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Inside Texas Politics

Power, Policy, and Personality in the Lone Star State

Fourth Edition

Brandon Rottinghaus

Publication Date - 19 January 2023

ISBN: 9780197672419

560 pages
8 x 10 inches

In Stock


Accessible and memorable for today's students, Inside Texas Politics presents Texas government through an "insider's perspective" using engaging stories, contemporary news events, and current scholarship to help students understand and analyze politics in the great state of Texas.

New to this Edition

  • New and updated examples and analysis of important events, including expanded discussion about abortion opinions
  • Updated exploration of federalism dynamics on nuclear waste and cannabis policy issues
  • New discussion of Texas voting laws, including the pros and cons of drive-thru voting
  • New discussion of the gambling and trucking industry, and interest group success
  • Summary of key legislative updates in the 87th regular (and multiple special) session
  • Updated evidence on the impact of the policy process leading to changes in the management of the state's energy grid
  • Enhanced evaluation and update of Texas border polices and their relationship to broader US immigration policy
  • Modernized evaluation of prison policies and conditions
  • Compelling digital course materials: An Enhanced e-Book integrates videos, assignments, and assessments, available through most learning management systems, which support your student's success in class

About the Author(s)

Brandon Rottinghaus is Professor and Pauline Yelderman Chair of the department of Political Science at the University of Houston. He is co-host of the Party Politics Podcast on Houston Public Media (KUHF), and the creator of Monday Morning Politics on Fox 26 Houston (KIRV).

Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    About the Authors

    Chapter 1: Cultural, Demographic and Political Trends
    1.1 The Origins of Texas
    Native Americans
    Spanish Settlers
    Angles of Power: The Benefits and Challenges of Diversity
    African Americans
    1.2 Continuity and Change in the Texas Economy
    Food and Fiber
    King Cattle (And Other Four-Legged Friends)
    Military and Defense Industries
    High Tech
    Health Care
    Recreation and Retirements
    Assessing the Texas Economy
    Great Texas Political Debates: Access on State Documents
    1.3 Continuity and Change in the Texas Demographics
    State Population Growth
    Is it Bigger in Texas: States with the Largest Population Increases
    Challenges of Population Growth
    Racial and Ethnic Trends in Texas
    Challenges of Shifting Racial and Ethnic Trends
    An Aging State
    Challenges of an Aging Texas
    1.4 Continuity and Change in Texas Political Culture
    Insider Interview: Joe Holley, Houston Chronicle Writer
    Individualistic Political Culture
    Traditionalistic Political Culture
    Culture Conflicts

    Chapter 2: The Texas Constitution
    2.1 Constitutional Government
    2.2 The Roots of Rebellion and the Declaration of Independence
    2.3 The 1836 Constitution of the Republic
    2.4 The 1845 Constitution of the (New) State of Texas
    2.5 Succession, Reconstruction, and the Constitutions of 1861, 1866 and 1869
    The 1861 Constitution --"The Confederacy Constitution"
    The 1866 Constitution --"The Readmission Constitution"
    The 1869 Constitution --"The Reconstruction Constitution"
    2.6 The Constitution of 1876--The Current Constitution
    The Crafting of the 1876 Constitution
    Principles of the Texas Constitution
    Insider Interview: Former Chief Justice Tom Philips
    Great Texas Political Debates: Confederate Flag License Plates and the Battle over Free Speech
    2.7 Amending the Constitution
    Constitutional Amendments
    Recent Major Reform Attempts
    Is it Bigger in Texas: Number of Words in State Constitutions
    Angles of Power: Debates About Amending the Constitution

    Chapter 3: Federalism
    3.1 Organizing the Constitutional System
    The Supremacy Clause
    Enumerated and Implied Powers
    Reserved Powers
    Concurrent Powers
    Full Faith and Credit
    3.2 Advantages of Federalism
    A Stronger Central Government
    Angles of Power: Texas, the Military, and Jade Helm
    Policy Innovation
    Trust in Levels of Government
    3.3 Texas and Federal Funding
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Federal Aid as a Percentage of General Revenue
    3.4 Styles of Federalism
    Dual Federalism
    Cooperative Federalism
    New Federalism
    Coercive Federalism
    Insider Interview: Michael C. Massengale, Appeals Court Judge
    3.5 Texas and Conflicts Over Federalism
    Texas Versus Washington
    Tidelands Controversy
    Red River Border Dispute
    Great Texas Political Debates: Sanctuary Cities
    Voter Identification at Election Places
    Common Core Education Standards

    Chapter 4: Voting and Elections
    4.1 Voting in Texas
    Types of Elections
    Early Voting
    Mobile Voting
    Election Day
    4.2 Suffrage Struggles and Their Consequences
    Literacy Tests
    Poll Tax
    White Primary
    Angles of Power: Political Machines
    Insider Interview: Victor Morales, U.S. Senatorial Candidate in 1996, US House Candidate in 1998
    African Americans
    Asian Americans
    4.3 Voter Turnout in Texas
    Why Texans Don't Vote
    Social Pressure and Political Socialization
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Voter Turnout By State, 2016
    How Can Voter Turnout be Increased?
    Voter ID
    4.4 How to Campaign, Texas Style
    Building Campaign Infrastructure
    Image, Limelight, and the Media
    Negative Campaigning
    Courting the Base
    Surfing National Trends
    Funding Elections
    4.5 Who Wins and Why
    Money and Election Outcomes
    Parties and Straight Ticket Voting
    Incumbents and Voter Turnout
    Great Texas Political Debates: "No Excuse" Mail Voting
    The Electoral System
    Will Texas Turn Blue?

    Chapter 5: Political Parties: Texas in Blue and Red
    5.1 The Functions of Parties
    Simplifying Electoral Choices
    Recruiting Candidates
    Mobilizing Voters
    Articulating Interests
    Organizing Government
    5.2 Party Organization
    Precinct Chairs
    County Party Chairs
    State Party Chair
    Party Executive Committees
    Party Conventions
    State Party Platforms
    5.3 Rise and Fall of Political Parties in Texas
    Democratic Reign in the Postbellum Era
    The Decline of the Democrats
    The Rise of the Republicans
    Tea Party
    Fissures in the Republican Party
    Lessons from Texas Party Politics
    Insider Interview: Jared Woodfill, Harris County Republican Party Chair
    5.4 Party Competition
    Is it Bigger in Texas? Party Competition: 1972-2015
    Legislative Redistricting
    The 2001 and 2003 Redistricting Battles: The Drama Begins
    Angles of Power: The 2003 Redistricting Battle and the Killer Ds
    Party Switching
    Great Texas Political Debates: Switching Parties
    5.5 Third Parties and Independents
    La Raza Unida Party
    Libertarian Party of Texas
    Green Party of Texas

    Chapter 6: Interest Groups
    6.1 Interest Groups in the Political Process
    Pluralist Theory
    Elite Theory
    Transactional Theory
    Which Theory Fits Texas?
    6.2 Why Join Interest Groups?
    The Free Rider Problem
    Selective Benefits
    6.3 Types of Interest Groups
    Business Groups
    Trade Associations and Professional Organizations
    Labor Unions
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Rates of Union Membership
    Identity Groups
    Public Interest Groups
    Single-Issue Groups
    Government Interests
    6.4 What Interest Groups Do
    Citizen Campaigns
    Lobbying the Courts, the Legislature, and the Executive Branch
    6.5 Lobbying: The Third House
    The Role of Lobbyists
    What Lobbyists Do
    Insider Interview: Andrea McWilliams, Co-Founder of McWilliams Government Affairs Consultants
    Iron Triangles in Texas
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Number of Years Elected Officials Must Wait Before Becoming Lobbyists
    6.6 Scandals and Reforms
    Sharpstown Scandal
    The 1991 Reforms
    Current Ethics Legislation
    6.7 Oversight of Interest Groups
    Texas Ethics Commission
    Great Texas Political Debates: Donations and Legal Defense Funds

    Chapter 7: The Legislature
    7.1 The Functions of the Legislature and Legislators
    Texas House vs. Senate
    Winning Reelection
    7.2 The Texas Legislature in Context
    The Legislative Session
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Length of Legislative Session
    Legislative Staff
    Legislative Boards and Councils
    Great Texas Political Debates: Should Texas Have Annual Legislative Sessions?
    Incumbency and Turnover
    Consequences of the Texas Legislative Structure
    7.3 How the Legislature is Organized
    The Committee System
    Speaker of the House
    Angles of Power: Choosing a Speaker
    The Lieutenant Governor
    7.4 The Legislative Process
    In Committee
    On the Floor
    House and Senate Agreement
    In Conference Committee
    The Real Enemy: The Calendar
    Rules Rule the Chambers
    7.5 Working Together
    Slowing It Down
    Speeding It Up
    Increasing Partisanship
    7.6 Demographic Representation
    Women Legislators
    African Americans
    Insider Interview: Senfronia Thompson, State Representative, Houston, Texas
    Religion and Other Factors

    Chapter 8: Governors of Texas
    8.1 Rules of the Office
    Informal Qualifications
    Removal from Office
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Governor Staff Size
    Salary and Staff
    8.2 Formal Powers of Texas Governors
    Execution of Laws
    Appointment Powers
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Unilateral Executive Orders by Governor in Select States
    Legislative Powers
    Military Powers
    Judicial Powers: Pardon and Clemency
    8.3 Informal Powers of Texas Governors
    Legislative Bargaining
    Insider Interview: Former Democratic Governor Mark White
    Agenda Setting
    Great Texas Political Debates: Budget Powers of the Governor
    8.4 Weak and Strong Governor
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Governor Power by State
    Sheer Length of Term
    Angles of Power: A "Power Grab" or Efficient Executive?
    Party Power
    Criticisms and Reforms

    Chapter 9: The Plural Executive and the Bureaucracy
    9.1 Bureaucracy in Texas
    The Size of the Texas Bureaucracy
    Is It Bigger in Texas? State Employees per 10,000 Residents, 2015
    What the Texas Bureaucracy Does
    The Structure of the Texas Bureaucracy
    9.2 Independently Elected Officers
    Lieutenant Governor
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Lieutenant Governor Power Index
    Angles of Power: The Power of the Lieutenant Governor Beyond Politics
    Insider Interview: David Dewhurst, Former Democratic Lieutenant Governor of Texas
    Attorney General
    Comptroller of Public Accounts
    Commissioner of the General Land Office
    Agriculture Commissioner
    Plural Executive Feuds
    9.3 Governor-Appointed, Single-Head Agencies
    Secretary of State
    Commissioner for Health and Human Services
    Department of Insurance
    9.4 Governor-Appointed, Multimember Agencies
    Public Utility Commission
    Department of Transportation
    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
    Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    9.5 Multimember Elected Commissions and Hybrid Agencies
    Texas Railroad Commission
    Texas Ethics Commission
    State Board of Education
    9.6 Controlling the Bureaucracy
    Selection of the Bureaucracy
    Sluggish Policymaking
    Oversight and Change
    Great Texas Political Debates: Sunset Sunset?

    Chapter 10: The Texas Judiciary
    10.1 The Role of the Courts
    Dispensing Justice
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Total Trial Courts
    Interpreting the Law
    10.2 Trial Courts
    Local Courts
    County Trial Courts
    State District Courts
    10.3 Appellate Courts
    Intermediate Appellate Courts
    Appellate Courts of Last Resort
    10.4 Quality of Justice in Texas
    Angles of Power: Two Supreme Courts?
    Caseloads: Overworked Judges?
    Length of Court Cases
    Salary: Underpaid Judges?
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Salaries of Judges in the Five Most Populous States
    Turnover of Judges
    Access to Justice
    10.5 Judicial Selection and Removal
    Judicial Selection in Texas
    Insider Interview: Former Justice Reveca Aizpuru Huddle, First Court of Appeals
    Censure and Removal from Office
    Judicial Qualifications
    Problems with Partisan Elections
    10.6 Who Are the Justices?
    African Americans
    10.7 Reforming the System
    Non-Partisan Elections
    Merit Selection
    Public Financing of Elections
    Limiting Fundraising Totals
    Great Texas Political Debates: The "Geezer Amendment" and Age Limits

    Chapter 11: Criminal Justice
    11.1 Texan Justice
    Rights of the Accused
    Victim Rights
    11.2 Types of Crimes
    Drug Crimes
    Juvenile Crime
    11.3 Criminal Justice Process in Texas
    Angles of Power: Race and Finances in the Texas Prison System
    Is It Bigger in Texas: State and Federal Prisoners under Jurisdiction of Correctional Authorities
    Great Texas Political Debates: Prison Conditions in Texas
    Death Penalty
    11.4 Life After Prison
    Restricted Licensing, Employment, and Access to Programs
    Voting Rights
    Is It Bigger in Texas: Restrictions on Voting Post Felony by State
    11.5 Reforms
    Alternatives to Incarceration
    Bail Reforms
    Addressing Prison Suicides
    Grand Jury Reform
    Death Penalty Reform
    Insider Interview: Former Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cathy Cochran

    Chapter 12: Local Government
    12.1 The Powers and Functions of Local Government
    Dillon's Rule
    Great Texas Political Debates: Paid Sick Leave
    Local Regulation
    12.2 County Government
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Number of Local Governments
    County Judge and Commissioner's Court
    County Sheriff
    County Prosecutors
    County Administrators
    County Finance Officials
    12.3 City Governments
    General Law Cities
    Home Rule Cities
    Insider Interview: Local Activist Barry Klein, Texas Property Rights Association
    12.4 Types of City Government
    Mayor-Council System
    Commission Government
    Council-Manager System
    12.5 Special Districts
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Special Purpose Districts Nationwide
    School Districts
    Special Improvement Districts
    Junior/Community College Districts
    Library Districts
    Municipal Utility Districts
    Hospital Districts
    Homeowners' Associations
    12.6 Elections
    County Elections
    City Elections
    Minority Representation in Municipal Governments
    Low Turnout in Municipal Elections
    Voting and Corruption
    12.7 Issues in Local Government
    Local Governments Short on Cash
    Angles of Power: The Stadiums That Ate Texas
    Rising Debt
    Cooperation Across Governments
    To Zone or Not to Zone

    Chapter 13: Budget, Finances, and Policy
    13.1 Taxes and Other Revenue Sources
    Sales Tax
    Is It Bigger in Texas: State and Local Sales Taxes, 2019
    Property Tax
    Insider Interview: Dale Craymer, President of the Texas Taxpayers & Research Association
    Angles of Power: Putting a Lid on Property Taxes
    Franchise (Business) Taxes
    Oil and Natural Gas Taxes
    Car Taxes: Motor Fuel Tax ("Gas" Tax) and Motor Vehicle Taxes
    Sin Taxes
    13.2 Alternative Sources of Funds
    Fees and Fines
    Great Texas Political Debates: A "Poor Tax"?
    The "Rainy Day" And Other Funds
    Why No Income Tax?
    Debates Over Taxes
    13.3 The Budget
    Budget Cycle
    Budget Limitations
    Budget Players and Process
    Budget Tricks

    Chapter 14: Public Policy In Texas
    14.1 Public Policy Priorities and Process
    14.2 Health Care and Welfare
    Insider Interview: Eva DeLuna Castro, State Budget Analyst, Center for Public Policy Priorities
    Children's Health Insurance Program
    The Affordable Care Act
    Social Security
    Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
    Great Texas Political Debates: Drug Testing for Benefits
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Maximum TANF Benefit As A Percentage Of The Poverty Line
    Unemployment Benefits
    Workers' Compensation
    14.3 Immigration and Border Security
    Economic Impact
    Public Opinion and State Laws
    Deportations and Border Security
    14.4 Education
    Sources of K-12 Funding
    School Finance
    Teacher, Student, and School Performance
    Angles of Power: Standardized Tests and Education Accountability
    Diversity in Public Education
    Special Education
    14.5 Higher Education
    Community Colleges
    Affirmative Action
    14.6 Transportation
    Is It Bigger in Texas? Unmet Demand for Transportation (Percentage of Population)
    14.7 Energy and the Environment
    Water and Air Pollution
    Energy Sources