The Effects of Interest Groups on Politics

1401 Words6 Pages
Influence of interest groups on the American legislature We elect politicians on the basis on the issues by which they stand, and these issues are either held up or weakened by the numerous interest groups that exist today. Interest groups target both major and minor issues, using all of their resources to sponsor or overpower the groups’ concern. Interest groups are composed of a limited range of the body of voters who have a great stake in the issues their group support. They make evident the issues their group supports. Their resources are used in an attempt to make their issue public policy. Interest groups are persistent; they do not give up until they succeed. They lobby congress, take legal action, and attempt to influence election results in order to benefit their cause. ”The AARP monitors local and national legislation of interest to its members.”1 The AARP, an example of a non-PAC interest group, focus their efforts to electioneering and media. They influence the elections through their voter guides, election forums and the large senior voting population. Through television, radio, and periodicals the AARP is able to achieve many of their goals to aid retired persons. In 1958, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, a retired educator, founded an organization dedicated to helping all persons over the age of 50.2 The organization, called the American Association for Retired Persons, or AARP, has grown over the years and reports to have 30 million and four thousand chapters nationwide.2 The AARP is unlike any other interest groups because it is a non-profit organization. Similarly to other interest groups, the AARP is a policy specialist that has a narrow view. Their three main policy goals are economic security for the elderly, affordable comprehensive health care for all, and improvements in the attitudes about the elderly in the workplace.4 Research on elderly needs and the economy, as well as a large volunteer network help the AARP influence thousands of potential members every year.5 The AARP is the oldest and largest interest group focused completely on senior citizens, using its numbers and resources to persuade policy makers for the benefit of the members of the organization. The principle thrust of the AARP is to effectuate positive legislative action on the part of ... ... middle of paper ... ...g government is over.” While supporting the general consensus of the public, it opposes the ideals of the AARP. With republicans in control of congress, the AARP has come up against major resistance when attempting to pass legislation in their favor. Older citizens are no longer viewed as they were in the early half of the twentieth century, instead they are viewed as successful members of society that are no longer completely dependant on an outside organization for their welfare. Recently, the AARP has come under the scrutiny of the United States’ senate, led by Senator Alan K. Simpson, a republican from Wyoming.22 The senator has done this by questioning their status as a non-profit organization benefited by a tax exemption and unlimited lobbying privileges.23 In addition, Senator Simpson questions the non-partisan nature of the group, saying that “the organization imposes a policy agenda on an unwilling membership”.24 The AARP itself acknowledges that it is difficult to rally its members composed of such a great diversity of viewpoints.25 The AARP must find more innovative methods of reaching the electorate and to place themselves in to a position where they are above reproach
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