Ch.6 Notes Interest Groups
Ch.6 Notes Interest Groups P SC 1113
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Hurlburt on Wednesday October 14, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to P SC 1113 at University of Oklahoma taught by Dr. Tyler Johnson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see American Federal Government in Political Science at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 10/14/15
Chapter 6 Interest Groups Week 5 Notes for American Federal Government P SC 1113 Chapter Notes Vocabulary free rider problem the dif culty that exists when individuals can enjoy the outcome of an interest group s effort without having to contribute such as by becoming members of the group interest group an organized group of individuals sharing common objectives who actively attempt to in uence policymakers material incentive a reason to join an interest group practical benefits such as discounts subscriptions or group insurance pluralist theory a theory that views politics as a contest among various interest groups at all levels of govemment to gain benefits for their members purposive incentive a reason to join an interest group satisfaction resulting from working for a cause in which one believes solidary incentive a reason to join an interest group pleasure in associating with likeminded individuals labor force all of the people over the age of 16 who are working or actively looking for jobs publicinterest group an interest group formed for the purpose of working for the public good Examples are the American Civil Liberties Union and Common Cause righttowork laws laws that ban unions from collecting dues or other fees from workers whom they represent but who have not actually joined the union trade organization an association formed by members of a particular industry such as the oil industry or the trucking industry to develop common standards and goals for the industry Trade organizations as interest groups lobby government for legislation or regulations that specifically benefit their members direct technique any method used by an interest group to interact with government officials directly to further the group s goals independent expenditure an expenditure for activities that are independent from not coordinated with those of a political candidate or a political party indirect technique any method used by interest groups to in uence government officials through third parties such as voters lobbying all of the attempts by organizations or by individuals to in uence the passage defeat or contents of legislation or to in uence the administrative decisions of government lobbyist an individual who handles a particular group s lobbying efforts political action committee PAC a committee that is established by a corporation labor union or special interest group to raise funds and make campaign contributions on the establishing organization s behalf rating system a system by which a particular interest group evaluates rates the performance of legislators based on how often the legislators have voted with the group s position on particular lssues Interest Groups and American Government The Constitutional Right to Petition the Government The right to petition the government is one of the 1st amendment rights that sometimes is overlooked or forgotten This right allows citizens to petition their government and representatives when they believe they have been wronged or are not satis ed with what the government is doing Why Interest Groups Form Not all groups are interest groups A group must seek to affect policies or programs of the government to be an interest group Some groups such as the NRA did not begin as interest groups but have grown to where affecting policy is their main purpose Many interest groups come into existence when a threat is perceived against a certain group The NRA became politically active when the government began to make ore strict gun control laws People join interest groups for many different reasons to stand up for what they believe a sense of belonging material incentives etc The free rider problem is a big issue in our country People who do not contribute such as those who do not pay taxes but they get to enjoy punic goods such as national defense How Interest Groups Function in American Politics Interest groups are often looked down on but they do provide many valuable services to the nation bridge the gap between citizens and the government raise public awareness on certain issues provide policy makers with important informationserve as a check on policy makers etc There are several theories that surround how interest groups affect the government One is the pluralist theory which states that interest groups are democratic because there are so many that each citizen must at least partially represented by at least one group One theory that is categorized as more of an ideal is maj oritarianism which is the belief that public policy should be in accordance with what the majority of people want The last theory which more accurately describes how our democracy operates is the elite theory The wealthy included wellfunded interest groups make the most difference when it comes to affecting policy makers How Do Interest Groups Differ from Political Parties Interest groups are policy specialists while political parties are policy generalists trying to adhere to the desires of many groups Interest groups are more tightly organized than political parties Interest groups may support a nominee but they never compete in elections for of ces Different Types of Interest Groups Business Interest Groups Trade organizations support policies that bene t speci c industries Before 2000 business interest groups were more likely to support Republican candidates because the Republicans were more likely to support business friendly policies However not business interest groups tend to support both parties This way no matter who is elected they can eXpect support from the government Farms are a very in uential business interest group in affecting certain government policies The government is very willing to satisfy farmers since they produce such critical goods for the American people Labor and Professional Interest Groups Labor interest groups have been some of the most in uential in our country s history Their goals are typically to improve working conditions and raise wages Recently the amount of the work force that is a part of a labor union has declined rapidly This is partly due to the increase in white collar jobs but mostly because the government makes it extremely difficult to form and maintain unions Professional interest groups are also in uential in working for policies that benefit those in their profession e g American Medical Association PublicInterest and other Types of Groups Consumer interest groups work for the protection of consumers from dangerous products and discrimination Identity interest groups fight for policies that will bene t a group that shares the same race gender sexual orientation etc Ideological interest groups are formed to to promote a shared political perspective or ideology How Interest Groups Shape Policy Direct Techniques Lobbying is all attempts by an organization or individual to in uence the passage defeat or contents of legislation Some techniques include making personal contacts with key legislators providing eXpertise and research results for legislators offering expert testimony before congressional committees and providing legal advice to legislators Interest groups also provide campaign and voting support for candidates who favor their policies Indirect Techniques Interest groups use public relations techniques to improve their image to the public Legislators are more likely to be in uenced by voters than by lobbyists Interest groups use rating system to pressure legislators into voting in favor of their policies Nobody wants to be put on a Zeros list Another technique is issue ads which can help gain public support Interest groups have found many loopholes around laws that prevent them from giving money directly to campaigns such as 527s and 501c4s Interest groups encourage constituents to contact their government officials through letters emails and social media This is known as grassroots organizing Through the legal system interest groups especially environmental can sue organizations that are against them delaying their projects Interest groups can affect a court decision without being one of the parties in the case They do this by submitting Amicus Curiae briefs which plead their side to the judge A more dramatic way for interest groups to promote their ideals is through demonstrations and protests The Boston Tea Party is proof that this technique has been around for as long as the US has eXisted Today s Lobbying Establishment Why Do Interest Groups Get Bad Press There have been some questionable activities involving inters groups For example a company being sued gives money to the campaign of a candidate to the Supreme Court and after they are elected wins the case Also it seems that most interest groups are not actually working for the benefit of all and that most of the time the group itself receives the most benefit The Regulation of Interest Groups The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act was passed in 1946 to make it more difficult for lobbyists to in uence legislators The act was largely ineffective because it only applied to lobbyists attempting to directly in uence federal government officials The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 o This act was more specific in the qualifications of a lobbyist and was more effective in regulating them However taX exempt organizations and grassroots organizations were still not affected by this act Recent Reform Efforts After many scandals came to light in 2005 new legislation was put in to place to further lobbyist disclosure restrict gifts from lobbyists to government officials Lecture Notes From Joiners to Loners Robert Putnam s Bowling Alone 39 subtitled the collapse and revival of American community 39 The collapse last quarter of the 20th century The revival online If so implications The 1950s and 1960s 39 Postdepression post WWII number of community groups increases each year Increasing af uence and education as well Church attendance booms The threat of leisure Heeding the call of Kennedy the torch has been passed 39 Number of parents who would like to see children go into politics doubles A Result Problem Solving Segregation still the norm 39 New isms rise feminism environmentalism Community improvement takes off proactive versus reactive Social Capital What Is It 39 Connections between individuals 39 Norms of reciprocity and trust that arise form connections 1916 the individual is helpless socially if left to himself Benefits our personal interests private good Benefits the world around us public good Participation Transformation Post 197 Os 39 Serving as an of cer in a cluborganization down 42 39 Served on a committee down 39 Attending a town meeting down 35 Attending a political rally down 34 39 Signed a petition down 22 Apolitical Changes in the 1970s and 1980s 39 Social visiting declines Family dinners less common Fast food restaurants up sit down restaurants down 39 Card playing down casino gambling up 39 Decline in spending time with neighbors 39 League bowling down thus the bowling alone metaphor Robert Putnam uses Charitable giving declines What happened Disillusionment war scandal 39 Evolution new ways of doing things Too much bonding within groups not enough bridging across groups Consequences Do you think people in general today lead as good lives honest and moral as they used to From 50 percent in 1952 to 27 percent in 1998 Trust in others declines especially among young people Is Social Capital Disappearing 39 Answer probably not as much as we think 39 We re just arriving at the sum in a different way might need new measures Example explosion of singleissue interest groups Example technological effects That said still implications on political world Today s Goal 39 Get beyond these stereotypes of political corruption while recognizing that occasionally they eXist 39 Develop a broader sense of how lobbying works Beyond Direct Contact Baumgartner and Leech many think of lobbying as direct contact two people in a room Another assumption lobbying is about getting elected officials to vote a certain way 39 Reality these instances do eXist but lobbying more regularly involves many players many moments Berry s Four Strategies of Lobbying Information 39 Constituency In uence Confrontation Law Lobbying as Information 39 Testifying at legislative or agency hearings 39 Conducting and publishing research Holding press conferences Lobbying as Constituency In uence and Confrontation Building coalitions with other groups 39 Harnessing membership to channel passion toward specific individual 39 Protests and boycotts Lobbying as Law Filing lawsuits or amicus briefs for court cases Drafting legislation or regulations The Roadblock of Collective Action The NRA says it has 45 million members 39 Let s say the NRA wanted to lobby someone something how many of those members would be willing to do something 39 If everyone did a little the action could be successful Problem of collective action may have disincentives can t or won39t do a little even though they want the end result 39 Burden of creating change shared by few benefits shared by many more socalled free riders Minimize Disincentives Many disincentives time related Solution simpler ways to participate 39 Other disincentives passion related 39 Solution find new arguments Essay Due in class and to D2L on Monday October 26 39 23 pages double spaced Rubric Candidate biography and career accomplishments 1 Candidate positions on issues 4 1 Evidence this person is running 05 What are the eXperts saying 05 o What are the odds they are going to Win the primary Will they still be around in January What are powerful Republicans or Democrats saying What is the press saying Your evaluation of the candidate s potential 1 Writing and grammar 05 The WOW Factor 05