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Interest Groups

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Interest Groups Chapter 11 The Role and Reputation of Interest Groups Defining Interest Groups An organization of people with shared policy goal entering the policy ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interest Groups


1
Interest Groups
  • Chapter 11

2
The Role and Reputation of Interest Groups
  • Defining Interest Groups
  • An organization of people with shared policy goal
    entering the policy process at several points to
    try to achieve those goals. Interest groups
    pursue their goals in many arenas.
  • Political Parties fight election battles,
    Interest Groups dont- but they may choose sides.
  • Interest Groups are policy specialists, Political
    Parties are policy generalists.

3
The Role and Reputation of Interest Groups
  • Why Interest Groups Get Bad Press
  • The writers of the Constitution disliked
    organized groups- parties and interest groups.
  • Dishonest lobbyists get more press than the
    honest ones- even though there are far more
    honest lobbyists.
  • The term lobbying in general has negative
    connotations.

4
Theories of Interest Group Politics
  • Pluralist Theory
  • Elite Theory
  • Hyperpluralist Theory

5
Theories of Interest Group Politics- Pluralism
  • Definition
  • Politics is mainly a competition among groups,
    each one pressing for its own preferred policies.
  • Many centers of power and many diverse, competing
    groups.
  • No group wins or loses all the time.
  • Groups provide the key link between the people
    and the government.

6
Theories of Interest Group Politics- Pluralism
  • Continued
  • Groups compete
  • No group becomes too dominate
  • Groups play by the rules
  • Groups weak in one resource can rely on another
    resource.
  • Lobbying is open to all, therefore, not a problem.

7
Theories of Interest Group Politics- Elitism
  • Definition
  • Societies are divided along class lines and that
    an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the
    formal niceties of governmental organization.
  • Numerous groups means nothing, the power is not
    equally divided among them- some have much more.
  • The largest corporations hold the most power.

8
Theories of Interest Group Politics- Elitism
  • Continued
  • The power is strengthened by a system of
    interlocking directorates of these corporations
    and other institutions.
  • Corporate elites are willing to lose the minor
    policy battles, but work to win the major policy
    issues in their favor.
  • Lobbying is a problem because it benefits the few
    at the expense of the many.

9
Theories of Interest Group Politics-
Hyperpluralism
  • Definition
  • Groups are so strong that government is weakened.
    Extreme, exaggerated form of pluralism.
  • Iron Triangles keep government from working
    properly.
  • Interest groups have become too powerful since
    the government tries to serve every interest.

10
Theories of Interest Group Politics-
Hyperpluralism
  • Continued
  • The many subgovernments (iron triangles)
    aggravate the process.
  • When the government tries to please all the
    groups, the policies become confusing and
    contradictory.
  • But with more interest groups getting involved,
    these subgovernments may be dissolving.

11
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
1. American Association of Retired Persons 2. National Rifle Association
3. National Federation of Independent Business 4. American Israel Public Affairs Committee
5. AFL-CIO 6. Association of Trial Lawyers
7. Chamber of Commerce 8. National Right to Life Committee
9. National Education Association 10. National Restaurant Association
12
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
  • The Surprising Ineffectiveness of Large Groups
  • Free-Rider problem Some people dont join
    interest groups because they benefit from the
    groups activities without officially joining.
  • The bigger the group, the larger the free-rider
    problem.
  • Large groups are difficult to keep organized.

13
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
  • Small groups are better organized and more
    focused on the groups goals.
  • Thus consumer groups have a difficult time
    getting significant policy gains- the benefits
    are spread over the entire population.
  • Groups that can provide selective benefits is a
    way to overcome this problem.

14
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
  • Intensity
  • Single-Issue groups Groups that focus on a
    narrow interest and dislike compromise.
  • Groups may focus on an emotional issue, providing
    them with a psychological advantage.
  • May be more likely to use protests and other
    means of political participation than traditional
    interest groups that use lobbyists.

15
What Makes an Interest Group Successful?
  • Financial Resources
  • Not all groups have equal amounts of money.
  • Monetary donations usually translate into access
    to the politicians- a phone call, a meeting, etc.
  • There is a bias towards the wealthier groups.
  • But, the wealthier groups dont always win in the
    policy arena.

16
The Interest Group Explosion
17
How Groups Try to Shape Policy
  • Lobbying
  • communication by someone other than a citizen
    acting on his own behalf, directed to a
    governmental decisionmaker with the hope of
    influencing his decision.
  • Two basic types Those that are employed by a
    group, and those that are hired temporarily.

18
How Groups Try to Shape Policy
  • Lobbyists are a source of information.
  • Lobbyists can help politicians plan political
    strategies for legislation.
  • Lobbyists can help politicians plan political
    strategies for reelection campaigns.
  • Lobbyists can provide ideas and innovations that
    can be turned into policies that the politician
    can take credit for.

19
How Groups Try to Shape Policy
  • Electioneering
  • Direct group involvement in the election process.
  • Political Action Committee (PAC) Used by
    corporations and unions to donate money to
    candidates. Sometimes used by groups as well.
  • Groups are often picky about who gets money.
  • Groups can do more than just donate money.

20
How Groups Try to Shape Policy
  • Litigation
  • If an interest group fails in one area, the
    courts may be able to provide a remedy.
  • Interest groups can file amicus curiae briefs in
    court cases to support their position.
  • Class Action lawsuits permit small groups of
    people to try and correct a situation on behalf
    of a much larger group.

21
How Groups Try to Shape Policy
  • Going Public
  • Groups try and cultivate a good public image.
  • Groups use marketing strategies to influence
    public opinion of the group and its issues.
  • Groups will purchase advertising to motivate the
    public about an issue.
  • Currently, some groups use a more soft sell
    approach style of public relations.

22
Types of Interest Groups
  • Economic Interests
  • Labor
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Environmental Interests
  • Equality Interests
  • Consumer and Public Interest Lobbies

23
Understanding Interest Groups
  • Interest Groups and Democracy
  • A wide open government would force groups to
    compete and counterbalance each other.
  • More groups means more lobbyists and thus better
    democracy to some.
  • Others argue that groups are not equal and some
    get more than they should, which is not good for
    democracy.

24
Understanding Interest Groups
  • Interest Groups and the Scope of Government
  • Interest groups seek to maintain policies and
    programs that benefit them.
  • Interest groups continue to pressure government
    to do more things.
  • But as the government does more things, does that
    cause the formation of more groups?

25
Internet Resources
  • AARP
  • AFL-CIO
  • NEA
  • Greenpeace
  • Common Cause
  • Free speech- Social Security
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