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Interest Groups

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Topics: Democracy, Voting
Interest Groups Help More Than Hurt Voter turnout has declined since 1960 but participation in interest groups has been growing. Participating in interest groups allows people to take action on issues that are most important to them. Unlike some linkage institutions, interest groups have a very close connection to government. Interest groups are an essential part of the democratic system because they allow the public to enter the political system, bring up specific issues in government, and help congress in various ways. Interest groups specialize in policies where as interest groups are policy generalists. Statistics show that most Americans are neither radically conservative or liberal but in between or moderate. Both parties have lately tried to conform to the moderate view, but this makes it hard for voters to commit to one party. Many people are split-ticket voters. Both candidates and parties are hard to agree with totally because there are so many different issues. Interest groups give people the chance to support specifically what they care about most. These groups are significant to the democratic system because they allow the public to get involved and in their political system. Political parties (policy generalists) have a great amount of issues on their agenda to be concerned with while interest groups get to concentrate on a single issue. Interest groups can call attention to an issue that could be ignored otherwise. Since groups know more about specific issues than the government, they can make sure that an issue is not overlooked. Interest groups bring attention to the issues that government should focus on. Thus, the government can determine which issues have priority. Through interacting with congress, interest groups motivate the House and Senate to concentrate on their issue. The relationship between congress and interest groups is one where both benefit. Groups interact with congress with lobbying, electioneering and litigation. Groups help congress by giving them information, doing research, providing money, helping with political strategy, helping with campaign strategy, or other chores that congressmen do not have time for. Congress, in turn, helps interest groups by supporting their issues in congress. The interaction between congress and interest groups is a very effective and beneficial part of the legislative process. Interest groups have grown to be a necessary part of the democratic system. Groups get the public involved, bring attention to important issues, and help congress. All of these advantages to interest groups are intertwined to benefit the government. Some people, such as James Madison, argue that too many factions can hurt democracy, but interest groups have proved that they are beneficial to the American democracy.

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