas Swing, and later the Hillbilly Boys.