INTERESTS GROUPS THE NATURE OF INTEREST GROUPS The Role of Interests Groups • They seek to influence the making and content of public policy. • They are sometimes called pressure groups and often special interests or organized interests. • There are various types of groups they include ethnic, racial, religious, and other groups compete for and share in the exercise of political power in this country. Political Parties and Interest Groups • Interests groups are made up of people who unite for some political purpose. • Three types: • 1-Parties nominate candidates for public office, interests groups do not. • 2- Political parties are chiefly concerned in winning elections and controlling government. • 3- Political parties are necessarily concerned with the whole range of public affairs, with everything of concern to voters. Interest Groups: Good or Bad? • Early Views • Deep suspicion • What function do these groups perform? • Valuable Functions of Interests Groups • 1st- stimulate interests in public affairs- issues that concern the people at large. • 2nd- They represent their shared attitudes not their geography. • 3rd- They provide detailed information to the government. • 4th- Vehicles for political participation • 5th- Perform a checks and balances on the political process. Keep close eye on public agencies and officials. • 6th- Compete with one another in the public arena. • Criticisms? • Many of them push their own agenda • May not speak for who they claim to speak for. • Use tactics such as bribery, threats of revenge, and so on. TYPES OF INTERESTS GROUPS An American Tradition • No one knows how many interest groups there are. • Each one is an interest group whenever it tries to influence the actions of government in order to promote its own goals and special interests. Groups Based on Economic Interests • Business Groups • This group has long looked to government to promote and protect its interests. Merchants, Creditors, and Property Owners. • Labor Groups • Labor Union press for government policies that will benefit their members. • Agricultural Groups • From the beginning, most Americans lived off farms. Now these days that is not the case. Farm organizations sometimes find themselves at odds with one another. • Professional Groups • These groups are defined by medicine, law, and teaching. Maintain organizations to protect and promote their interests. Other Interests Groups/ Public Interest Groups • Groups that Promote Causes • They exist to promote an idea or cause • ALCU. National Right to Life, Abortion groups, Women’s rights groups. • Organizations that promote the Welfare of Certain groups. • They promote the welfare of certain segments of the population among the most powerful and best known. • Religious Organizations • They also try to influence public policy in several important areas. • Jewish and Catholic churches have special interest groups. • Public Interests Group • Is an interest group that seeks to institute certain public policies of benefit to all or most people in this country. INTEREST GROUPS AT WORK Influencing Public Opinion • Interests groups reach out to the public to accomplish one or all of 3 goals: • 1- To supply the public with information an organization thinks the people should have. • 2- To build positive image for a group. • 3- To promote a particular public policy. Propaganda • This is a technique of persuasion aimed at influencing individual or group behaviors. • Propaganda is spread through newspapers, face-book, twitter, magazines, radio, movies, billboards, and pamphlets. Influencing Parties and Elections • Interests groups and political parties are different. • They exist in the same arena, but their paths sometimes cross. • Interests groups thus try and influence the behavior of political parties. • Some groups keep close ties with one another. • Most hope to secure the support of both of them. • Several urge their members to become active in party affairs and try to win posts in party organizations. Lobbying • Is defined as those activities by which groups pressures are brought to bear on legislators and the legislative process. • Lobbyists At Work • They used certain techniques to persuade legislators and other policy makers to share their points of view. • Lobby Regulation • Abuses occur now and then • False or misleading testimony, bribery, and other unethical pressures are not common, but they do happen. • Federal Regulation of Lobbying ActRequires registration of those individuals and groups who collected or spent money for the principle purpose of influencing legislation.