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Define Pluralism

Theory which suggests that political power in a society doesn't rest simply with the electorate or with the governing elite, but is distributed amongst a number of groups representing widely different interests within society


Which author argued in favour of Pluralism?

Robert Dahl 'Who Governs'
- Political party nominations, urban redevelopment and public education
- Democracy is all about compromise


Define Elitism

Theory which suggests that political power in a society rests with a small group who gain power through wealth, family status or intellectual superiority


Who argues that the US is an elitist state?

Wright Mills 'The Power Elite'
- US ruled by a small governing elite, ordinary Americans had little control over how they were governed as a result


What are the 2 types of Pressure Group?



What are membership pressure groups? Give an example

Seek to represent individual Americans rather than organisations and groups
eg. NRA (single issue)
NAACP (sections of society)


What are institutional pressure groups? Give an example

Seek to represent other organisations and groups
- American Business Conference (business and trade groups)
- US Chamber of Commerce
- AFLCIO (trade unions)


What are the 5 functions of Pressure Groups?

Citizen Participation
Public Education
Agenda Building
Programme Monitoring


How do Pressure Groups represent?

Form an important link between the public and the politician
- Can represent citizens strongest views that a senator can't necessarily


Why is citizen participation a key function?

Many Americans seek far greater, more frequent participation in the democratic process
Participation in specific policy area (pro guns)


How do Pressure Groups educate?

Warn people of the possible dangers if issues aren't addressed, as well as the likely effect of decisions made by the government


Give an example of agenda building

Manufacturers and designers of CDs and computer software forced the government to take action against wide scale piracy of their goods in China
- promised to shut down such factories


What is programme monitoring?

Scrutinising and holding government to account in the implementation of policies to ensure that promises are fulfilled, policies delivered and regulations enforced


Give an example of programme monitoring on pharmaceutical drugs

Bush announced plans to allow for private retirement accounts in January 2005 at his SOTU address
- Club for Growth, conservative economic group, ran advertisements in favour
- AARP sent mail to members and organised forums against the bill


What are the 3 main reasons for joining a pressure group?



What are material reasons for joining a pressure group?

Rewards that individuals or companies get in return for their donations to a pressure group
- Sierra Club sends out a magazine with photo competitions
- AARP gives health care insurance to its members


What are purposive reasons for joining a pressure group?

Joining a group in order to be part of a movement or cause, to try and make society a better place
- Some join Amnesty International, in order to draw attention to torture and violations of human rights


What are solidarity reasons for joining a pressure group?

Social benefits brought about by interacting with like minded people.
- Joining National Aubudon Society allows watchers to join their local chapter, and so participate in local wildlife events


What are the 4 main methods used by Pressure groups?

Electioneering and Endorsement
Organising grassroots activities


What are PACs

Political Action Committees - Groups that collect money from their members and then give it to candidates and political parties that support their interests


Of the Top 12 Contributees in the Senate in the 2012 election, how many lost?

Scott Brown of Massachusetts, a Republican in a highly democratic state


What were the donations and results of such with Dave Camp in 2012?

Received 3 million dollars
Won 63% of the vote in the Michigan 4 District


What were the donations and results of such with Dean Heller in 2012?

Won the Senate seat in Montana with 46% of the vote
- Recieved 2.1 million dollars


How does the League of Conservation endorse candidates?

Publishes a 'Dirty Dozen' every 2 years, which are the 12 candidates who have the worst record on environmental conservation


What was the effect of the League of Conservations list in 2012?

6 incumbents were defeated, only 1 incumbent was re-elected


How did the AARP affect a 2012 election in North Carolina?

Put 10 questions to two candidates - Incumbent Hayes and Challenger Kissel
Kissel agreed with all 10 of the AARPs questions, Hayes agreed with none
Kissel was endorsed and won the vote 55% to 45%


Define Lobbying

An attempt to exert influence on the policy-making, legislative or judicial process by individuals or organised groups


What is the K Street Corridor

A reference to the fact that most pressure groups are based in Washington, where they can directly lobby members of federal, state and local government


What kind of Pressure Groups provide voting cues?

Democrats - AFLCIO, NAACP
Republicans - American Conservative Union, US Chamber of Commerce


Give an example of issue advertising

AARP mounted a campaign against Bush's proposals to reform social security to create private retirement accounts. Ad tried to persuade viewers that the plan was an over reaction