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INTEREST GROUPS. ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS An organization of people with similar policy goals that tries to influence the political process to achieve.

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Presentation on theme: "INTEREST GROUPS. ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS An organization of people with similar policy goals that tries to influence the political process to achieve."— Presentation transcript:


2 ROLE OF INTEREST GROUPS An organization of people with similar policy goals that tries to influence the political process to achieve their goals Support candidates Policy specialists Do not have to appeal to everyone Negative Image  Madison-”factions”  Lobbyists

3 INTEREST GROUP POLITICS Pluralist theory  Interest group activity brings representation to all  Groups compete and counterbalance each other  Groups win some and lose some, but no group wins or loses all the time  Groups provide a link between people and government  No dominant group  All legitimate groups are able to affect public policy  Lobbying is open to all and should not be regarded as a problem

4 INTEREST GROUP POLITICS Elite Theory  Real power is held by relatively few people, key groups, and institutions  Groups are unequal in power  Lobbying benefits the few at the expense of the many

5 INTEREST GROUP POLITICS Hyperpluralism  Pluralist system is out of control  Interest group liberalism All groups demands are legitimate Governments job is to advance all goals  Increase government agencies  Conflicting resolutions  Multiply programs  Budget skyrockets

6 INTEREST GROUP POLITICS Hyperpluralism  Liberalism is promoted by network of sub-governments Iron Triangles  Key interest groups interested in particular policy  Government agency in charge of administering the policy  Members of congressional committees handling the policy  Leads to policy paralysis

7 WHAT MAKES A GROUP SUCCESSFUL? Size of group  Small groups have advantages over large groups  Potential group Composed of all people who might be group members because they share some common interest  Actual group Composed of those in the potential group who choose to join.

8 WHAT MAKES A GROUP SUCCESSFUL? Size of group  Collective Good Something of value that can not be withheld from a potential group member All members of the potential group share the benefits that the members of the actual group worked to secure  Free-rider problem Potential members decide not to join, but still expect the benefits  Olson’s law of large groups The bigger the group the larger the free-rider problem Easier to organize and get benefits to everyone in a smaller group Selective benefits

9 WHAT MAKES A GROUP SUCCESSFUL? Intensity  Psychological advantage  Single issue groups Narrow interest Dislikes compromise Deals with issues that provoke strong emotions Financial Resources  PACs distort the governmental process in favor of those that can raise the most money

10 HOW GROUPS SHAPE POLICY Lobbying  Political persuaders who represent organized groups  Handle legislative business  Help Congress Source of information Specialized expertise Political strategy Reelection campaigns  Effectiveness Power is exaggerated Persuasion backfires Hard to evaluate effects Directed at activating and reinforcing supporters

11 HOW GROUPS SHAPE POLICY Electioneering  Key strategy Getting the right people into office  Aid candidates financially  Encourage members to vote for them  Political Action Committees (PACs) Provides the means for groups to participate Nearly half of candidates running for Congress received money from PACs Most incumbents

12 HOW GROUPS SHAPE POLICY Litigation  Used if failed in Congress Environmental legislation  Threats of lawsuits to businesses Civil rights groups Consumer regulations  Tactics and strategies “Amicus Curiae” brief  “Friend of the court”  Written argument submitted to court in support of a case Class Action lawsuits  Group of similarly situated plaintiffs to combine grievances into single suit

13 HOW GROUPS SHAPE POLICY Going Public  Shape good image of group  Appeals to public for support

14 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Economic groups  Concerned with wages, prices, and profits  Seek to influence government in regulations, taxes, subsidies, aid, contracts, and international policy

15 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Labor groups  Second most members  Policies for better working conditions and higher wages Supports union shop Against right to work laws  Reached peak in 1956  Declined in membership over recent years Moving manufacturing jobs overseas Difficulty in gaining membership that believes they will benefit

16 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Agriculture  Massive agribusinesses (3%)  Heavily involved in exports  Commodity associations Farmers raising one specific crop

17 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Business  70% of groups represent businesses  Large firms have offices in Washington to monitor legislative activity  Unified in promoting great profits  Umbrella organizations National Associated of Manufacturers Chamber of Commerce  Seek preferential tax treatment & government subsidies and contracts

18 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Environmental interest  Older groups Sierra Club Audubon Society  First Earth Day (1970) Ecology-minded people marched to symbolize their support for environmental protection Created many new groups  Most ideas clash with other groups

19 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Equality interests  Racial & Ethnic Minorities National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)-oldest Won victories in principle, but equality in practice is slow coming Push for more effective affirmative action programs  Women National Organization for Women (NOW)-largest After the rejection of the Equal Rights Amendment, focus turned to states

20 TYPES OF INTEREST GROUPS Consumers and public interest  Seek a collective good by which everyone should be better off  “good government groups” Religious and environmental groups  Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves Children Animals Mentally ill

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