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What is an interest group?
an organization of people with similar policy goals who enter the political process trying to achieve those aims
How do interest groups differ from political parties?
+Do not select a candidate from their group for president
+usually they are party specialists while political parties are policy generalists
What are the arguments of the group theory of politics?
+groups provide a clear link between people and government
+no one group is likely to become dominant
+groups usually play by the "rules of the game"
+groups weak in one resource can use another
What is the elitist view of the interest group system?
+the fact that there are numerous groups proves nothing b/c groupa are extremely unequal in power
+awesome power is held by the largest corps
+the power of a few is fortified by an extensive system of interlocking directorates
+others groups may win many minor policy battles, but corporate elites prevail when it comes to the big decisions
What does the hyperpluralist theory suggest?
Too many people are getting too much of what they want, resulting in gov't policy that is often contradictory and lacking in direction
What is interest group liberalism?
Refers to gov't's excessive deference to groups; pressure group demands are legitimate and that the job of the gov't is to advance them all
What is the hyperpluralist position on group politics?
+groups have become too powerful in the political process as gov't tries to aid every conceivable interest
+interest group liberalism is aggravated by numerous subgoverments
+trying to please every group results in confusing and contradictory policy
What are subgovernments?
a network of groups within the American political system that exercise a great deal of control over specific policy areas. Also known as "iron triangles," they are composed of interest group leaders interesed in a particular policy, the gov't agency in charge of administering that policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling that policy
What is a potential group?
All the people who might be interest group members b/c they share some common interest. Almost always larger than a potential group.
What problem does having a collective good create?
The free-rider problem; people do not join a union b/c they can benefit from the group's activities without officially joining
What is said by Olson's law of large groups?
"the larger the group, the further it will fall short of providing an optimal amount of a collective good"; the bigger the group, the more serious the free-rider problem
Why are large groups more ineffective than small groups?
+Small groups have organizational advantages over large groups (ex: consumer groups are less effective because of the many people aka potential group members who can fall under their group, making it difficult to organize)
+people who can receive the collective good earned by a interest group do not see a reason to participate in the group since they can benefit without doing the work (the larger the group the larger the collective good)
+Therefore, the collective good won by the groups are spread among many people in large groups, leaving the actual members in a financial crunch because they are left without an efficient amount of money to function the group.
What is the primary way for large potential groups to overcome Olson's law?
Provide attractive benefits for only those who join the organization (selective benefits)
What is intensity?
A psychological advantage that can be shared among both large and small interest groups
What are single issue groups?
groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics
One f the major indictments of teh American interest group system is that it is biased toward:
What are the factors that afect the success of an interest group?
What are the four basic strategies for an interest group to achieve its goals?
+appeal to the public
What is lobbying?
A "communication, by someone other than a citizen acting on his own behalf, directed o a governmental decision maker with the hope of influencing his decision"
What are the two types of lobbyists?
+regular, paid employees of a corp, association, or union
+people available for hire on a temporary basis
What is the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995? (Not sure of importance)
Established criteria for determining whether an organization or firm should register their employees as lobbyists; those who fit the criteria must register with teh Secretary of the U.S. Senate and file a report regarding each of their clients and how much they were paid by them for lobbying services
Although lobbyists are primarily out to influence members of Congress, they can also help a member of Congress because:
+they are an important source of information
+they can help politicians with political strategy for getting legislation through
+They can help formulate ccampaign strategy and get the groups members behind a politician's reelection campaign
+they are a source of ideas and innovations
What is electioneering?
Direct group involvement in the election process; groups can help fund campaigns, provide testimony, and get members to work for candidates, and some form PACs; other ways they participate in elections: recruiting interest groups members to run as candidates for office, issuing official group endorsements, providing volunteer labor to participate om campaign work, and sending delegates to state and national party conventions to try and influence party platforms.
Why does PAC money go so overwhelmingly to incumbents?
PAC contributions are basically investments for the future, and the incumbents are the most likely to return the investment
What are amicus curiae briefs?
legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting info not contained in the briefs of the formal parties; attempt to influence a court's decision
what are lass action suits?
Lawsuits permitting a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated
If interest groups fail in Congress or get only a vague piece of legislation, what can they do?
Go to court in hope of specific ruling
Why are groups interested in "goin public" and carefully cultivating their public image and use public opinion to their advantage?
Because public opinion ultimately makes its way to policy makers; want support from the public
What are the types of interest groups?
Those dealing with
WHat is the major aim of American union organizations?
press for policies to ensure better working conditions and higher wages
Why do unions fight to est. the union shop?
They recognize that many workers would like to enjoy benefits w/o actually joining a union and paying dues
What is a union shop?
A provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union w/n a short period and remain as members as a condition of employment
Why do business groups support right-to-work laws?
They are that requiring union membership as a condition of employment deny the right not to belong in a group
What are right-to-work laws?
A state law forbidding requirements that workers must join a union to hold their jobs
Why has labor union membership declined?
+American job market diminished in key manufacturing areas b/c of low wages in other countries
+unions have a problem with convincing workers that they will benefit from unionization.
Business interests are generally unified when it comes to ________________________ but are often fragmented when ________________ have to be made.
+promoting greater profits
What have environmental groups promoted?
What have environmental groups opposed?
+oil drilling in Alaska's NAtional Wildlife Refuge
+nuclear power plants (this has a profound impact on public policy)
The goal of NOW is--
the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment ("ERA") which states that "equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged on account of sex."
What was the STOP ERA movement?
Lead by Phyllis Schlafly, argued that ERA would destroy the integrity of the family, require communal bathrooms, lead to women in combat, and eliminate legal protections that women already had
What are public interest lobbies?
Organizations that seek "a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activities of the organization."
How do interest groups affect democracy?
+Pluralist view: a counter-group for every group, increase in representation of interests, less clout overall for interest groups and better democracy
+Elitist view: more interest group corruption in America than ever, big-spending business PACs dominate the fundraising game
+Hyperpluralist view: whenever a major interest group objects strongly to proposed legislation, policymakers will bend over backwards to try an accommodate it
How do interest groups affect the scope of government?
+individual interest groups fight to sustain gov't programs that are important to them, making it difficult for politicians to ever reduce the scope of government
+the growth of the scope of gov't has been a factor in the increasing amount of interest groups (the more areas of gov't to get involved in, the more interest groups getting involved in them)
what are the two types of membership to interests groups?
+ institutional interests
What are some of the activities of lobbyists?
+contacting government officials by phone or letter
+meeting and socializing at the conventions
+taking officials to lunch
+testifying at committee hearings
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