Chapter11 Overview - Chapter11 Overview Introduction Case Study-Supreme Cyber-Battle A distinguishing characteristic of American democracy is the

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Chapter11 Overview Introduction: Case Study--Supreme Cyber-Battle A distinguishing characteristic of American democracy is the number of groups organized to influence government. While many fear the presence of well-organized, self-interested groups, the fact remains that these groups are an essential link between the public and policy makers. Chapter 11 focuses on the types of interest groups found in the United States, the characteristics and strategies of these groups, and the regulations that govern interest group activity. Finally, the chapter attempts to assess the impact of interest groups on society and the American approach to democracy. The opening case study deals with the increasing role and scope that interest groups play in influencing the making of public policy, campaigns and elections and the nomination and confirmation of supreme court justices. Interest Groups: A Tradition in American Politics The chapter begins with a discussion of the long history of association in this country and James Madison’s discussion regarding their inevitability in Federalist Paper #10. In recent decades the number of interest groups has grown dramatically. Reasons for this growth include an impetus in government toward increased regulation of society, an increase in groups seeking policy goals, legislation that both requires and funds citizen participation, campaign finance laws, and increasing income and education levels. Types of Interest Groups Interest groups allow for collective action by citizens and provide information for policy makers. There are four main categories of interest groups. First, there are economic organizations such as business, labor, and farmers. Second, there are the public interest groups that claim to speak for the average citizen and the collective good. Third, are the government groups such as departments and agencies that compete for funds, attention, and policy goals. Finally, there is a plethora of groups engaged in ideological, single- issue, civil rights, and religious battles. Characteristics of Interest Groups The number one characteristic of an interest group is that it has members and the need to maintain that membership then becomes a central activity of any interest group. The result is that group leaders end up devoting a great amount of energy to the job of attracting members and keeping them interested by providing benefits. Interest groups are more likely to be successful if they have one or more of the following characteristics: high levels of resources, concentrated goals, a focus on local level government, and dynamic leadership. Interest Group Strategies
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The principal strategy of interest groups is lobbying, pressuring politicians primarily through direct contact and the provision of information. Former government officials are particularly adept at lobbying. Grassroots lobbying, which involves organized appeals by constituents, is also very effective. An additional strategy employed by interest groups is
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2011 for the course POLITICAL 210 taught by Professor Amitage during the Spring '08 term at San Mateo Colleges.

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Chapter11 Overview - Chapter11 Overview Introduction Case Study-Supreme Cyber-Battle A distinguishing characteristic of American democracy is the

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