This brief, nuts-and-bolts introduction to American government has been a student favorite and a bestseller for over 30 years because of its lively, straight-forward approach to the basics, its brevity, and its always inexpensive price. This text uses a dynamic game metaphor to engage students in the basics of the American political system and the contact sport of politics. Beginning with a clear definition of politics, it introduces four governmental and four nongovernmental "players" who must abide by the "rules of the game" established by the Constitution and civil liberties. It ends by examining rival theories of who wins and who loses in American politics. Written to engage students, and kept short to provide a flexible foundation for instructors, The Basics of American Politics covers all the terms and topics a student will need to understand the nuts-and-bolts of American government and poltics.