Interest Groups Interest Groups A Natural Phenomenon In

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Interest Groups

Interest Groups

Interest Groups: A Natural Phenomenon In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “.

Interest Groups: A Natural Phenomenon In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “. . . in no country of the world has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objectives than in America. ” Alexis de Tocqueville Art Resources Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 2

Interest Groups • If de Tocqueville was amazed at how associations had flourished in

Interest Groups • If de Tocqueville was amazed at how associations had flourished in the United States in 1834, he would be astounded at the number of associations today. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 3

Interest Group Formation • First Amendment guarantees facilitate group formation • Racial, ethnic and

Interest Group Formation • First Amendment guarantees facilitate group formation • Racial, ethnic and religious diversity gives rise to diverse views • Social changes, economic pressures and technological developments disturb the status quo, leading to group formation • Examples: industrialization, urbanization, civil rights movement Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 4

Fortune’s “Power 25” The 10 Most Effective Interest Groups Rank Organization Website 1 National

Fortune’s “Power 25” The 10 Most Effective Interest Groups Rank Organization Website 1 National Rifle Association www. nra. org 2 AARP www. aarp. org 3 National Federation of Independent Business www. nfibonline. com 4 American Israel Public Affairs Committee www. alpac. org 5 Association of Trial Lawyers of America www. atla. org 6 American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) www. aflcio. org 7 Chamber of Commerce of the U. S. A. www. uschamber. org 8 National Beer Wholesalers Association www. nwba. org 9 National Association of Realtors www. realtor. com 10 National Association of Manufacturers www. nam. org Fortune, May 2005 Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 5

Other Important Interest Groups • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) • American Legion •

Other Important Interest Groups • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) • American Legion • American Library Association • Handgun Control, Inc. • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) • National Audubon Society • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) • National Gay and Lesbian Task Force • National Organization for Women (NOW) • National Urban League • Sierra Club • Veterans of Foreign Wars • World Wildlife Fund Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 6

Interest Groups in the U. S. • Why have interest groups been so successful

Interest Groups in the U. S. • Why have interest groups been so successful in the United States? • • Advance personal economic well-being Advocate personal opinion on an issue Meet like-minded citizens Way to participate in democratic society Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 7

Problems with Interest Groups • Free rider problem • Solidarity Incentives • Material Incentives

Problems with Interest Groups • Free rider problem • Solidarity Incentives • Material Incentives • Purposive Incentives • Retaining members • The “iron triangle” (interest groups, members of Congress, and federal agencies) Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 8

Economic Interest Groups • Formed to advance economic interests of members • • •

Economic Interest Groups • Formed to advance economic interests of members • • • Trade and Professional Associations Business Interest Groups Agricultural Interest Groups Labor Interest Groups Public Employee Unions The unorganized poor Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 9

Contemporary Interest Groups SOURCE: Frank R. Baumgartner and Beth L. Leech, “Interest Niches and

Contemporary Interest Groups SOURCE: Frank R. Baumgartner and Beth L. Leech, “Interest Niches and Policy Bandwagons: Patterns of Interest Group Involvement in National Politics, ” Journal of Politics 63 (November, 2001): 1191– 1213. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 10

Other Types of Interest Groups • Environmental Groups • Sierra Club • Public Interest

Other Types of Interest Groups • Environmental Groups • Sierra Club • Public Interest Groups • Nader organizations • Common Cause • The League of Women Voters • Single-issue focused groups • Mothers Against Drunk Driving • Foreign Policy Groups • The Coalition to Save Darfur Ralph Nader © 2004 AP/Wide World Photos Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 11

Labor Interest Groups • Labor unions seek agreements with businesses and work to influence

Labor Interest Groups • Labor unions seek agreements with businesses and work to influence government policy • To protect workers’ jobs and benefits • Ensure safety of workplace • AFL-CIO: A union of unions with 11 million workers • 2005: Change to Win Coalition Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 12

Decline in Union Membership Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 13

Decline in Union Membership Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 13

Union Membership • About 13% of workers now represented by a union (down from

Union Membership • About 13% of workers now represented by a union (down from 35% in 1955) • Decline in political clout • Hurt by global competition Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning (AP Photo/The Capital Times/David Sandell) 14

What Do Interest Groups Do? • Inform • Lobby • Campaign Activities • Political

What Do Interest Groups Do? • Inform • Lobby • Campaign Activities • Political Action Committees • Issue Advocacy Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 15

What Makes an Interest Group Powerful? • Sources of power • • Size Resources

What Makes an Interest Group Powerful? • Sources of power • • Size Resources Leadership Cohesiveness Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 16

Not All Interest Groups Are Created Equal This story shows Sarah Palin and tea

Not All Interest Groups Are Created Equal This story shows Sarah Palin and tea party supporters during a rally and describes their views on government spending. Airdate: 4/14/2010 Click the icon to open the movie Video Supplied by Motion Gallery Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 17

Video Questions 1. Why are the views of tea party supporters somewhat contradictory? 2.

Video Questions 1. Why are the views of tea party supporters somewhat contradictory? 2. What do the demographics of tea party groups reveal? 3. Do you see tea party groups as organized? Do they have political clout? 4. What elements of effective interest groups do they lack? Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 18

Interest Group Strategies • Direct Techniques • • Lobbying Publishing the voting records of

Interest Group Strategies • Direct Techniques • • Lobbying Publishing the voting records of legislators Building alliances Campaign assistance Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 19

Interest Group Strategies (cont) • Indirect Techniques • Generating public pressure • Using constituents

Interest Group Strategies (cont) • Indirect Techniques • Generating public pressure • Using constituents as lobbyists • Unconventional forms of pressure (marches, rallies, and demonstrations) Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 20

Regulating Lobbyists • The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946) • Required registration of

Regulating Lobbyists • The Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act (1946) • Required registration of lobbyists • Proven ineffective, however, as only full-time lobbyists had to register. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 21

The Reforms of 1995 • In 1995, Congress overhauled the lobbying legislation. New requirements:

The Reforms of 1995 • In 1995, Congress overhauled the lobbying legislation. New requirements: • A lobbyist is a person who spends 20 percent of the time or more lobbying Congress, their staffs or the executive branch. • Lobbyists who earn $5, 000 or more must register within 45 days of making contact with a member of Congress. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 22

The Reforms of 1995 (cont) • Detailed reports must disclose the nature of the

The Reforms of 1995 (cont) • Detailed reports must disclose the nature of the lobbying business twice a year. • Subsidiaries of foreign companies based in the United States, must register as lobbyists. • Tax-exempt organizations and religious organizations are exempt from these requirements. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 23

Recent Lobbying Scandals: Jack Abramoff © 2006 Time, Inc. /Getty Images. Reprinted by permission.

Recent Lobbying Scandals: Jack Abramoff © 2006 Time, Inc. /Getty Images. Reprinted by permission. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 24

Interest Groups and Representative Democracy • Interest Groups: Elitist or Pluralist? • The existence

Interest Groups and Representative Democracy • Interest Groups: Elitist or Pluralist? • The existence of interest groups would appear to be an argument in favor of pluralism. However, interest groups are often led by upper-class individuals, which argues for elite theory. • Interest Group Influence • Even the most powerful groups do not always succeed in their demands. • The most successful groups focus on single issue. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 25

Interest Groups and the Operation of the Economy This story examines the effects of

Interest Groups and the Operation of the Economy This story examines the effects of bankruptcy on GM and the country’s economy. Airdate: 9/3/2009 Click the icon to open the movie Video Supplied by Motion Gallery Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 26

Video Questions 1. Which interest groups supported the GM bailout? Which groups were likely

Video Questions 1. Which interest groups supported the GM bailout? Which groups were likely opposed? 2. How do consumers feel about the government helping out ailing industries? Are they likely to make their views known? 3. Why was bankruptcy the best option for GM? Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 27

Interest Groups and the Policy Process Courtesy of Handgun Control, Inc. Copyright 2011 Cengage

Interest Groups and the Policy Process Courtesy of Handgun Control, Inc. Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 28

Questions for Critical Thinking 1. How have labor interest groups traditionally sought to influence

Questions for Critical Thinking 1. How have labor interest groups traditionally sought to influence policy? 2. How did interest groups influence the health care reform policy process? 3. What would motivate you to participate in an interest group? What are the incentives for the people that you know who are active in interest groups? 4. What are the concerns of interest groups which are most active in your community? Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 29

Web Links • • • The Center for Public Integrity Opensecrets. org-Money in Politics

Web Links • • • The Center for Public Integrity Opensecrets. org-Money in Politics Data Common Cause—Holding Power Accountable Federal Election Commission Public Citizen Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 30

Web Links • • • AFL-CIO—America’s Union Movement Moveon. org: Democracy in Action Christian

Web Links • • • AFL-CIO—America’s Union Movement Moveon. org: Democracy in Action Christian Coalition of America Third Wave Foundation AARP Copyright 2011 Cengage Learning 31