91. While political parties fight their battles in the electoral process, interest groups do not seek to get their members electedInterest groups may support candidates for office, but American interest groups do not run their own slate of candidates2. Interest groups are often policy specialists, whereas political parties are policy generalists3. Unlike political parties, interest groups do not face the constraint imposed by trying to appeal to everyone
11LOBBYING“communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his own behalf, directed to a governmental decisionmaker with the hope of influencing behavior”
12a. they are an important source of information providing specialized expertise in a single policy areab. they can help a member with political strategy for getting legislation through (they act as consultants)c. they can help formulate campaign strategy and get the group’s members behind a politician’s re-election campaignd. they are a source of ideas and innovations
13Theories of Interest Group Politics “Do interest groups and lobbying create problems for government?”Three theories to answer this question:PluralismElitismHyperpluralism
141. Pluralist Theorya theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policiesa. argues that interest group activity brings representation to allb. groups compete and counterbalance one another in the political marketplaceTherefore: lobbying is open to all and is positive.
152. Elite Theorya theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organizationA few groups (primarily the wealthy) have most of the powerMost interest groups are insignificantTherefore: lobbying is a problem because it benefits the few at the expense of the many.
163. Hyperpluralist Theory a theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakeneda. hyperpluralism is an extreme, exaggerated, or perverted form of pluralismb. too many groups are getting too much of what they want, resulting in government policy that is often contradictory and lacking in directionTherefore: lobbying results in contradictory and confusing public policies.
17Iron TrianglesA network of subgovernments, a mutually dependent, mutually advantageous relationship between interest groups interested in a particular policy, government agencies that administer that policy, and the congressional committees that handle it.Hyperpluralists believe these relationships are ‘too cozy’ and lead to hard choices rarely being made … leading to contradiction and/or policy gridlock.
19What makes interest groups successful? SizeIntensityFinancial resources
20Smaller groups are more likely to achieve their goals than large groups. But, Why?
21All people who might be members due to a shared interest Potential GroupsAll people who might be members due to a shared interest
22Those in the potential group who choose to join Actual GroupThose in the potential group who choose to join
23The greater the percentage of the potential group in the actual group = greater effectiveness of the groupTherefore, smaller groups usually have an advantage in this regard.
24Collective GoodSomething of value that cannot be denied or withheld from either potential or actual group membersSuch as clean airIn other words: Potential members benefit from positives that the actual group works to secure.
25Therefore, the problem presents itself … “Why should I, a potential member, become an actual member … if I’ll benefit anyways?”
27The Free Rider ProblemThe problem of not joining the actual group because benefits will be realized without joining.“Why should I work for a group, pay dues, give time and energy, etc. when I get the advantages without doing anything?”
28How to Overcome this Problem … Providing attractive benefits only for actual members.These are called Selective Benefits.Goods that a group can restrict to those who are in the actual group
29Also … “Issue Intensity” Single-Issue Group: a narrow interest, dislikes compromise, and single-mindedly pursues its goal
30Financial ResourcesMajor criticism of the interest group system is that it is biased toward the wealthyTop Groups, according to ‘power’:NRAAARPNational Federation of Independent BusinessAmerican Israel Public Affairs CommitteeAFL-CIO
31How Interest Groups Shape Policy LobbyingLitigationGoing PublicElectioneeringPACs
32Types of Interest Groups Economic InterestsLabor, BusinessEnvironmental InterestsWWF, Nature ConservancyEquality InterestsNOW, NAACPConsumer/Public Interest Lobbies