Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Texas Politics 2015-2016, 13th Edition

  • Charldean Newell
  • David F. Prindle
  • James Riddlesperger
  • ISBN-10: 1285861159
  • ISBN-13: 9781285861159
  • 480 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2016 Published
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About the Product

TEXAS POLITICS: IDEAL AND REALITY critically compares Texas government and politics to the concepts of democratic theory by raising three main themes: democratic ideals, conservatism, and conflict. Lively presentation of material encourages students to consider controversial issues and debates. In the 2015–2016 Edition, new policy coverage, updates reflecting the Texas legislative session that ended in June 2014, and new “Texas Politics and You” features that ask students to become directly involved in current and contentious issues, often through social media, keep this book cutting edge.


  • “You Decide” point/counterpoint features in each chapter prompt discussion in and out of the classroom on important current topics such as campaign financing, redistricting, and Texas's role on the international stage.

  • Key terms are identified throughout the narrative by boldface type. Chapter-ending summaries, glossary terms, and study questions assist students in learning and reviewing the material.


“The text's major strength is its focus on the impacts of culture and tradition on the structure of government and policy in Texas.”
— Blake R. Farrar, Austin Community College

About the Author

Charldean Newell

Charldean Newell was Richard Kraemer's co-author for the first edition of this textbook in 1979 and continued as the lead author when Dr. Kraemer retired from the project in 1992. Dr. Newell died in 2014 at the age of 75. A Fort Worth native, she earned her doctorate in Government at the University of Texas at Austin in 1965. In addition to textbook writing, she was the author of THE EFFECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT MANAGER (ICMA Press, 2004) and CITY EXECUTIVES (SUNY Press, 1989) and editor of MANAGING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: CASES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT EFFECTIVENESS (ICMA Press, 2009). In her 37-year career at the University of North Texas she won awards from students, colleagues and alumni, as well as prizes from national public-administration organizations. Despite her ferocious work ethic, Dr. Newell was a cheerful and generous writing partner. Phone conversations about the next edition of this textbook were conducted amid laughter, often including her continuing critiques of the travails of her beloved Texas Rangers baseball team. She always beat her deadlines and provided acute but respectful commentary on the chapter first-drafts of her co-authors. Although she is no longer contributing new information to this book, many of her sentences and paragraphs continue to adorn its prose and its continuing themes reflect her passion for the subject matter. Her co-authors are pleased that her name is still on the cover.

David F. Prindle

David Prindle is a Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Hermosa Beach, California, he earned a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1970, an M.A. from UCLA in 1972 and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. He joined UT's Government Department in 1976 and has since won five teaching awards. Dr. Prindle is the author of PETROLEUM POLITICS AND THE TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION (University of Texas Press, 1981), THE POLITICS OF GLAMOUR: IDEOLOGY AND DEMOCRACY IN THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD (University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), RISKY BUSINESS: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF HOLLYWOOD (Westview Press, 1993), THE PARADOX OF DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM: POLITICS AND ECONOMICS IN AMERICAN THOUGHT (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), STEPHEN JAY GOULD AND THE POLITICS OF EVOLUTION (Prometheus Books, 2009) and THE POLITICS OF EVOLUTION (Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2015). His hobbies include fly-fishing, reading detective novels and getting lost in beautiful places.

James Riddlesperger

James W. Riddlesperger Jr. is Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. A native of Denton, Texas, he has taught as TCU since 1982. His interest is in American politics, with an emphasis in Texas politics, Congress and the presidency. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar and the Honor’s Professor of the Year award at TCU. Dr. Riddlesperger's publications include THE AUSTIN-BOSTON CONNECTION: FIVE DECADES OF HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP, 1937-1989 (Texas A&M University Press, 2009) and LONE STAR LEADERS (TCU Press, 2011). He also co-edited THE WRIGHT STUFF (TCU Press, 2013), a collection of the writings of former House Speaker Jim Wright, and REFLECTIONS ON RAYBURN (TCU Press, 2017). A former president of the Southwestern Political Science Association and chief reader for the U.S. Government Advanced Placement exam (2011-2015), Dr. Riddlesperger enjoys reading, baseball and walking. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

Table of Contents

1. The Context of Texas Politics.
2. The Constitutional Setting.
3. Interest Groups.
4. Political Parties.
5. Voting, Campaigns, and Elections.
6. The Legislature.
7. The Governor.
8. The Administrative State.
9. The Judiciary.
10. The Substance of Justice.
11. Local Government.
12. The State Economy and the Financing of State Government.
13. Public Policy: People.
14. Public Policy: Resources.

New to this edition

  • Up-to-date content throughout the book reflects the Texas legislative session that ended in June 2014.
  • The new edition reflects a stronger emphasis on the contrast between democratic ideals and political reality to help students navigate the competing perspectives on various topics related to Texas politics. The authors help students understand how they are affected by the political processes common in the state and by the policy outcomes that are a result of the Texas political culture, the state's diversity, the attitude toward the national government, and the boom and bust economy.
  • Chapter 2, “The Constitutional Setting,” includes more extensive coverage of federalism and Texas's role in the federal system.
  • A new “Texas Politics and You” feature in each chapter asks students to become directly involved in a controversial issue, often through social media, prompting them to react to specific postings, articles from Texas college newspapers, and political cartoons. For example, in Chapter 2 students are asked to share their views on a news article about the right to carry concealed handguns on campus. In Chapter 4, students are presented with a Ben Sargent cartoon portraying government as dysfunctional and asked to respond to the cartoon and comments from other students that are included.
  • Learning objectives are more integrated throughout the book. They drive each chapter's organization by being tied to each major section, to each paragraph of the chapter summary, and to each multiple-choice review question.
  • Key terms with definitions now appear in the text's margins.
  • A new review section at the end of each chapter contains multiple choice and critical thinking questions written by the authors.
  • The book is now seamlessly integrated with MindTap, included 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.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Web Site  (ISBN-10: 1285872541 | ISBN-13: 9781285872544)

This Instructor Companion Website is an all-in-one multimedia online resource for class preparation, presentation, and testing. Accessible through with your faculty account, it includes several resources for download: a Test Bank compatible with multiple learning management systems, an Instructor's Manual, and book-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations. The Test Bank, offered in Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Canvas, and Angel formats, includes multiple-choice, critical thinking short-answer, and essay questions for each chapter, all tied to the learning objectives. Import the test bank into your LMS to edit and manage questions, and to create tests. The Instructor's Manual contains chapter-specific learning objectives, an outline, key terms with definitions, and a chapter summary. It also features a critical thinking question, lecture launching suggestion, and an in-class activity for each learning objective. The Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentations are ready-to-use, visual outlines of each chapter that are easily customized for your lectures. They are accompanied by chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® Image Slides and JPEG Image Libraries. Access the Instructor Companion Website at

Cengage Testing, powered by Cognero® Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305081285 | ISBN-13: 9781305081284)

Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to author, edit, and manage test bank content from the text and multiple Cengage Learning solutions; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom, or wherever you want. The test bank for TEXAS POLITICS, 13th Edition, contains multiple-choice, critical thinking short-answer, and essay questions for each chapter, all tied to the learning objectives.

MindTap Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Newell/Prindle/Riddlesperger's Texas Politics 2015-2016  (ISBN-10: 1285872754 | ISBN-13: 9781285872759)

MindTap for Newell et al's TEXAS POLITICS: IDEAL AND REALITY, 2015–2016 Edition, 13th Edition is a fully online, personalized learning experience built upon Cengage Learning content and correlated to a core set of learning outcomes. MindTap combines student learning tools-readings, multimedia, activities, and assessments-into a singular Learning Path that guides students through their course. Through a variety of gradable activities, MindTap provides students with opportunities to check themselves and determine where they need extra help, and allows faculty to measure and assess student progress. Exercises include video introductions from Texas government students, paired with critical thinking questions to launch each lesson; a brief tutorial and mini-assessment for each chapter area; video activities; simulations; and chapter quizzes. Integration with programs like YouTube, Evernote, RSS feeds, and Google Drive allows you to add and remove content of your choosing with ease to keep your course current. The product can be used fully online with its interactive eBook for TEXAS POLITICS: IDEAL AND REALITY, 2015–2016 Edition, 13th Edition, or in conjunction with the printed text.

Student Supplements

MindTap Political Science, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Newell/Prindle/Riddlesperger's Texas Politics 2015-2016  (ISBN-10: 1285872754 | ISBN-13: 9781285872759)

MindTap Political Science for Newell/Prindle/Riddlesperger's Texas Politics 2014–2015, 13th Edition provides you with the tools you need to better manage your limited time -- you can complete assignments whenever and wherever you are ready to learn with course material specially customized for you by your instructor and streamlined in one proven, easy-to-use interface. With an array of tools and apps -- from note taking to flashcards -- you'll get a true understanding of course concepts, helping you to achieve better grades and setting the groundwork for your future courses. Access to this product is valid for 6 months of usage.