File Name: pros and cons of interest groups .zip
The relationships between interest groups, political parties, and elections have always been dynamic, but in recent years change has accelerated in ways that have favored some interests over others. This chapter considers these developments as the result of a variety of factors, the most critical of which are the growth of polarization, a new legal landscape for campaign finance, and new organizational forms.
The chapter goes on to suggest, that as bipartisanship has ebbed, elections have become winner-take-all affairs and interest groups are pushed to choose sides. The chapter further suggests that the rise of super PACs is especially notable as wealthy individuals have become increasingly important, single sources of campaign money, supplanting in part traditional interest groups, especially conventional PACs. It concludes that even as sums spent by super PACs and other interest groups have skyrocketed, the impact of their direct spending on persuading voters remains uncertain.
The funds, though, did not really come from the RGA. Freshly laundered, this money was then sent to a Baker super PAC, the real source of the money hidden from the public. A few weeks later, Baker narrowly defeated the Democrat candidate, Martha Coakley. This may seem like an all too typical case of interest groups behaving badly.
Although there is a familiarity to this story, it also reflects a newly emerging model of interest group electoral persuasion. In a hyper-partisan era with a changed legal landscape, parties, interest groups, and super PACs are building tight alliances to support candidates for office.
The secrecy provided by campaign finance law and the freedom for institutions and individuals to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns, forces us to rethink what we know about parties, groups, and elections.
Here we look at this growing phenomenon, both analyzing existing scholarship and thinking about the next stage of research on interest groups and elections.
To provide some context, we begin with what long-accepted models say about the role of interest groups in elections. Next, the core of the argument is put forward: that the emergence of winner-take-all elections in an open spending environment has fundamentally altered the relationship between groups and parties.
We then turn to patterns of interest group electioneering and ask about effectiveness in strategy and tactics, applying the question to both legislative races and ballot questions. Since the thesis here is that there has been a shift in the role of interest groups in the election process, it might be useful to review what this new direction is a change from.
Where to anchor a historical point of comparison is a bit arbitrary, so it might make the most sense to begin at the beginning of the modern study of interest groups. This literature from the s and early s emphasized bargaining with policymakers in a system where interest groups had considerable access to those who were responsible for making decisions that affected them Dahl ; Key ; Truman With such access, interest groups were able to plead their case and, often, gain some of what they wanted.
This model had staying power. It was built around a norm of bipartisanship and for Congress, this meant that senior Democrats and senior Republicans would work together in committees and subcommittees to synthesize partisan preferences and interest group demands.
In individual policy areas, the committee chair, the relevant agency head, and a leading industry lobbyist would reach policy decisions in a consensual manner, subsequently presenting a bill to the larger committee and to then to one or both houses of Congress.
Policymaking was never as closed off and autonomous as was portrayed in the iron triangle model, but still, it is interesting that this conceptual framework assumed that a single interest group could speak for an entire sector. Perhaps for a time a handful of large, encompassing lobbies like the American Petroleum Institute or the American Farm Bureau Federation could do so.
Unlike the optimism of the early pluralists, the subsystem school made no claim that all interests were represented. Deregulation, an expanding economy, and the development of new industries, many in technological fields, reshaped the policymaking process.
Indeed, expertise was the coin of the realm, and Heclo depicted policymaking guided by science as well as by politics. What is distinctive about the role of interest groups in the subsystem model and then in issue networks, is that their Washington lobbying was not supported by a strong electoral presence.
It is not that there was no electoral activity by interest groups, but election law limited what they could do. Executives could contribute as individuals, but corporations themselves did not mobilize for elections. Coordination for business interests came from BIPAC Business-Industry Political Action Committee , which focused on identifying congressional races that were reasonably close and where Republican donors could best put their money.
The Chamber of Commerce played a similar role. Thus, interest group persuasion in this earlier era was manifested in efforts to influence Washington policymaking and was not dependent on election outcomes. By no means were elections seen as unimportant, but they were not considered determinative in the way they are today. Since major interest groups had substantial access and legislators always want to please voters at home, money from lobbies did not play anywhere near the role it did after the FECA amendments opened the door to the formation of corporate PACs.
Today, interest group politics is strikingly different. Elections are crucial for many organized interests as the wrong party in power in the White House or in control of a single house of Congress can mean being on the defensive until there is a change in party control. And that can be a very long time. Policymaking is no longer a product of subsystems but, rather, of a macro-level system. For interest groups to persuade policymakers to do the right thing on issues, they must first work to persuade the US electorate to put the right party in power.
The explosion in the numbers of interest groups coincided with a period of party decline. The emergence of liberal public interest groups worked against the Democrats as they offered an alternative channel for political involvement. Conservative interest groups emerged more slowly Teles On the surface, parties also appeared to be weakened by a significant change in campaign finance laws.
Interest groups always had back-door channels for routing campaign money to candidates. While in Congress, Lyndon Johnson was a conduit for cash from oil interests that he subsequently disbursed to individual legislators Caro , — But the FECA amendments facilitated donations through the front door. This increasing role for interest groups followed a logical relationship. Surprisingly, this logic did not hold for very long.
By the mids scholars were beginning to speak of party revival rather than of party decline Ceaser The strategy that emerged from PACs was to follow the path of influencing sitting legislators rather than to become a new force in the elections themselves.
PACs initially showed a decided preference for donating to incumbents and, over time, that preference has grown to more than 80 percent of all PAC contributions Berry and Wilcox , As discussed later, new avenues for interest giving have developed recently and PACs have become a less significant source of overall campaign funding. Interestingly, since the initial surge of PACs in the decade after the law was changed in , there has been little growth in their numbers Ballotpedia In the four election cycles since Citizens United was decided in , the total amount of PAC contributions on an inflation adjusted basis has actually declined slightly Campaign Finance Institute Such coalitions can be broad, incorporating many different groups with a large array of goals.
The paramount goal, of course, is winning elections so those policy objectives can be reached. This cooperation between parties and groups accelerated at a time of increasing polarization of the US electorate.
There are many roots of polarization, but the most impactful catalyst may have been the Civil Rights Movement as it sorted different sectors of US p. Schlozman Parties are now more ideologically homogeneous, and this has had far-reaching implications upon our electoral system Abramowitz ; Mason ; Levendusky These citizen groups push each of the parties toward the ends of the ideological spectrum.
The army of volunteers blanketed the district and, indeed, succeeded in flipping the seat Lewis-Krause Growing polarization has been fueled by structures and institutions, not just anger and resentment.
There is a prominent outrage industry in the United States that makes money by promoting the perspective of politics a war. Rhetoric characterized by invective, character assassination, purposeful distortion, and vulgarity lies at the heart of content produced by this large constellation of political opinion media. An analysis by Berry and Sobieraj concludes that the business model of such media is to make viewers, listeners, and readers angry. Provoking anger might seem to be a curious business strategy, but anger is compelling and it brings the audience back the next day.
Using marketing data, Berry and Sobieraj calculate that the aggregate audience of cable TV news, talk radio, and leading conservative and liberal blogs is 47 million a day Since Donald Trump has taken office, viewership for cable TV is up around 50 percent. Polarization is also facilitated by the system of party primaries. There has not been an upsurge in viable primary challenges, but the handful of Republican legislators defeated by candidates identified as Tea Party adherents sent a tidal wave of fear throughout the party Boatright The most prominent challenge was the defeat of Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by David Brat, who painted the conservative Cantor as an establishment stooge and outflanked him on the right.
What is significant for our purposes here is that primaries are opportunities for ideological interest groups to exert influence on the party they are most closely allied with. Since primaries are low-turnout affairs with disproportionate participation by ideologues, they offer opportunities to candidates p.
Even if such candidates fail, they pull the establishment candidates toward the ends of the ideological spectrum. In turn, this gives issue-based citizen groups more reason to become involved. Bawn et al. Increasingly, party line votes in both committees and on the floor characterize the modern Congress. Elections have become winner take all affairs Hacker and Pierson If the party in power in the White House can control both houses, it has the opportunity to pass the legislation the president has promised to the American people.
If the opposition party to the president can control just one house of Congress, it can frustrate him and, then, in the next campaign emphasize his inability to do anything meaningful. As control of the House, Senate, and White House has see-sawed in recent history, the incentives to obstruct and wait until the next election have been high Lee For interest groups, the implications of this change in the structure of US politics is profound.
With bipartisanship elusive, working with the moderates from both parties to help develop passable, consensus legislation may hold out little promise for lobbies.
Conversely the pressure on interest groups to choose sides may be on the rise. There are no reliable figures on this, but impressionistic evidence suggests that many groups have developed stronger ties between themselves and one of the two parties.
Although big business has always leaned toward the Republicans, the fervent opposition to the Democrats in recent years by peak trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business is striking. The Chamber of Commerce, historically viewed as the sober voice of the broad business community in the United States, was a virulent opponent to the Obama administration during the eight years it was in power.
Conversely, some corporations lean decidedly toward the Democrats, notably high-tech firms from Silicon Valley. The long-drawn-out nature of many issues has created hard lines where groups have become strongly identified with one or the other party; many health-related lobbies moved more openly toward the Democrats over the enduring fight over the Affordable Care Act.
The highest level of support is the independent campaign, a tactic open to the truly rich and to political committees that rely on a network of wealthy supporters more on this later. But party organizations in campaigns must draw on interest groups for the basic labor necessary to compete for office. And today, the local party apparatus is a loose coalition of interest groups, party leaders, and grassroots activists Masket This has always been the case, but as elections at all levels have become nationalized, the coordination between interest groups and parties has become more critical Hopkins Organized interest structures have evolved, and the interrelationship of interest groups and parties is a foundation of understanding modern elections.
Our line of inquiry here addresses three interrelated questions. First, what do interest groups do to integrate themselves into party electioneering?
Big or small, decisions have the power to alter things at both a micro and a macro level. The mark of any good manager is being able to make the right decision at the right time, even in less-than-ideal circumstances. There are a number of different decision-making models that managers can employ when needed. Often cited as the classical approach, the rational model of decision-making is the most commonly used method, and typically consists of the following steps:. This means that, due to the step-by-step methodology, decision-makers are equipped to deal with difficult problems in complex environments.
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Get your free copy here. The United States remains the most important ally of Japan and of Korea. Over time, the economies of Japan and Korea have emerged as the economic powerhouses they are today. These two crucial American allies in Asia are now engaged in a war of memory, and America is a new battleground in that war. Those lobbied by Korean or Japanese interest groups have been identified as decision-makers or parties with leverage. Politicians who are contacted by comfort women advocacy groups have been chosen because they can introduce or offer support for legislation for the creation of a memorial in the town, city or state where they serve.
Interest groups form when individuals seek to put their individual voices together into a collective organization that can fight for specific results. Many of them are created for specific issues so that there is a chance to influence public policies in specific ways.
This blog was updated on June 21st, to reflect on the several changes made to Microsoft Teams over the year. Working with Microsoft Office adoption we often get asked about Microsoft Teams — what are the pros and cons? Should we start using it — How do we explain it to our users. For many organizations that are already onboard the Microsoft journey, the question is not if , it is when and how. Microsoft has made a strategic decision on Teams as the application for intelligent communication, discontinuing their investments in Skype for Business.
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