Political Parties
and Interest Groups
AP U.S. Government and Politics
Unit 3
Interest Groups
Do pressure groups add to democracy?
• What is an interest (pressure) group? Why are
they necessary in a democratic society?
• How are they different from political parties?
• What are some of the positive ways interest
groups influence the political system?
• What are some of the negative ways interest
groups influence the political system?
• Your questions about the article?
Democratic Party
civil liberties (ACLU)
black civil rights (NAACP)
women’s rights (NOW)
pro-choice (NARAL)
labor unions (AFL-CIO)
teachers’ unions (NEA)
• environmental groups
(Sierra Club)
• government employees
• gay rights (GLAAD)
Labor Groups and Unions
Professional Organizations
Agricultural Organizations
Group Welfare
Religious Groups
Public-Interest Groups
Fortune’s 25 Most Powerful
Interest Groups (2001)
1. National Rifle Association (NRA)
2. American Association of Retired
People (AARP)
3. National Federation of Independent
4. American Israel Public Affairs
5. Association of Trial Lawyers of
7. Chamber of Commerce of the United
States of America
8. National Beer Wholesalers of
9. National Association of Realtors
10. National Association of
Manufacturers (NAM)
11. National Association of
Homebuilders of the United States
12. American Medical Association
13. American Hospital Association
14. National Education Association of the
United States (NEA)
15. American Farm Bureau Federation
16. Motion Picture Association of America
17. National Association of Broadcasters
18. National Right to Life Committee
19. Health Insurance Association of America
20. National Restaurant Association
21. National Governors' Association
22. Recording Industry Association of
America (RIAA)
23. American Bankers Association
24. Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America
25. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Informing the Public
Creating a Positive Image
Promoting a Particular Policy
Grassroots Efforts
Shaping Public Opinion
Endorsing Candidates
Congressional Ratings
Activities of Interest Groups
• What factors go into determining which
activity(ies) an interest group might pursue?
– Why would a group focus on informing the public?
And why would one not?
– Why would a group use outside lobbying? Inside
lobbying? And why would one not?
– Why would a group use litigation? And why would
one not?
– Why would a group campaign for or donate to a
candidate or party? And why would one not?
“Iron Triangle”
Committee on
Veterans Affairs
American Department of
Legion Veterans Affairs
Interest Group
Federal Agency
“Revolving Door”
or Executive