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Underscoring the essentials, Van Vechten's concise text delivers on the concepts and details students need to understand how California's political system works. The thoroughly revised second edition retains all the strengths of the first edition, with updates that include: all charts, graphs, and tables reflecting major data releases such as the U.S. Census, election results, state reports, and public opinion polls; a look at direct democracy in counties and municipalities through local initiatives; an expanded view of political constraints on the annual budgeting process; coverage of significant alterations to the primary system and redistricting process; the replacement of Arnold Schwarzenegger with new governor Jerry Brown; and a new chapter on political engagement, examining where Californians get their political information and how they use it to influence state politics.