Interest Groups

Satisfactory Essays
Interest Groups

Interest Group is defined as "an organized body of individuals who try

to influence public policy." This system is designed so that interest groups

would be an instrument of public influence on politics to create changes, but

would not threaten the government much. Whether this is still the case or not

is an important question that we must find out.

Interest groups play many different roles in the American political system, such as representation, participation, education, and program monitoring. Representation is the

function that we see most often and the function we automatically think of when

we think of interest groups. Participation is another role that interest groups

play in our government, which is when they facilitate and encourage the

participation of their members in the political process. Interest groups also

educate, by trying to inform both public officials and the public at large about

matters of importance to them. Lobby groups also keep track of how programs are

working in the field and try to persuade government to take action when problems

become evident when they monitor programs. The traditional interest groups have

been organized around some form of economic cause, be it corporate interests,

associates, or unions. The number of business oriented lobbies has grown since

the 1960s and continues to grow. Public-interest groups have also grown

enormously since the 1960s. Liberal groups started the trend, but conservative

groups are now just as common, although some groups are better represented

through interest groups than others are. There are many ways that the groups

can influence politics too. The increase in interest group activity has

fragmented the political debate into little pockets of debates and have served

to further erode the power of political parties, who try to make broad based

appeals. PACs also give money to incumbents, which means that incumbents can

accumulate large reelection campaign funds, that in result, discourages

potential challengers. As a result, most incumbents win, not because they

outspend their challengers, but because they keep good potential opponents out

of the race. Conservatives are one of the big groups that influence politics

and for many reasons.

Conservative thinking has not only claimed the presidency; it has spread

throughout our political and intellectual life and stands poised to become the

dominant strain in American public policy. While the political ascent of

conservatism has taken place in full public view, the intellectual

transformation has for the most part occurred behind the scenes, in a network of

think tanks whose efforts have been influential to an extent that only five

years after President Reagan's election, begins to be clear.