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Chapter 7: Interest Groups and Political Parties


Groups lobby. Lobbying-attempting to influence legislation through communication with ... Lobbying. Lobbyists are a source of information for the legislature. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter 7: Interest Groups and Political Parties

Chapter 7 Interest Groups and Political Parties
  • American Government
  • POLS 1101
  • Instructor Mr. Mancill

Interest Groups in American Politics
  • Interest group- an association of people who hold
    common views and who work together to influence
    what government does.
  • Americans join groups to solve problems.

Interest Groups in American Politics
  • In Federalist Number 10, James Madison offers his
    take on factions.
  • Factions- groups of people motivated by a common
  • Competition among many groups representing many
    interests is good.
  • If there are many groups representing many
    interests, then no one group can take over.

Interest Groups in American Politics
  • Pluralist democracy- American society is made up
    of different groups, each looking to secure its
    member's interest.
  • Melting pot- characterization of America as the
    coming together of a wide variety of racial,
    ethnic, and religious groups.

What Interest Groups Do
  • Interest groups engage in a broad range of
    activities to protect and advance the well-being
    of their members.
  • Groups try to create public support for their
    political goals
  • Groups finance political campaigns through PAC's
  • Groups lobby
  • Lobbying-attempting to influence legislation
    through communication with legislators.

What Interest Groups Do
  • Lobbying
  • Lobbyists are a source of information for the
    legislature. Lobbyists provide published
    materials, and testify before congress.
  • Lobbyists are sometimes involved in the writing
    of legislation.
  • Lobbyists act when they perceive a threat to
    their cause.

What Interest Groups Do
  • Iron Triangle-the combination of interest groups,
    Congress, and the bureacracy who determine the
    outcome of political decisions.

Types of Interest Groups
  • Economic
  • Social
  • Religious
  • Ideological
  • Single-Issue
  • Public Interest

Types of Interest Groups
  • Economic
  • Economic groups are among the most powerful of
    all interest groups.
  • Economic groups sometimes join together to better
    enhance their strength.
  • Examples include
  • National Association of Manufacturers
  • Amreican Farm Bureau
  • American Bar Association

Types of Interest Groups
  • 2. Social
  • Membership is determined by birth, not choice.
  • Womens movement, Civil Rights Movement
  • Examples
  • National Organization for Women (NOW)
  • National Association for the Advancement of
    Colored People (NAACP)

Types of Interest Groups
  • 3. Religious
  • Separation of church and state and religious
  • Members often belong to the Christian Right, a
    conservative group that gets involved in the
    political process.
  • Christian Coalition-Pat Robertson

Types of Interest Groups
  • 4. Ideological
  • Pursue a broad political agenda.
  • Seek to transform society within an ideological
  • Examples
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Americans for Democratic Action (ADA)
  • MoveOn

Types of Interest Groups
  • 5. Single-Issue
  • Pursue a narrow political agenda
  • Focus on one policy or problem
  • Sometimes refuse to compromise
  • Examples
  • National Rifle Association (NRA)
  • National Right to Life Committee (NRLC)

Types of Interest Groups
  • 6. Public Interest
  • Represent the public as a whole (collective
  • Focus on product safety and effective government
    regulation of industry.
  • Corporate greed, governmental accountability,
    ethics in government.
  • Examples
  • Common Cause

Foundation of Democracy
  • Classic democratic theory states that we must be
    interested in politics, and be active in the
    political process
  • Many people are uninterested or inactive in
    politics. However, interest groups make sure that
    everyone's interest in represented without being
    politically active.

Political Parties
  • Political party- an organization that seeks to
    influence public policy by putting its own
    members into positions of governmental authority.
  • What is the distinction between an interest group
    and a political party?
  • Interest groups want to influence, while
    political parties want to control government

What Political Parties Do
  • 1. Socialization functions
  • People tend to identify with a political party,
    parties help to structure people's perceptions of
  • Parties educate citizens about politics
  • Parties tell voters what is going on, and how it
    affects them.

Types of Political Parties
  • Major Party-A political party that has wide
  • Democractic Party
  • Republican Party
  • Third (minor) Party- A political party other than
    the two major parties.
  • Green Party
  • Reform Party
  • Libertarian Party

What Political Parties Do
  • 2. Electoral functions
  • Must have a position on many issues that will
    attract many voters.
  • Voters usually find one candidate that reflects
    their views, leads to a less number of candidates
    on the ballot.
  • Setting up procedures for determining who will
    represent a party.

What Political Parties Do
  • 3. Governmental functions
  • Parties organize government
  • Parties help make government responsible to the
  • We reward a party for doing a good job, and
    punish the party for doing a bad job.

A Two-Party System
  • Two-party system- a system in which only two
    parties have a chance of winning office.
  • Why the two party system?
  • Electoral vs. Historical

  • Plurality election system-candidate wins by just
    getting the most votes, even if is less than a
  • Proportional representation- offices are awarded
    in proportion to the percentage of votes a party
  • Encourages the growth of more than two parties
    because a party that places third or fourth can
    still win seats.

  • Other than the electoral system having an impact,
    other factors contribute to our two-party system.
  • Centrist distribution of opinions
  • Absence of intense ethnic and religious divisions
    that lead to fragmentation in society
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