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linkage groups

provide alternative channel or linkage between public and government.
EX: political parties and interest groups

Political Party

seeks to influence policy by electing candidates and giving them a label.

3 Aspects of Political Parties

1.In the electorate
2. As an organization
3. As leaders of government

How is the party in the electorate weak?

because of the growth of independents

How is the party as an organization weak?

they are unable to control primary elections

How is the party as leaders in government weak?

revolts against leaders.

What is important about Party organization in the U.S.?

There is no single organization model throughout the U.S.

What happens at a National Convention?

1. Choose Presidential Nominee
2. Approve VP nominee
3. Adopt Party Platform and rules for next convention

Why is the National Convention important?

Key point of contact between state and national organizations

What should a strong party look like?

they recruit, finance, and organize campaigns Leaders dominate over followers and anyone lower than them. THEY ARE LOYAL TO THE PARTY

Why does the U.S. have weak parties?

1)broad membership, not idealogical
2)structure of government
3)structure of electoral system
4)party leaders don't have rewards or punishments for people
5)anti-party attitudes

Describe Broad Membership as a weakness of U.S. parties

not idealogical. not exclusionary. parties overlap on most issues.

Describe Structure of Government as a weakness of U.S. parties

federalism and separation of powers


division of responsibilities between national and local government. causes conflicts of interest.

separation of powers

division of responsibilities within each level of government. causes different opinions from each branch.

Describe the structure of the electoral system as a weakness of U.S. parties

more electable officials than any other country at all different times of the year. No unity for the party.

Federalist Papers #10

warned against evils of factions

Who are more likely to join an Interest Group?

Upper Class people

Types of Interest Groups

Institutional and Membership


Groups in which members are other groups, NOT PEOPLE. ex. Chamber of Commerce


Members are people. Ex. NAACP and MADD

Problem with Institutional

need quasiunanimity to act (pretty much majority)

Problem with Membership



sense of pleasure or companionship in meeting in small groups


feeling satisfaction from seeing group goal achieved.

Collective Material

money or valuables available to all people

Selective Material

money or valuables available ONLY TO GROUP.

free rider problem

why should I join if I can collect benefits for free?

Solution to free rider problem

emphasize solidarity, selective benefits, or require membership by law.

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