“A thorough yet concise overview of California institutions, politics, and initiative process, grounded in an overview of California’s political culture.”
—Ronnee Schreiber, San Diego State University
The thoroughly revised Fifth Edition of California Politics: A Primer concisely explains how California’s history, political culture, rules, and institutions come together to shape politics today and how they will determine the state of affairs tomorrow. Author Renee B. Van Vechten begins with a brief political history of California, then walks through direct democracy, the legislature, executive branch, and court system. She covers local government and concludes with a discussion of the state’s budget process, campaigns and elections, political engagement, and policy issues. From the structure of the state's government to its local representatives, policies, and voter participation, California Politics: A Primer delivers the concepts and details students need.
New to the Fifth Edition
- An emphasis on California’s place in the federal system provides students with context around the state leadership's resistance to Trump administration policies on things like California’s sanctuary state status, immigration, the environment, and more.
- Increased coverage of policy topics throughout the book helps students see how recent policy has impacted issues such as greenhouse gas emissions regulations, attempted “fixes” for water- and drought-related issues, new transportation projects, and prison reform.
- Extended discussions of elections-related innovations introduce students to recent elections-related topics such as the Top-Two Primary, efforts to increase voter registration, all vote-by-mail elections, and redistricting.
- New coverage of the “Five Californias” gives students a better understanding of California’s political geography and how distinct segments of the population are primed for political engagement or disaffection.
- New lists of key terms with clear definitions at the end of each chapter enable students to review the content more effectively.
- New and updated maps and graphics depict important topics such as California’s newly proposed high-speed rail project.
|Principles for Understanding California Politics|
|The Rise of the Southern Pacific Railroad|
|The Power of Organized Interests|
|Growth and Industrialization in the Golden State|
|The Initiative Process Takes Hold|
|Hyperdiversity in a Modern State|
|Recalling a Governor|
|Pushing Ahead with More Reforms|
|The Return of Jerry Brown|
|Conclusion: Political Earthquakes and Evolving Institutions|
|The Statewide Initiative Process|
|Preparation Stage: Drafting, Public Review, and Titling|
|Qualification Stage: Circulating Petitions, Gathering Signatures, and Signature Verification|
|Campaign Stage: Persuading Potential Voters|
|Postelection Stage: Court Challenges and Implementation|
|The Power of the Initiative Process|
|Direct Democracy at the Local Level|
|Conclusion: The Perils and Promises of Hybrid Democracy|
|Design, Purpose, and Function of the Legislature|
|California Representatives at Work|
|Lawmaking and Policymaking|
|Constituency Service and Outreach|
|Executive Branch Oversight|
|Conclusion: Of the People, for the People|
|California’s Plural Executive|
|The Constitutional Executive Officers|
|Administrators and Regulators|
|Conclusion: Leading State Government|
|The Three-Tiered Court System|
|On and Off the Court|
|Criminal Justice and Its Costs|
|Conclusion: Access to Justice|
|Conclusion: The State’s Interlocking Systems|
|California Budgeting 101|
|Mechanics of Budgeting: Revenue|
|Mechanics of Budgeting: Expenditures, Deficits, and Debt|
|Political Constraints on Budgeting|
|Tax Burden: Highest in the Nation?|
|Conclusion: Budgeting under Variable Conditions|
|Democratic Stronghold, but Weakly Partisan|
|Party in the California Electorate|
|Party in Government|
|Party in Informal Networks|
|Elections: Continuity and Change|
|Conclusion: A Complex Electorate|
|Citizens and Politics|
|Predictors of Political Participation and Disengagement|
|The Five Californias|
|News and Media Habits|
|Types of Political Participation|
|Major Voting Trends|
|Special Interest Groups: Indirectly Connecting Citizens to Government|
|Conclusion: An Evolving Political Community|
Password-protected INSTRUCTOR RESOURCES you’ll actually use!
Save time and ease class preparation with additional guidance and tools, including:
- Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
- Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
- A set of all graphics from the text, including maps, tables, and figures, in PowerPoint, .pdf, and .jpg formats for class presentations