AP Government Study Guide - Interest Groups

Topics: Lobbying, Political terms, Political action committee Pages: 5 (1080 words) Published: October 13, 2013
Interest Groups

Interest Groups Past and Present: The “Mischiefs of Faction” -What we call interest groups today were known as ‘factions’ by the founders of the Republic -The framers needed a way to establish a stable and orderly constitutional system that would also respect the liberty of free citizens and prevent the tyranny of the majority or of a single dominant interest A Nation of Interests

People form voluntary groups based on issues like gun control or tax reduction to try and influence government (interest groups) Interest groups are sometimes called ‘special interests’ Social Movements

Interest groups sometimes begin as movements, which consists of many people who are interested in a significant issue, idea, or concern and who are willing to take action to support or oppose it Examples include the abolitionist, temperance, civil rights, environmental, antitax, animal rights, and women’s rights movements Types of Interest Groups

-Interest groups vary widely – some are formal (like the National Rifle Association) while others have no formal organization -Can be categorized into several broad types, but are not mutually exclusive: 1. Economic, including both business and labor

2. Ideological or single-issue
3. Public interest
4. Foreign policy
5. Government
Economic Interest Groups
-Thousands of economic interests: agriculture, consumers, plumbers, airplane industry, landlords, truckers, property owners, etc. Business
Corporations range from one-person enterprises to vast multinational entities Large corporations (General Motors, AT&T, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, etc.) exercise considerable political influence Small business can have an important voice in public policy

Trade and Other Associations
Businesses with similar interests in gov’t regulations and other issues join together as trade associations Broadest business trade association is the Chamber of Commerce of the U.S. Labor
Worker’s associations have a range of interests, from professional standards to wages and working conditions (labor unions) Professional Associations
Organized some of the strongest unions in the nation – American Medical Association, American Bar Association Ideological or Single-Interest Groups
Focus on issues and often on a single issue; members generally share a common view of the issue and a desire for gov’t to pursue policies consistent with their views Examples: right-to-life and pro-choice groups, National Rifle Association Public Interest Groups

Groups that make a specific claim to promote the “public interest” Specific type is the tax-exempt public charity (ex: the American Heart Association, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and the American Cancer Society) Foreign Policy Interest Groups

Public Sector Interest Groups
Other Interest Groups

Characteristics and Power of Interest Groups
-Political scientists, sociologists, and economists have described how groups form and organize to pursue their goals or objectives as the pursuit of collective action, or public choice Size and Resources

Size is important to political power
Many government programs involve services that benefit everyone Cohesiveness
Usually, a mass membership organization is made up of three types of members: 1. A relatively small number of formal leaders who may hold full-time, paid positions or devote much time, effort, and money to the group’s activities 2. A few hundred people intensely involved in the group who identify with its aims, attend meetings, pay dues, and do a lot of the legwork 3. Thousands of people who are members in name only and cannot be depended on to vote in elections or act as the leadership wants Leadership

Closely related to cohesion, leaders may either weld the various elements together or sharpen their disunity Techniques
Publicity and Mass Media Appeals
Mass Mailing
Influence on Rule Making
Litigation
Protest
Election Activities
Forming a Political Party
Cooperative Lobbying
The...
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