The Basics of  American Politics  book cover
17th Edition

The Basics of American Politics

  • Available for pre-order on January 4, 2023. Item will ship after January 25, 2023
ISBN 9781032359151
January 25, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
350 Pages 58 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Lively and straightforward, approach, The Basics of American Politics offers a concise and accessible introduction to the nuts and bolts of the American system of government. Throughout this brief, student-friendly text, authors Gary Wasserman and Elliott Fullmer employ a dynamic game metaphor to engage students in the basics of American government and the contact sport of politics. For introductory students of American government, this affordable text is especially ideal for advanced placement courses, community colleges, and international programs in American Studies.

New to the 17th Edition

• Covers the personalities and actions of the new Biden administration, as well as wrapping up President Trump’s tumultuous final year in office (two impeachments, COVID, the Capitol riot).

•    Updated to reflect the results of the 2022 midterm elections, and the impact of reapportionment and gerrymandering (based on the 2020 Census).

• Presents recent developments on the Supreme Court including appointment of two new justices and major decisions including those on abortion, voting rights, and LGBT rights.

• Reflects changes in voting behavior in the 2020 and 2022 elections, as well as fights over voter suppression.

• Explores the ongoing crisis of misinformation and disinformation.

• Expands the discussion of tribal politics and threats to democracy.

• Discusses student activism.

Table of Contents

1. What Is Politics? 2. The Constitution: Rules of the Game 3. The Executive Branch: The Presidency and Bureaucracy 4. The Legislative Branch: Congress 5. The Judicial Branch: The Supreme Court and the Federal Court System 6. Civil Rights and Liberties: Protecting the Players 7. Voters and Political Parties 8. Interest Groups and the Media 9. Who Wins? Who Loses? Pluralism vs. Elitism vs. Tribalism

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Gary Wasserman has shaped a career in teaching, public service, political consulting, and writing. He recently wrote The Doha Experiment about his eight years as a Professor of Government at Georgetown University in Qatar. He now lives in Portland, Oregon.

Elliott Fullmer is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. He is the author of two recent books, Tuesday’s Gone: America’s Early Voting Revolution and Everyone’s Democracy. His research on elections and voting behavior has also appeared in Presidential Studies Quarterly, American Politics Research, Election Law Journal, and other outlets.


Praise for The Basics of American Politics, 17th edition

Wasserman and Fullmer have updated a classic American politics introductory textbook and made it as relevant as today's headlines. It introduces key concepts, and just as importantly, it asks students to use these concepts to consider the important issues involved in promoting and defending constitutional democratic governance. Its writing is crisp, its pedagogy helpful, and its coverage authoritative. For almost half a century this book has set the standard for accessible introductory texts, and this edition raises the bar.

Richard M. Pious, Barnard College and Columbia University

This brief and affordable text not only gives students the essential information they need to understand American politics, but also makes politics come alive with case studies on marijuana and federalism, race and the courts, and gun control and Congress. 

Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University