2 The Role and Reputation of Interest Groups A collection of people or organizations that tries to influence public policy.-Political Parties run candidates for office.Interest groups are policy specialists (specialize in an specific area); political parties policy generalists.
3 Types of Interest Groups 1. Public Interest Groups- seeks a collective good that will not selectively and materially benefit group members.Ex. Civil liberties, church groups, environmental groups, peace groups…etcMoveon.org2. Economic Interest groups- promote economic interest of its members.- 3 categories: Business groups, labor unions, farmers.3. Government Units: state and local government are becoming strong organized interest groups …why? b/c they lobby the federal government to pass state laws or charitable foundations for money to create local and state programs.4. Political Action Committees (PACs)- officially registered fund-raising organizations that represents interest groups in the political process.
5 What do interest groups do? 1. LOBBYING : Congress, White House and Court, grassroots, protest/activism2. ELECTION ACTIVITIES: endorsement, GOTV, rating candidates, camping contributions.______________________________________________________________Court: 2 ways to lobbying CourtDirect sponsorship: provides resources such as human/resources to guide the case through the judicial system.Amicus Curiae “friend of the court”: most important cases are supported by interest groups. Ex. Brown v. Board of Education (civil liberties)- Grassroots lobbying: Approach that separates itself from direct lobbying through the act of asking the general public to contact legislator/ government officials concerning an specific issue.
6 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Pluralism Definition:Politics is mainly competition among groups, each pressing for its own preferred policies.Many centers of power and many diverse, competing groups.No group wins or loses all the time.Interest groups are a linkage institution between people and government.
7 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Pluralism Groups competeNo group becomes too dominantGroups play by rulesGroups weak in one resource can rely on another resource.Lobbying is open to all, not just those groups with the most resources.
8 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Elitism Definition:Societies are divided along class lines and the upper-class elite will rule.Power is not equally divided among groups, some have much more.Largest corporations and unions hold the most power.
9 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Elitism Power is strengthened by the system of interlocking directorates of corporations and other institutions.Corporate elites are willing to lose minor policy battles, but work to win on major policy issues .Lobbying is a problem because it benefits few at the expense of many.
10 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Disturbance Theory David B. Truman argued that groups form as a result of changes in the political system.
11 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Transaction Theory Criticism of pluralist.Argues that public policies are the result of narrowly define exchanges among political actors (politicians)Collective goods (something that everyone should have such as clean environment not only members) this becomes “free-rider”
12 Theories of Interest Group Politics- Population-Ecology Theory Formation of political organizations is based on resources/ population for the area.
13 What Makes an Interest Group Successful? Small groups are better organized and more focused on group’s goals.Consumer groups have a difficult time getting significant policy gains because benefits are spread over entire population.Groups that can provide selective benefits sometimes overcome the problem.
14 What Makes an Interest Group Successful? IntensitySingle-Issue groups: Groups that focus on a narrow interest and dislike compromise.Groups may focus on an emotional issue, providing them with a psychological advantage.May be more likely to use protests and other means of political participation than traditional interest groups that use lobbyists.
15 What Makes an Interest Group Successful? MONEYNot all groups have equal amounts of money.Monetary donations usually translate into access to politicians, like phone calls and meetings.Wealthier groups don’t always win in the policy arena.
16 What Makes an Interest Group Successful? The Surprising Ineffectiveness of Large GroupsFree-Rider problem: Some people don’t join interest groups because they benefit from group’s activities without officially joining.The bigger the group, larger the free-rider problem.Large groups are difficult to keep organized.
17 What Makes an Interest Group Successful? 1. American Association of Retired Persons2. National Rifle Association3. National Federation of Independent Business4. American Israel Public Affairs Committee5. AFL-CIO6. Association of Trial Lawyers7. Chamber of Commerce8. National Right to Life Committee9. National Education Association10. National Restaurant Association
19 How Groups Try to Shape Policy ElectioneeringDirect group involvement in election process.Political Action Committee (PAC): Used by corporations and unions to donate money directly to candidates.527s and 501(C)(3)s are used to generate independent expenditures.Groups may give to both sides.Groups can help with campaigns.
20 Iron Triangles and Issue Networks Iron triangles are formed in specific policy areas among congressional committees, agencies, and interest groups.Issue network may be replacing iron triangles.Issue networks are groups that are connected through a policy issue.
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