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Interest Groups

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Chapter 7 Interest Groups and Political Parties * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Democrats and Republicans Democrats = More likely to approve social-welfare ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interest Groups


1
Chapter 7
  • Interest Groups
  • and Political Parties

2
Interest Groups and Democracy
  • Why should we care about interest groups?
  • Are interest groups servants or destroyers of
    democracy?
  • Whose interests are served?
  • Who is and is not represented by an interest
    group?
  • Do interest groups have too much, too little, or
    just enough power/influence over decision-makers?

3
What is an Interest Group?
  • Organized group of individuals
  • Who share common goals or objectives
  • Attempt to influence government
    policy/policymakers in all three branches of
    government at every level (national, state,
    local)
  • Not a political party, which is a group of
    activists who organize to win elections, operate
    the government/hold office, and determine public
    policy
  • The heart of pluralist theory
  • Lobbyist an individual who attempts to
    influence policy

4
Why Do People Join Interest Groups?
  • Solidary incentives associate with others who
    share a common interest
  • Material incentives seeking economic
    benefits/opportunities
  • Purposive incentives ethical beliefs or
    ideological principles

5
Interest Groups and You
  • Can you name an interest group?
  • What are its goals?
  • Do you belong to an interest group?
  • What is its name and why did you join?

6
Types of Interest Groups
  • Economic by far the most powerful, the most
    influential
  • Environmental
  • Public Interest
  • Special Interest

7
Characteristics of Interest Groups
8
Economic Interest Groups
  • Business Business and trade organizations that
    attempt to influence government policy to their
    benefit
  • Agricultural Advocate for farm interests very
    influential
  • Labor Groups that represent working class
    interests
  • Public Employee Groups that represent
    government employees (American Federation of
    State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFSCME)
    and teachers
  • Professional Associations Groups that advocate
    for professional associations (American Bar
    Association, American Medical Association)

9
Declining Union Membership
10
So What?
  • What does declining union membership mean for the
    power of labor to defend workers rights?
  • How does this impact the power of labor relative
    to business interests?

11
Environmental Interests
  • Advocates for pro-environmental policies
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Nature Conservancy
  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Sierra Club
  • National Audubon Society

12
Public Special Interest Groups
  • Public Interest Groups advocates for
    collective, community interests (Examples
    Consumer advocacy groups Common Cause CALPIRG)
  • Single Interest Groups narrow focus (Examples
    abortion groups racial/ethnic or age
    associations)
  • Foreign Governments

13
What Makes an Interest Group Powerful?
  • Size (numbers)
  • Resources (organization and money)
  • Leadership
  • Cohesiveness

14
Interest Group Strategies
  • Direct Techniques
  • Lobbying meeting officials and attempting to
    convince them to support your position
  • testifying before congressional committees
  • testifying before executive rulemaking agencies
  • assisting in the drafting of legislation
  • entertaining legislators
  • providing information to legislators one of the
    most important ways lobbyists make themselves
    valuable to decision makers
  • assisting in nominating individuals to government
    posts

15
Interest Group Strategies (cont.)
  • Ratings scoring legislators based on their
    votes in Congress, then making interested
    constituents aware of those scores
  • Campaign Assistance providing workers for
    political campaigns
  • Political Action Committees (PACs) a committee
    that raises money and gives donations on behalf
    of organizations to political candidates or
    political parties
  • Political Contributions the most important form
    of campaign help from interest groups over the
    last 20 years

16
Interest Group Strategies
  • Indirect Techniques
  • Generating public pressure trying to influence
    the government by using public opinion on an
    issue
  • Climate control public relations techniques
    used to create favorable public opinion
  • Using Constituents as Lobbyists
  • Shotgun approach having large numbers of
    constituents act in concert by writing, emailing,
    phoning or sending postcards to a legislator
  • Rifle approach having an influential
    constituent contact a legislator on a particular
    issue

17
Interest Groups and Campaign Money
  • Political Action Committee (PAC) group that
    represents a business, labor union, or special
    interest group currently there are more
    corporate PACs than any other type
  • PAC contributions
  • Primarily given to incumbents
  • 5,000 per election per candidate is upper limit
    under campaign finance laws
  • Soft money (money going to parties versus
    particular candidates)
  • Outlawed in 2002
  • Issue advocacy advertising

18
 PAC Growth, 1977 to Present
SOURCE Federal Election Commission, 2001
19
PAC Contributions to Congressional Candidates,
1986 to 2000
Millions of Dollars
SOURCE Federal Election Commission, 2002
20
Top 20 in 2001-2002
21
Business-Labor split
22
Why contribute to campaigns?
  • Why do PACs contribute to political campaigns?
  • Why do PACs contribute so much more to
    incumbents?
  • Why do PACs contribute to both parties at once?

23
Regulating Lobbyists
  • Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946
  • Provided for public disclosure
  • Failed due to lack of enforcement mechanism
  • United States v. Harriss (1954) confirmed its
    constitutionality

24
Regulating Lobbyists, (cont.)
  • 1995-96 reforms
  • Lobbyist anyone who spends 20 percent of
    his/her time lobbying members of Congress,
    congressional staffs, or executive branch
    officials
  • Requires lobbyists to register with the Secretary
    of the House or clerk of the Senate
  • Requires semiannual reports on the nature of
    lobbying activities

25
Discussion
  • Why are interest groups important in US politics?
  • In what ways do interest groups support
    democracy?
  • In what ways might they subvert it?
  • Are some interest groups too powerful?
  • Should lobbyists be more closely regulated?
  • How might this be done without violating civil
    liberties?

26
What is a Political Party?
  • A group of activists who organize to win
    elections, operate government, and make public
    policy
  • Distinct from interest groups, which dont seek
    office

27
Functions of Political Parties in the U.S.
  • Recruiting candidates for public office
  • Organizing and running elections
  • Presenting alternative policies to the electorate
  • Accepting responsibility for operating government
  • Organized opposition to the party in power

28
Parties in U.S. History
  • 1789-1812 Creation of parties
  • 1816-1828 Personal politics
  • 1828-1860 National two-party rule
  • 1864-1892 Post-Civil War period
  • 1896-1928 Progressive era
  • 1932-present Modern era

29
(No Transcript)
30
Structure of the American Political Party
National Party Organization
National Convention (including a national
chairperson and a national committee)
State Party Organization
State Conventions and Committees
County Committees
Precinct and Ward Organizations (including
active, paid, and unpaid workers) Party Members
(those who
vote the party ticket)
Local Party Organization
31
Our Two-Party System
  • Two-Party system a political system where two
    parties have a reasonable chance of winning
  • Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of
    the
  • Other parties Green, Reform, Libertarian,
    Socialist Workers, Communist, Socialist, States
    Rights Democrats/Workers World, Natural Law, and
    Social Labor Party

32
The Three Faces of Party
  • Party-in-the-electorate members of the general
    public who identify with a political party or who
    express a preference for one party over the other
  • Party organization formal structure and
    leadership of a political party, including
    election committees local, state and national
    executives and paid professional staff
  • Party-in-government elected and appointed
    officials who identify with a political party

33
Core Supporters
  • Democratic core
  • lower SES (income, education) groups African
    Americans union members Jews individuals with
    less than high school education college grads
    with a postgraduate education women
  • Republican core
  • higher SES groups college grads with no
    postgraduate education professionals
    businesspeople

34
Democrats and Republicans
  • Democrats More likely to approve social-welfare
    spending, government regulation of business,
    measures to improve status of minorities and
    elderly
  • Republicans More supportive of private
    enterprise believe federal government should be
    less involved in social programs

35
Which Party Is Better?
36
Why Two-Party System Endures
  • Historical foundations sectional/regional and
    class politics
  • Dichotomous nature of early American conflict
  • Political socialization and party identification
  • Commonality of views among Americans
  • Winner-take-all electoral system
  • plurality voting in single member district
    elections
  • State and federal laws favoring two party system

37
Party Identification
38
Minor Parties in the U.S.
  • Most successful have been splinter parties that
    broke from a major party
  • Bull Moose Progressives (from Republicans)
  • Dixiecrats (States Rights) Party (from Democrats)
  • American Independent Party 1968 (from Democrats)

39
Minor Parties in the U.S., (cont.)
  • Minor parties platforms often adopted by major
    parties
  • Sometimes minor party candidates can have an
    impact on the outcome of an election
  • Nader and Gore in 2000
  • Roosevelt and Taft in 1912

40
Minor Parties in the U.S., (cont.)
  • Current minor parties
  • Libertarian Party
  • Reform Party
  • Green Party
  • Natural Law Party
  • Other parties (Communist, Socialist, Socialist
    Workers, etc.) are really minute, too small to
    be minor

41
Discussion
  • How do political parties link citizens to
    government?
  • Can you imagine democracy without parties?
  • Why has party identification declined?
  • Is the two-party system undemocratic?
  • Would American politics be different if
    proportional representation were used?
  • Would it be more democratic?
  • Would it be less stable?

42
Hot Links to Selected Internet Resources
  • Books Companion Site http//politicalscience.wad
    sworth.com/schmidtbrief2004
  • Wadsworths Political Science Site
    http//politicalscience.wadsworth.com
  • The Internet Public Library http//www.ipl.org/re
    f/AON
  • Democratic National Committee http//www.democrat
    s.org/index.html
  • Republican National Committee http//www.gop.org
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