Flashcards in 3.3 Pressure Groups Deck (24):
Examples of business pressure groups
American Business Conference
National Automobile Dealers Association
Examples of agriculture groups
American Farm Bureau Federation
National Farmers Union
Examples of professional groups
American Medical Association
American Bar Association
Examples of single issue groups
Examples of ideological groups
American Conservative Union
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Examples of group rights groups
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Examples of public interest groups
Friends of the Earth
What are the functions of pressure groups?
2. Citizen participation
3. Public education
4. Agenda-building (try to influence agendas of parties, legislatures and bureaucracies)
5. Programme monitoring (hold govt. to account and ensure they deliver on their promises)
How do pressure groups operate?
1. Electioneering and endorsement
4. Organising grassroots activity
What do PACs do?
They raise and then give campaign funds to candidates for political office. Trend that incumbents attract more PAC money than challengers
What is lobbying?
An attempt to exert influence on the policy-making, legislative or judicial process by individuals or organised groups.
What is the revolving door syndrome?
When lobby firms recruit former policy-makers
Examples of pressure groups using publicity
2016 NRA slammed Obama on social media over gun laws
What is the political significance of pressure groups?
1. The USA is a diverse, heterogenous society so there's a greater variety of interests to represent
2. American political system has many access points - 3 branches to try to influence
3. Weakness of political parties means citizens turn increasingly to pressure groups - divided government and poor party discipline
Pressure group methods to influence the legislature
1. Direct contact with Congressmen and their senior staff
2. Direct contact with committee members and their staff
3. Organising constituencies to make contact with their congressmen to express support/opposition to a policy initiative
4. Publicise voting records
5. Endorsement and opposition of congressmen in elections
6. Fundraising and campaigning for or against congressmen
Who launched a media campaign in support of Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court nomination in 2017?
How do pressure groups influence the executive?
Maintaining strong ties with relevant executive departments and regulatory commissions
What problems can emerge when pressure groups influence the executive?
Regulatory commission can act as lap dogs rather than watch dogs; this is particularly the case with 'producer' groups e.g. Companies, unions and business federations seeking funding, subsidies or protection
How do pressure groups influence the judiciary?
By offering amicus curiae (friends of the court) briefings - an opportunity to present their views to the court in writing before oral arguments are heard.
By supporting/opposing Supreme Court nominations
Example of amicus curiae brief
February 2017 Lee vs. USA by American Bar Association
Example of pressure group involved in Court case
2005 McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky
Arguments in favour of pressure groups
1. They are information givers - to members of Congress, govt. depts, courts and electorate
2. Policy formulators
3. Enhance participation
Arguments against pressure groups
1. Money becomes too important - 'pay to play'
2. American had 'the finest Congress that money can buy' - Edward Kennedy
3. Work too much for special interests rather than national interest
4. Elitist and largely unaccountable - detracts from elected officials
5. Lead to inequalities of power e.g. Focus on healthcare, tobacco, gun control
6. Revolving door syndrome - federal officials use their position to do favours in exchange for a good post when they leave office
7. Direct action methods can be inappropriate