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Interest Groups

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Title: Interest Groups Last modified by: Warren Hills Created Date: 4/20/2006 12:35:34 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) Other titles – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interest Groups


1
Interest Groups
  • Parties, Interest Groups, and PACS

2
Imagine a person with an intense devotion to a
social cause
3
Lets say that he or she believes strongly in
animal rights, or is distressed about the
deteriorating environment
4
Or think of someone else whose work is seriously
undervalued, who works very hard but is paid very
little money
5
What can any of these imagined people do to
improve their situation?
6
One solution is to start or join a group with
similar interests, with the idea that people
together can do more to bring about change than
people alone
7
They could organize an interest group to put
pressure for change on elected officials policy
makers on all levels of government
8
Interest Group
  • Organization of people who enter the political
    process to try to achieve their shared goals

9
Interest Group
  • Almost from the beginning, Americans have
    distrusted their motives and methods of influence

10
James Madison
  • Called interest groups and political parties
    factions
  • Saw federalism separation of powers as
    necessary to control their evils

11
Interest Groups
  • Since the number of interest groups people who
    participate in them have increased greatly over
    the past half century, they appear to be even
    more important today than they have been in the
    past

12
Parties, Interest Groups, PACS
  • Interest groups, like political parties, are
    organizations that exist outside the structure of
    government
  • But they interact with government in such a way
    that it is impossible to separate them

13
Parties, Interest Groups, PACS
  • Policy making is intertwined with both parties
    interest groups so that government would operate
    very differently without them

14
Parties, Interest Groups, PACS
  • In recent years a third type of outside
    organization, called political action committees
    (PACs) have joined parties interest groups as a
    major influence on policy making in this country

15
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • Parties interest groups have a great deal in
    common
  • They represent political points of view of
    various people who want to influence policy making

16
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • This similarity has led some observers to suggest
    that interest groups may someday even replace
    parties as linkage institutions to the electorate

17
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • However, some significant differences still exist

18
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • (1) Parties influence government primarily
    through the electoral process

19
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • Although they serve many purposes, parties always
    run candidates for public office
  • Interest groups an PACs support candidates, but
    they do not run their own slate of candidates

20
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • (2) Parties generate and support a broad spectrum
    of policies interest groups support one or a few
    related policies

21
Parties vs. Interest Groups
  • Whereas a party may take a position on gun
    control, business regulations, campaign finance
    reform U.S. involvement in conflicts abroad, an
    interest group almost always focuses on one area

22
PACS
  • Political and money-raising arms of interest
    groups
  • Legally entitled to raise voluntary funds to
    contribute to favored candidates or political
    parties

23
PACS
  • Like political parties, PACs focus on influencing
    election results, but their interest in the
    candidates is narrowly based because they are
    almost always affiliated with particular interest
    groups

24
PACS
  • Number has increased substantially over the past
    30 years
  • Especially since the Campaign Reform Act of 1974
    (limits individual contributions to campaigns)

25
PACS
  • This act did allow PACs to exist
  • Most large interest groups formed them as ways to
    direct (funnel) money to their favorite
    candidates for office

26
PACS
  • Today more than 4000 PACs represent
  • Corporations
  • Labor unions
  • Professional trade associations

27
PACS
  • Biggest explosion or number has been in the
    business world
  • More than half represent corporations or other
    business interests

28
Are interest groups good or bad for American
politics?
29
Interest Groups
  • Different points of view can be separated into 3
    theories with different answers to that question

30
Theories of Interest Group Politics
  • (1) Elitist Theory
  • (2) Pluralist Theory
  • (3) Hyper pluralist theory

31
Elitist Theory
  • Argues that just a few interest groups have most
    of the power
  • Although many groups exist, most of them have no
    real power

32
Elitist Theory
  • Government is run by a few big groups trying to
    preserve their own interests

33
Elitist Theory
  • An extensive system of interlocking directorates
    (the same people sitting on several boards of
    corporations, foundations, and foundations)
    fortifies the control

34
Elitist Theory
  • Believe that corporate interests control many
    government decisions

35
Elitist Theory
  • Theory strikes at the heart of democracy
  • If only a few groups control the political
    system, how can true democracy exist?

36
Pluralist Theory
  • Claims that interest groups benefit American
    democracy by bringing representation to all

37
Pluralist Theory
  • According to pluralists, interest groups have
    many benefits

38
Pluralist Theory Benefits
  • (1) Groups provide linkage between people
    government they allow peoples voices to be
    heard in many ways that otherwise would be lost

39
Pluralist Theory Benefits
  • (2) the existence of many groups means that any
    one group cant become too powerful because
    others counterbalance it

40
Pluralist Theory Benefits
  • (3) Groups usually follow the rulesthose that
    dont get bad publicity that helps to keep them
    in line

41
Pluralist Theory Benefits
  • (4)No one set of groups dominates because those
    weak in one area are strong in another

42
Pluralist Theory Benefits
  • For example--although business interest groups
    usually have more money, labor groups have more
    members

43
Hyper Pluralist Theory
  • Claims that too many groups are trying to
    influence the political process
  • Negative effects---political chaos
    contradiction among government policies

44
Hyper Pluralist Theory
  • Believe that the political system is out of
    control because the government tries to please
    every interest allows them to dictate policy in
    their area

45
Hyper Pluralist Theory
  • Since all interest groups try to protect their
    self-interest, the policies that result from
    their pressure are haphazard ill-conceived

46
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Interest groups have been part of American
    politics singe the beginning
  • Their numbers, however, have grown substantially
    in recent years

47
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Some well-known groups, such as the Sierra Club
    and the NAACP have existed for a century

48
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Many interest groups, however, are relatively
    new, with more than half forming after WWII

49
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Interest groups seems to exist for everyone
  • Some are broad-based (National Association of
    Manufacturers) and others are specific (American
    Cricket Growers Assoc)

50
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Many groups base their organization on economics
  • More than 3/4s originated from industrial,
    occupational, or professional membership

51
Growth of Interest Groups
  • In recent years more groups have moved their
    headquarters to Washington to be as close to the
    source of power as possible

52
Growth of Interest Groups
  • Today, very few occupations or industries go
    without interest groups to represent them in
    Washington

53
Types of Membership
  • Membership in interest groups may be classified
    in two ways
  • (1) institutional
  • (2) individual

54
Institutional Interests
  • Most represent a business or corporation
  • Over 500 hundred firms have lobbyists,
    public-relations experts and/or lawyers in
    Washington
  • Most of them opened offices since 1970

55
Institutional Interests
  • Other institutions represented in Washington are
  • Universities
  • Foundations
  • Governments

56
Institutional Interests
  • City governments are represented through the
    National League of Cities
  • Counties through the National Assoc of Counties
  • National Council on Ed speaks for institutions of
    higher learning

57
Individual Interests
  • Individual Americans are much more likely to join
    religious political associations than are
    citizens in other democracies

58
Individual Interests
  • Many of the orgs they join are represented in DC
    lobby the government for favorable policies for
    their interest

59
Individual Interests
  • Many of the largest interest groups have
    individual, not institutional, membership

60
Individual Interests
  • AARP
  • American Federation of Labor
  • NAACP
  • Sierra Club

61
Individual Interests
  • Religious organizations are also well-represented
  • Very influential Christian Coalition
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