Interest Groups Essay

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Interest Groups Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 959

  • Pages: 4

Interest Groups

Are interest groups useful or harmful?

Interest groups, also referred to as: special interests, pressure groups, organized interests, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), political groups, lobby groups and public interest groups, are organized collections of people or organizations whose goal is to influence public policy (511). ‘Interest groups’ is a term that encompasses a variety of organized groups including public interest groups, business and economic groups, governmental unites, and political action committees(512). Through lobbying, interest groups prove useful in increasing public awareness about important issues, helping to frame the public agenda, and monitor programs to guarantee effective implementation. Interest groups exist for nearly every type of person who is willing to work together with others who share their goals. Interest groups that define themselves as ‘public interest groups’ seek a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activists of the organization(512). Today we see examples of this in civil liberties groups, environmental groups, and groups that speak for those who cannot (children, the mentally ill, or animals (512). ‘Economic interest groups’ have the goal of promoting the economic interest of their members, for example, trade and professional groups (513). ‘Governmental units’ are the state and local governments that lobby the federal government to make decisions in their favor. Mostly, these state and local governments are lobbying to attain ‘earmarks’ or funding from the federal budget that an appropriations bill designates for specific projects within a state or congressional district (513). In 1974, after amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act, it became legal for these interest groups to form political action committees (PACs), or officially registered fund raising organization that represents interest groups in the political process. Unlike interest groups, PACs do not have formal members; they simply have contributors who seek to influence public policy by electing legislators sympathetic to their aims. By having so many different kinds of interest groups and PACs, we see that everyone’s opinion comes into consideration politically. Although members of interest groups do not run candidates for office, they become politically active when their members believe that a government policy threatens or affects the group’s goals. Lobbying is quintessential of interest groups. The term lobbying is used to describe the activities of a group or organization that seek to persuade political leaders to support the group’s decision (521).

When interest groups become active politically, they use the technique lobbying to make their interests heard and understood by those who are in a position to influence or cause change in governmental policies, usually by testifying at hearings or contacting legislators directly(521). Interest groups often lobby congress by making a congressional testimony on behalf of the group, writing letters from interested constitutes and making campaign contributions. It is no surprise that some of the most effective lobbyists are former members of Congress, staff aides, and other Washington insiders. Lobbying in Congress, as in all lobbying is successful when the lobbyist has a good reputation for fair play and provides the people they are trying to persuade with accurate information (522). Interest groups can lobby one or more levels of the executive branch of government to influence policy by, again, providing accurate information and a clear sense of where the public stands(522). Interest groups also lobby the courts. When interest groups are lobbying the courts, they either use the form of ‘direct sponsorship’ or the filing of ‘amicus curiae’ briefs. Direct sponsorship is when the lobbyist provides resources to direct a case through the judicial system. If a case comes up that an interest group is interested in, but not sponsoring, they can file an ‘amicus’ brief to inform the justices of the group’s policy preferences (523). No matter who is being lobbied, most interest groups have found that they are most successful when ‘grassroots lobbying’ is put into play, where the masses are informed as to what the interest group’s goal is and there is high public awareness of the issue. In addition to lobbying, interest groups play a key role in the electoral process. Interest groups will recruit, endorse, and/ or provide financial or other support for political candidates to focus voter’s attention on candidates who advocate policies that will help achieve the interest group’s goals. Some ideological groups will go as far as to rate the candidates to provide a clear guide for their members and the general public as to how they feel about the candidate. In addition to simply endorsing the candidates of their choices, there have been many get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts. PACs are allowed to raise money to contribute directly to political candidates in national elections. Interest groups are essential during an election because they do the research on candidates for people who would normally not do so(525).

Like in any type of group, there have been some cases of corruption among interest groups. In 2006, Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges which led to the passing of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act in 2007. The act restricted and reformed a lot of the practices that had been going on. It banned gifts to members of Congress and their staffs, made extensive disclosure requirements, and increased the time limit on moving from the federal government to the private sector (529). Interest groups are essential to U.S. politics in that, through their influence, they enhance political participation by motivating like- minded individuals to work toward a common goal. When the right leaders, funding, and members interest groups can take pride when they know they have made a difference in election outcomes.

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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1555

  • Pages: 6

Interest Groups

Introduction
As we all know there are types of groups that are playing important role in the administration in the mechanism of government especially in terms of decision making or legislative body. These groups are known as Interest Groups and Pressure Groups. Basically interest group is defined as any collection of people organized to promote a goal they share or to resist some objective of the government of other groups. It is also defined as an organized group that tries to influence the government decisions without putting their members in governmental position. While pressure group is an interest group that exercises pressure on the government to obtain laws, policies & decisions compatible with their special interests. Basically pressure group is an interest group with higher degree of involvement in politics.

In Malaysia, there are various types of interest groups in order to obtain the rights for what they represent. Interest groups in Malaysia such National Union for Teaching Profession (NUTP), The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (CUEPACS), Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) aggregates and articulate information regarding to their respective interest in order to influence the government decision based on their interests. However, there are disadvantages for the existence of interest groups. This will be the main
idea of this assignment.

Simplified Characteristics of Interest Groups

Simplified Functions of Interests Groups
1. Mechanism for Political Representation- The interests of the people are represented in an organized way. It means that the people doesn’t have to directly go to the government but instead have interest groups to represent for them as the groups are established. It allows people to be involved in political process without being in a politica party for examples the NUTP, FOMCA and CUEPACS 2. Mediator between the Public and the Government- This is a linkage function between the people and the government. The interest groups provide necessary informations needed by both the people and the government 3. Interest Articulation (voice out the interests)- They voice out interests based on their interest groups and also voice out any interest of the public that is related to their interests 4. Influence the Government- This is the main function of the interest group. They influence the decisions but have no intention to take over the government and makes sure that the government focuses on their interests. 5. Supplement Government Agencies(assist,enhance,help)- Conduct surveys and research to provide information to the government which the results will help government to adopt better public policies.

Types of Interest Groups
1. Anomic Group- separates from social norms, spontaneous (informal), often involves violence 2. Associational Group- formal, distinct and established, effective procedures, active participants in political process. 3. Non- Associational Group- not formal, has similar characteristics & interests, reflect social/ethnic/cultural/religious interests 4. Institutional Group- exists within the government, highly involved in political & social activities, lobby from within the government.

Simplified Methods of Gaining Influence

The Demerits or The Disadvantages of Interest Groups
* There are various demerits of interests group if it is not well managed and observed. 1. Some of the methods used to gain influence can lead to negative effects -Methods like Bargaining can lead to bad effects because it is similar to lobbying whereby the public policy is influenced directly. It also invloves secret negotiations which is usually related to the national budget. When this happens and if not observed carefully, the allocation of the money can be wrongfully distributed. If it happens, the interest groups may misuse the allocation given and the people they represented MAY NOT be included or the money won’t be used for the better of the people they represent. -Another risky method is the method Propaganda. In propaganda the usage of mass media and other methods to spread information to the public is on a massive scale. If the information or awareness spread by the interest group is false or with hidden agenda, it may cause the people to be wrongly influenced or missunderstanding of the government policy. The people may retaliate for no legitimate reason which may cause damage to a peaceful nation. -Other than that, other methods like direct method like boycotts, demonstrations and strikes may cause commotion. This types of influencing methods are prone to be violent regardless of which party initiate violence first. -Indirect methods like being a member of parliament which is also a member of interest group may misuse his/her power in order to influence the governmernt decision. The member of interest group is a spouse to a bureaucrat may also lead to the misuse of power in order to influence the government decision. For example if a bureaucrat has a wife who is in an interest group, the potential of the husband to listen to every request to his wife relating to her interest group is very high. Not only that, it can be a bad thing too if a retired bureaucrats who join NGO or other groups that have connection with junior bureaucrats whereby the juniors may listen to every request of their seniors. The juniors may provide confidential information of government policies to the retired bureaucrats. -Methods like illegalities may also be used especially in desperate times. Illegalities ranges from extortions, bribery, arson, blackmail and many more.

2. The existence of certain types of interest groups can produce adverse effects. -The existence of an interest groups like Anomic Groups which derived from the word Anomie meaning separation from social norms. This
group is not a formal group. Usually it comes from dissatisfaction of the people. When this happens, it usually involves violence. This type of group may produce protests, racial riots and so on in order for their interest to be prioritized.

3. Biased
-Interest groups can be considered biased because they are only prioritizing their interest or interests related to them. They do not really care about other interest of the people as a whole and care about better policy for the people genereally. They just prioritize their interests. Information provided is one-sided.

4. One Track-Mind (Runs Undemocratically)
-The interests groups usually do not care about others interest and opininons. They also refuse to listen or to take care of other interest. They consider other interests or opinions are wrong. They do not let what others have to say or wants if it is contradict to their core interests.

5. Pluralism (as in United States)
-Critics of pluralism contend that there is no such thing as the common good because there are so many conflicting interests in society: What is good for one person is often bad for others. They argue that the interest groups interfere with democracy because they seek benefits for a minority of people rather than the greater good of the majority. The National Rifle Association, for example, has repeatedly blocked new gun control legislation despite the fact that a majority of Americans actually want stricter gun laws. Other critics argue that the interest group system is really effective only to economic interest groups, which have greater financial resources at their disposal. Nearly two-thirds of lobbyists in Washington represent economic groups. Critics also argue that interest groups tend to ignore the interests of the poor in favor of middle- and upper-class Americans, who have more time and money to contribute

6. Corruption
-Corruption takes place in the interest groups whereby the bribery is done
between the interest groups and the interest provider (policy makers/government). In corruption, the bribery can be in many forms such as gifts and money. The bribery is performed in order for their interests being implemented. The irresponsible authority personnels will accept the bribery and in return the interest of the interests groups will be prioritized.

7. Influenced by wealth
-This can be explained by the more money or fund the interest groups has, the more tendency of their interests being prioritized is higher.

Conclusion
Interest group is basically an organized group of people that tries to influence the government without being in the governmental positions. Various methods can be or are being used in order for their main objective which is to influence the government in order to get their interests priotized. But, there are negative side which is the demerits to the interests groups. Bottomline is, interest groups has it own merits and demerits in order for it to function as an interest group. The demerits can be abolished with proper procedures and proper preventive measures. If not the interest groups may be useless.

Resources
1. 90% of this content is studied, aggregate and filtered from the notes made by Sir Fairuz Hidayat PAD170 Chapter 6 notes. 2. Another 10% is scouted, filtered, studied from the internet. 3. http://www.sparknotes.com/us-government-and-politics/american-government/interest-groups/section5.rhtml 4. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110412030051AAPzyYE 5. https://www.google.com/#q=disadvantages+of+interest+groups

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Interest Groups Essay

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Interest Groups Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2277

  • Pages: 9

Interest Groups

They vary considerably in size and ideological perspectives. The strategies and tools employed by interest groups are not static, and they differ depending on the geographical scope of their operations and the resources they have. While many interest groups tend to address a wide range of issues, others deal with distinct issues. The life span of interest groups is also not static. In this case, some groups have long term objectives; hence, they remain active for long duration. For instance, the interest groups that aim at challenging policy issues and politics operate on a long term basis.

On the other hand, some groups are usually initiated with an aim of achieving a particular end after which they are dissolved. For example, during elections, many groups usually emerge with an aim of ensuring that the process is handled according to the stipulated guidelines of the electoral process. A representative government is always formulated in manner that facilitates participation of contending interests, and at the same time it tries to mitigate the variance that inexorably accompanies faction competition.

In the traditional creation of pluralism, contending interests work together by mobilizing resources and opinions in order to enhance effective formulation and implementation of essential public policies. “Institutions are formed to accommodate the inevitability of diverse and competing interest from becoming powerful enough to undermine the rights of others” (Wilson, 2009). This process is governed by constitutional provisions, which stipulate the nature of interest groups’ activities.

Therefore, many interest groups that work together tend to stabilize political environment, and this enables them to forward their interests to the government. “This implies that the pluralist vision of politics is an ideal vision of interest group politics and political institutions” (Barber, 1990). The activities conducted by various interest groups can be used to differentiate them. For instance, some of them endeavor to address several public issues, while others have a narrow scope of private interests.

There are two distinct types of interest groups, and they can be described as follows. First, we have public interest groups, and they aim at working on issues that benefit the general public. For instance, they support policies that provide equal opportunities that can be enjoyed by everyone in the society. However, the success of public interest groups may not be very substantial at an individual level since they aim at reaching out to many people. “Some of the major public interest groups in his category are National Taxpayer’s Union and Concerned Women for America” (Orman, 1988). The second category is referred to as private interest groups. These are groups which endeavor to challenge public policies in order to specifically benefit their members or individuals that support their interests. Nonetheless, the objectives and activities of private interests groups should not interfere with the welfare of other individuals. Political self interest is perceived to be healthy for a political system.

In the USA, there is a popular belief that contending interests make the society more successful. This is because bad policies are always eliminated when various groups compete against each other “Other examples of interest groups include business organizations labor unions, Professional associations, and Non Governmental Organizations” (Grossman, 2002). The Relationship between Interest Groups and Political Parties There is no great disparity between political parties and various interest groups, because they are both composed of individuals having common objectives and opinions.

Apart from this, “they are similar in the sense that they both seek to challenge government institutions, elections, and they all make public policy choices” (Brunell, 2005). Nonetheless, there are significant variations between these two bodies. Generally, interest groups never directly support their own members to contest for public office, especially in a case where economic parameter is concerned. In most cases, interest groups never adopt overt party labels, which electors use to identify and express their political affiliations (Dulilio & Wilson, 2011).

However, some electors may link particular interest groups with specific parties in a general manner. For example, the Tea Party is often linked with the Republicans and the white conservatives. In the recent past, public interest groups that are ideologically driven have increased considerably (King, 2011). For instance, a there are some groups which have pushed the tax agenda in political circles. Another distinguishing factor is that interest groups have a limited focus, and they only handle specific issues of concern in the public policy.

For example, “interest groups form around specific concerns like environment, free speech, tax reform, and labor standards” (Petracca, 1992). In contrast to this, political parties tend to focus on several issues. Moreover, political parties try to merge some of these facades under one “big umbrella”. In some circumstances, interest groups seriously struggle against political parties. For instance, some internal rivalries have been witnessed in key political parties that operate in Texas.

When elections were conducted in 2000, several environmentalists who were members of the Texas Democratic Party massively supported Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, since they felt that Al Gore was less committed toward environmental issues. They labeled him “not green enough”. On the other hand, some Republicans have tried to make the party conservative by working against some of their Republican colleagues. This indicates that the interest groups tend to favor parties and politicians that support their interests, and they ignore those who are less committed in helping them.

Interest groups always aim at maximizing policies, while political parties are usually trying to obtain many Congress seats. These competing interests influence the manner political parties relate with the interest groups. According Thomas Brunell, “interest groups have a preference as which party controls a majority of seats in Congress, which leads them to direct “sincere” and electorally useful money to this party” (Hay, 2001) When interest groups offer funds to the “other” party, they always fund it in a manner that is less effective.

Interest groups usually execute this goal by offering strategic funds to this party as follows: provide little financial support particularly to the popular candidates who do not necessarily have to be funded in order to succeed in the elections. They can also choose to fund incumbent candidates who already have political clout. Therefore, even if these groups offer funds to these parties, they always do it in a biased manner, and they favor only the parties that are likely to push forward their interests.

These funds enable their preferred candidates to run their campaigns smoothly without experiencing financial hitches. Apart from offering finances, interest groups also provide key information that enables their favorite candidates to be more competitive than other contenders. They also sensitize their preferred candidates on issues that always influence election outcomes. All these services are organized by interest groups with an aim of fulfilling their common objective of influencing election results and policies. The fact that these institutions have a relationship is therefore undeniable.

These groups often forge close ties and pursue similar objectives in order to enhance their political clout. Nonetheless, they remain independent, and their nature of operation and design also remain different. “The space for action, speech and flexibility that is maintained in politics makes them much more political than interest groups” (Grossman, 2002). How Interest Groups Try to Influence the President and the Congress? Although interest groups do not directly have elected members in political offices, they do aim at fixing their members into appointed positions.

They normally do this to enable them perform their state functions through mechanisms that support the desired policies of the interests groups that facilitated their appointments. The fact that “groups” operate as political players has always been recognized and examined, even if not properly understood. The manipulation of legislative processes by groups is a question that has not yet been answered, and it is still being begged. Between the period of the 1970 and 1980s, some “explosions” were witnessed in Washington, and researchers have wanted to clearly understand them.

As many groups emerged in Washington, many people joined them, and the groups increasingly funded parties. The citizens at the same time criticized the roles of interest groups and joined them in large numbers probably to suppress the powerful corporate groups. The role of groups in policy issues seemed to have taken a new dimension, and everyone was keen to see how it happened. Therefore, it can be argued that group manipulation of the Congress can be identified by simply examining the development of legislation that a group is favoring.

For instance, a group’s ineffectiveness in legislative process can be measured through its failure to intercept unpopular bills. In general, “interest group activities predict, at least in part, how far bills will progress through the legislative process” (Brunell, 2005). The term influence as applied in this context is quite narrow from the perspective of interest groups, and it is broad from a congressional perspective. Interest groups perceive influence as a process that should produce good policies or prevent undesirable policies from being adopted.

However, a group does not have to obtain policies from the Congress that directly indicate their actual desires; rather a group’s influence is seen when the Congress makes or discards a policy, which is in line with the interests of a group. From a congressional perspective, influence emerging from interest groups can come in several ways. Interest groups are often said to have manipulated the Congress when its members are compelled or encouraged to change the course or provisions of a given bill in order to meet the demands of the interest groups. This influence might come in the form of a change of wording, a passage from a subcommittee, and not passing from a standing committee” (Orman, 1988). In this process, interest groups may lead to the change of legislation, and the president may not have the capacity to reverse the whole process of legislation, even if he does not like the content of the bill. On the other hand, the president can also manipulate the Congress by working closely with the interest groups. As discussed above, the law making process can be indirectly manipulated through elections.

For instance, an incumbent President may pass some bills in favor of some groups so that he may get some support from them during the next elections. Besides this, interest groups may support pliable candidates whom they can easily manipulate during the law making processes. This symbiotic relationship between the interest groups and the politicians to some extent affect the capacity of both the president and the Congress to formulate effective laws. Politics in America has become complicated to many politicians.

This is because interest groups have managed to seriously entrench themselves in politics and much of their attention has been geared towards influencing the White House. “Since the American President has come to play an increasingly important role in the public policy process, interest groups and their lobbyists now descend on the presidency with the same vigor as they descend on the congress” (Orman, 1988). In this context, the president is faced with the challenge of fulfilling the needs of the ordinary citizens and the interest groups. Interest groups have faced much criticism especially when it comes to policy issues.

Its critics contend that most of the policy issues dealt with by interests groups have no connection to the desires of the public. The leaders of these groups have also been blamed for being dishonest because they always fail to fulfill the demands of their members. The weaknesses of the interests groups have been seen as one of the factors interfering with democracy in the USA. It has also been noted with a lot of concern that some political candidates have been seriously intimidated by some interest groups, and this further affects the reputation of the interest groups.

Conclusion The above discussion indicates that the American government is guided various institutions, which work together with an aim of building a more democratic society. The interest groups have been instrumental in addressing the plight of the public by ensuring that policy issues are handled properly. The effectiveness of the government has also been enhanced by the numerous contending interests. The American government has been able to adopt better policies due to the serious competition that exists among various institutions. These groups have played a fundamental role of widening the democratic space in America.

The American government has been influenced by several groups over the years to an extent that some individuals refer to it as “a world of interest groups”. The interest groups should, therefore remain committed towards enhancing democracy and good governance. And I think those groups have same mission, it’s to make the government do something right like that should be. for example, national education thinks that the system of lesson in ur country have to be changed because it is not effective, so the collect the data to support their argument, and send it to government, and hope it will influence the policy.

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Interest groups Essay

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Interest groups Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 693

  • Pages: 3

Interest groups

Interest groups are particular groups of individuals, which lobby for a specific interest in advancing their own field or discipline. In essence, these groups can be categorized as advocacy groups because they are created with a particular goal. They are advocating only for the betterment of their interest, and sometimes coordinate and form linkages with other institutions to further advance their advocacy. In other jargons, these groups are called pressure groups because of their attempt to influence or manipulate public policy for their own favor.

They do it through lobbying in the congress, and sometimes even to the extent of creating party lists who go into the parliament. Each and every one of the pressure groups shares an ambition to impinge on government policy to do well to themselves or their foundations. It possibly will be a policy that absolutely benefits faction members or one sector of society or a policy that progress a broader communal reason. Interest groups are an ordinary consequence of the communities of welfare. The sector that is advanced by interest groups can be farmers for land tenure or industrialization.

On the other hand, the wider society can be advanced by interest through the need of better air quality. Furthermore, the theory on political systems includes the essential role public interest groups do in influencing polity and the economy. In addition, public interest groups influence even the heads of the states. In the changes on 20th century politics, the presidency is affected by interest groups in the manner that if the president does not support a certain advocacy, he will be threatened not to get any support.

In the recently concluded Philippine elections, the interest groups advancing the Reproductive Health Bill greatly dictate the choice of the people. The candidates for the presidency have been widely scrutinized based on their views about reproductive health. In the end, the candidate who impressed the sector advocating the Reproductive Health Bill, including the church, emerged victorious. Other than the propaganda work performed by interest groups, they also play an important role in political elections because of their influence on the civil society.

The public opinion expressed by public interest groups dictate the characteristics of the political candidates and those who conform accordingly get the most support from these groups, which is, in fact, one of the glorious features of plurality and democracy. If the choices made turned out wrong, there is always the opportunity to rectify it by voting again in the next election and listening to other advocacies by public interest groups.

In terms of the economy, economic interest groups are omnipresent and the most well-known in every country. There are accurately several of them with bureaus in state capitals from Manila to Lima to Bandar Seri Begawan to the United States of America. There are more than a few diverse types of economic interests: “business groups like the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Confederation of British Industry, and the Nestle Corporation (Brittanica Encyclopedia, 2010). ” Interest groups cannot do away with the society.

Whatever their advocacies are, even how politicized it may seem, the masses is the primary stakeholder. They are under the cycle controlled by the political economic sphere. The dynamism of politics includes public interest groups in it. REFERENCES Contreras, A. P. (2002). Locating the political in the ecological: Globalization, state-civil society articulations, and environmental governance in the Philippines. Quezon City: De La Salle University Printing Press. “interest group. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. 2010.

Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 19 May. 2010 <http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/290136/interest-group>. Marsh, D. & Stoker, G. (1999). Theory and methods in political science. College of Forestry and Natural Resources: Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance reading room. Pulhin, J. M. & Peras, R. J. J. (2009). [SFFG 125: Part 2. Lecture]. University of the Philippines Los Banos. Todaro, M. P. (1989). Economic development in the third world. (4th ed. ). New York: Pitman publishing Inc.

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  • University/College:
    University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 608

  • Pages: 2

Interest groups

More than any other group special interest groups hold an enormous amount of sway in the American political system. What is interesting here is the fact that most of the public looks upon special interest groups with disdain. There are a number of reasons for this but before the reasons can be defined special interests must be defined. An interest group is an organized faction that seeks to sway political influence that is favorable to them. For example, many corporations pressure politicians to ease immigration laws because they earn enormous volumes of money by using labor that is generally inexpensive.

When it comes to the effect that special interest groups have on democratic pluralism, the effect is generally negative. The reason for this is that special interest groups undermine the democratic process and this frustrates the public to a significant degree. Probably the most significant area that voters express frustration in is the notion that special interest groups are favored by politicians more than the popular will of the American people.

That is, if a special interest group promotes an item or an agenda that is opposed by the vast majority of the America people, politicians will still give significant attention to the special interest groups and then will side with the special interest groups against the will of the people. This creates a significant amount of anger and discontent on the part of the voters because it leads to a situation where the representative form of government is no longer acting in a manner that would be deemed representative.

In other words, the elected officials no longer promote the interests of the public, but rather promote the interests of front groups, elitists and corporatists. Sadly, this assessment – while somewhat oversimplified – is very close to accurate. One of the reasons that special interest groups have such influence is because an enormous amount of money is required to run a successful election and special interest groups bring with them a great deal of money.

While this may seem like a cynical assessment of the current political landscape it is also an accurate one. It would be next to impossible for someone such as James Madison to support the current situation where special interest groups yield significant sway in the government arena. While Madison did understand that political factions were inevitable and also not inherently bad, his belief system (like most of the framers) was generally influenced by John Locke and Locke’s belief in the Social Contract.

Within the framework of the Social Contract it is explicitly stated that the government is supposed to protect the inalienable rights of the individual. When the goals of special interests are placed above the needs and benefit of the American people, then the entire notion of the Social Contract is undermined. As such, it would be difficult to believe that Madison would support the current landscape of special interest groups that dominate American politics. Granted, while there is much discontent in the United States regarding special interest groups these groups will never go away.

These groups are well funded and their money is welcomed by politicians. As such, interest groups will remain on the political landscape forever and ever. Literally.

Bibliography Madison, J. , Hamilton, A. , and Jay, J. (Date Unknown)THE FEDERALIST PAPERS. Retrieved 4 September 2007 from http://patriotpost. us/fedpapers/fedpapers. html Scheikart, Larry. A PATRIOT’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. New York: Penguin, 2007. Zinn, Howard. A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES. New York: Harper’s, 2007.

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