21IntGrps

21IntGrps - American Government Lecture 21 Participation...

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American Government Lecture 21 - Participation and Interest Groups
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Announcement Exams graded Reminder: If you are writing an Extra Credit paper you must clear your topic with me Opportunity for Extra Credit on Exam 3 Senator Bill Bradley Dec. 7 at 7:30pm
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Other forms of participation Voting is not the only form Or even the best Indicates a preference between options No indication as to why Other forms are more informative Convey more information More personalized More persuasive More personally enjoyable
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Staying Informed Often overlooked Reading newspapers Watching television Seeing movies Staying vigilant about government actions Democracy hinges upon awareness Only the aware can respond Liberal vs. Illiberal Democracy Liberal democracy grants freedom to know and act Illiberal democracy censors information and action
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Discussions and Opinion Formation Sharing of information and perspective Learning from others what they know about government and society Gaining an understanding of their opinion Sharing your perspective Being willing to change opinions Most people simply aren’t Conversations with 100% agreement fail Generate a belief that opposition is: – Crazy – Stupid – Evil Maintaining skepticism is political participation
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Contacting Representatives Sharing your perspectives with elites Telling those in power your preferences Involves setting the agenda and decision-making Uses the existing power structure to get what you want Representatives are willing to listen Votes outweigh campaign donations Reps typically on lookout for issues to press Boosts their image Boosts their public support Staff members are paid to cater to constituents Answer phones, take messages, craft policies Professional listeners
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Lobbying Working with elites to change policy More involved than mere contact Attempts to persuade via information Why an issue is important Why a stance on an issue is important Why one policy is better than another Why supporting that policy will benefit the elite Can involve outside support Interest Groups Personal effort also works Contact rep and arrange a meeting
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Campaigning Seeking to impact who is an elite Can reinforce existing power structure If it responds to you Can attempt to replace those in power If they have not responded to you Typically done through organizations Election committees Interest groups Can also involve running for office Replacing elites with yourself Best way to ensure preferences are addressed
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Litigation If government fails to listen, sue them If elites are unresponsive, force action Claim: Violation of constitutional right Violation of existing policy Unequal application of the law Failure to follow Due Process Often requires outside assistance Interest groups Class action Pro-bono assistance
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21IntGrps - American Government Lecture 21 Participation...

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