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Texas Politics Today 2017-2018 Edition 18th Edition

Mark P. Jones, William Earl Maxwell, Ernest Crain, Morhea Lynn Davis, Christopher Wlezein, Elizabeth N. Flores

  • Published
  • 448 Pages
Starting At 80.00 See pricing and ISBN options


TEXAS POLITICS TODAY is the standard in its coverage of Texas institutions, policies, and politics. It combines a comparative approach with tightly integrated learning objectives and questions addressing the Texas GOVT2306 Core Objectives. The text closes the gap between theory and practice with its Insiders and Politics in Practice features. The text reveals the inner workings of Texas elites, interest groups, campaign megadonors, and policy makers. The authors tapped their resources among political activists and officeholders to provide students with exclusive essays written by essayists ranging from the governor to campaign consultants to marijuana advocates, showing students how real-world politics operates in Texas. Texas Politics Today stimulates critical thinking and civic participation with a special focus on current political issues ranging from immigration, LGBT politics, gun control policies, abortion laws, and Latino politics to the culture wars in education.

Mark P. Jones, Rice University

Mark P. Jones is the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy’s Fellow in Political Science, the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Latin American Studies, and a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rice University. His articles have appeared in publications such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Texas Monthly, The Hill, and the Texas Tribune. Jones is among the state’s most quoted commentators on Texas politics in the state and national media, and his research on the Texas legislature is widely cited by media outlets and political campaigns. Jones received his B.A. from Tulane University and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

William Earl Maxwell, San Antonio College, Emeritus

William Earl Maxwell is a professor emeritus at San Antonio College, where he has taught courses in U.S. and Texas government since 1971. Throughout his career Maxwell has focused on innovative teaching techniques and improving the teaching and learning environments for students. As part of that effort, in 1975 Maxwell co-authored UNDERSTANDING TEXAS POLITICS, his first text on Texas government. He also co-authored such texts as POLITICS IN TEXAS and THE CHALLENGE OF TEXAS POLITICS: TEXT WITH READINGS. He completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Sam Houston State University.

Ernest Crain, San Antonio College, Emeritus

Ernest Crain did his graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, spent 35 years teaching Texas government at San Antonio College, and now lives in Montgomery County, Texas. Crain has co-authored UNDERSTANDING TEXAS POLITICS, POLITICS IN TEXAS: AN INTRODUCTION TO TEXAS POLITICS, THE CHALLENGE OF TEXAS POLITICS: TEXT WITH READINGS, AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS TODAY: TEXAS EDITION, and TEXAS POLITICS TODAY. His special areas of interest include party competition, comparative state politics, and Texas public policy.

Morhea Lynn Davis, El Paso Community College

M. Lynn Davis is professor of Government at El Paso Community College, where she has served as Blackboard Trainer and Mentor, Faculty Senator, Government Discipline Coordinator and has served on numerous faculty committees. Davis has a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in both Organizational Behavior and Political Science. She is a very active community volunteer, grant writer, and has consulted for and participated in many political campaigns. Her published articles range in topics from the current political environment to the viability of primaries and caucuses in today’s election processes.

Christopher Wlezein, University of Texas at Austin

Christopher Wlezien is Hogg Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. He previously taught at Oxford University, the University of Houston, and Temple University, after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1989. Over the years, Wlezien has published widely on elections, public opinion, and public policy, and his books include DEGREES OF DEMOCRACY, WHO GETS REPRESENTED? AND THE TIMELINE OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. He has founded a journal, served on numerous editorial boards, established different institutes, advised governments and other organizations, held visiting positions at many universities around the world, received various research grants, and won a number of awards for his research and teaching.

Elizabeth N. Flores, Del Mar College

Elizabeth N. Flores is professor of political science at Del Mar College. She teaches courses on national government, Texas government and Mexican-American politics, and serves as program coordinator for the Mexican-American Studies Program. Flores earned a master of arts degree in political science at the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts degree in political science (magna cum laude) at St. Mary’s University. Her awards include the 2014 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council Educator of the Year Award, the 2013 Del Mar College Dr. Aileen Creighton Award for Teaching Excellence, and a 1998 Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).
  • Chapters about elections, parties, and interest groups focus on the ideals of democracy and challenge students to evaluate whether these ideals are realized in practice. A streamlined chapter about the Texas legislature invites students to evaluate the role that legislators play in representing Texans inside and outside of the State Capitol. This edition is thoroughly updated to help students analyze the results of the 2016 election, recent court decisions, and current policy issues.
  • Expanded coverage of ideology and social issues such as marijuana, abortion, immigration, and firearms policies, among others. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 extensively cover tea party politics and Republican Party factionalism. Chapters 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 11 also feature expanded analysis of the effects of the state’s demographic changes and the rising importance of Latinos in the future of Texas politics.
  • Enhanced visuals including new intuitive graphics to illustrate federalism, ballot organization, political party structures, interest-group tactics, the plural executive system, the governor’s appointive powers, and the forms of municipal government. New easy-to-follow process-oriented charts take students step-by-step through the dynamics of the constitutional amendment, legislative, electoral, and criminal justice processes.
  • For the new Politics in Practice features, the authors called upon their resources among a wide range of office-holders and political activists to write exclusive new essays. These features conclude each chapter with a fully developed exercise to close the gap between the theoretical themes and the actual practice of Texas politics; they put a face on the political system and give students a glimpse of how it operates from an insider’s viewpoint. Essays are included from the governor and his staff, legislators, lobbyists, campaign consultants, political activists, and local officials.
  • Updated and targeted Texas Insiders and How Does Texas Compare boxes are visually distinct and provide the reader with an uninterrupted flow through the text. The role of social and digital media in Texas politics is discussed and illustrated in every chapter throughout the text.
  • Each chapter now ends with new Think Critically and Get Active projects that support purpose-driven activities, political involvement, and personal introspection. Pedagogy links to targeted objectives throughout the chapter and delivers students a cohesive learning experience.
  • "Think Critically and Get Active!" feature, at the end of each chapter, provides an annotated list of websites and social media sites that offer ways to increase students' own political involvement and reflect on their place in the political system.
  • Carefully written photo, figure, and table captions convey the major takeaway messages to students. A critical analysis question follows each caption. Process-oriented charts clearly take students step-by-step through political processes.
  • The book is now seamlessly integrated with MindTap®, available with this edition. Marginal icons direct students to a variety of assignable, gradable activities that gets them up to speed on current events, promotes their interaction with one another through online discussion boards and polling questions, and engages them with interactive activities and quizzes that are correlated to clearly defined learning outcomes--all while keeping instructors deeply informed of student progress and time spent in the course.
  • The hallmark comparative approach of TEXAS POLITICS TODAY is highlighted in the "How Does Texas Compare?" sections that feature maps and figures in every chapter. This comparative feature focuses on how Texas's unique political culture shapes the state's policies and institutions differently from other states. The text stimulates critical thinking and civic participation with a special focus on current political issues ranging from immigration, LGBT politics, gun control policies, abortion laws, and Latino politics to the culture wars in education.
  • Each chapter opens with numbered learning objectives that are repeated throughout the chapter in major sections to help students focus their reading and track their progress. Bulleted summaries and review questions at the end of each chapter (both now organized by learning objective), as well as marginal key terms throughout the narrative, facilitate study and review.
  • New Politics in Practice essays show students how Texas political practitioners actually apply the theoretical principles of Texas government. Together with the Texas Insiders feature, these new features give students a taste of political reality.
Prologue: Texas's Political Roots.
1. Texas Culture and Diversity.
2. Texas in the Federal System.
3. The Texas Constitution in Perspective.
4. Voting and Elections.
5. Political Parties.
6. Interest Groups.
7. The Legislature.
8. The Executive.
9. The Judiciary.
10. Law and Due Process.
11. Local Government.
12. Public Policy in Texas.
Each MindTap product offers the full, mobile-ready textbook combined with superior and proven learning tools at one affordable price. Students who purchase digital access can add a print option at any time when a print option is available for their course.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

Standalone Digital Access — Ultimate Value

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  • ISBN-10: 1305952227
  • ISBN-13: 9781305952225
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $80.00
  • RETAIL $80.00

Digital Access + Print — Flexible Value

Recommended and most popular

  • ISBN-10: 1337598046
  • ISBN-13: 9781337598040
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $75.00
  • RETAIL $99.95

  • ISBN-10: 1337582018
  • ISBN-13: 9781337582018
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $180.00
  • RETAIL $239.95

Textbook Only Options

Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • ISBN-10: 1337658286
  • ISBN-13: 9781337658287
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  • STARTING AT $79.49

  • ISBN-10: 1305952189
  • ISBN-13: 9781305952188
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $150.00
  • RETAIL $199.95

"I'm surprised at how much I liked it. It seemed to be a little bit more 'in your face' about Texas in the real world than I anticipated. The essays are terrific."

"Very nicely done. This book does a better job of the above than most other texts I have looked at."

"I like the approach of this book and the MindTap!"

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor's Web Site

ISBN: 9781305952195
Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of product-specific lecture and class tools is available online via the instructor resource center at

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access

ISBN: 9781305952249
Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to import, edit, and manipulate content from the text’s test bank or elsewhere, including your own favorite test questions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want.