The influence of elites, interest groups and average voters on American politics By Martin Maximino Public policy in the United States is shaped by a wide variety of forces, from polls and election results to interest groups and institutions, both formal and informal.
Interest Group is defined as "an organized body of individuals who try to influence public policy. Whether this is still the case or not is an important question that we must find out.
Interest groups play many different roles in the American political system, such as representation, participation, education, and program monitoring. Representation is the function that we see most often and the function we automatically think of when we think of interest groups. Participation is another role that interest groups play in our government, which is when they facilitate and encourage the participation of their members in the political process.
Interest groups also educate, by trying to inform both public officials and the public at large about matters of importance to them. Lobby groups also keep track of how programs are working in the field and try to persuade government to take action when problems become evident when they monitor programs.
The traditional interest groups have been organized around some form of economic cause, be it corporate interests, associates, or unions. The number of business oriented lobbies has grown since the s and continues to grow.
Public-interest groups have also grown enormously since the s. Liberal groups started the trend, but conservative groups are now just as common, although some groups are better represented through interest groups than others are.
There are many ways that the groups can influence politics too. The increase in interest group activity has fragmented the political debate into little pockets of debates and have served to further erode the power of political parties, who try to make broad based appeals.
PACs also give money to incumbents, which means that incumbents can accumulate large reelection campaign funds, that in result, discourages potential challengers.
As a result, most incumbents win, not because they outspend their challengers, but because they keep good potential opponents out of the race. Conservatives are one of the big groups that influence politics and for many reasons.
Conservative thinking has not only claimed the presidency; it has spread throughout our political and intellectual life and stands poised to become the dominant strain in American public policy.
Conservative think tanks and similar organizations have flourished since the mids. The American Enterprise Institute AEI had twelve resident thinkers when Jimmy Carter was elected; today it has forty-five, and a total staff of nearly At least twenty-five other noteworthy public-policy groups have been formed or dramatically expanded through the decade; nearly all are anti-liberal.
No other country accords such significance to private institutions designed to influence public decisions. Brookings, began in the s with money from the industrialist Robert S.
Brookings, a Renaissance man who aspired to bring discipline of economics to Washington. Only much later did the institution acquire a reputation as the head of liberalism. Through the s and s, as Americans enjoyed steady increases in their standard of living and U.
Social justice and Vietnam dominated the agenda: Brookings concentrated on those fields, emerging as a chief source of arguments in favor of the Great Society and opposed to U.
In the Washington swirl where few people have the time to read the reports they debate, respectability is often proportional to tonnage. The more studies someone tosses on the table, the more likely he is to win his point. For years Brookings held a dominance on tonnage.
Its papers supporting liberal positions went unchallenged by serious conservative rebuttals. As the s progressed, a core of politically active conservative intellectuals, most prominently Irving Kristol, began to argue in publications like The Public Interest and The Wall Street Journal that if business wanted market logic to regain the initiative, it would have to create a new class of its own --scholars whose career prospects depended on private enterprise, not government or the universities.
So did the frustration felt by oil companies, which were being fattened by rising prices but still dreamed of being fatter if federal regulations were abolished.
Women also have a voice in their own interest groups. The Woman Suffrage movement was headed up by many groups that differed in some of their views. The moderate branch was by far the largest and is given most of the credit for the Nineteenth Amendment. These are just some of the ways that American politics in the twentieth century was influenced by special interest groups.
Interest groups have grown this much in this century and will probably keep progressing in the coming centuries.This essay is adapted from the Theodore H. White Lecture, sponsored by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard on November THE COMMON wisdom holds that the GOP presidential race will boil down to a joust between the “establishment” and the “insurgents.” The former will allegedly be more moderate and the.
Through out United States government history, political interest groups have had a profound influence on some very important decisions. These political interest groups are highly organized factions that have a certain agenda that is important to them.
They will often lobby at various levels of the /5(19). 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. Some of the nation’s leading journalists gathered in Key West, Fla., in May for the Pew Forum’s biannual Faith Angle Conference on religion, politics and public life..
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