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Flashcards in Pressure Groups Deck (22)
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1

 Pressure group

An organised interest group

Members hold similar beliefs and actively pursue ways to influence government

Allow participation in the political process between elections

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Types of pressure group

Sectional groups

Causal groups

3

Sectional groups

Seek to represent their own section within society

eg. profession / race / gender / social characteristic

4

Causal groups

Campaign for a particular cause or issue

5

Types of causal groups

Single-interest groups

Policy groups

Think-tanks

6

Functions of pressure groups

Representation

Citizen participation

Public education

Agenda building - CD, DVD and computer software companies worked together to get the government to target piracy, resulting in China closing down factories that were illegaly duplicating American goods

Scrutinise government policy - American Civil Liberties Union brought the first legal challenges to Trump's executive order placing a 90-day ban on entry into the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries

7

Methods used by pressure groups to fulfil their functions

Electioneering and endorsement

Lobbying

Organising grassroots activities

8

Examples of sectional pressure groups

NAACP

National Organisation for Women

9

Example of a single-interest group

NRA

10

Example of a policy group

The Sierra Club

11

Example of a think-tank

Institute for Policy Studies

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Examples of pressure group power

Total federal lobbying revenue in 2016 amounted to over $3.1 billion

NRA's role in 'DC v Heller' ruling

13

Impact of pressure groups on Congress

Lobby congressmen - Brady Bill (1994)

Lobby congressional committees - Can submit reports to Congress on proposed bill and give evidence to a committee

Organising constituents - January 2016 letter-writing camapign opposing the TPP

Publicising voting records - League of Conservation Voters

Endorsing candidates

14

Impact of pressure groups on the executive

Seek to maintain strong ties with relevant executive departments and agencies - impact regulatory work 

Able to play a limitless role in Presidential elections campaign through Super PACs

Iron triangles

League of Conservation of Voters - XL Keystone Pipeline

15

Impact of pressure groups on the judiciary

Take an interest in presidential nominations to the judiciary

Offer 'amicus curiae' briefings, allowing them to present their views to the court (eg. DC v Heller / Snyder v Phelps)

Can bring cases to the Supreme Court - ACLU vs travel ban EO

VS

SC decides which cases it will hear, and only make decisions on the basis of the constitution

16

Arguments for pressure groups

Provide politicians with useful information

Act as a sounding board for legislators at the policy formulation stage in the legislative process

Bring order to the policy debate, aggregating views and channelling the wishes of the members whom they represent

Broaden the opportunities for political participation

Increase levels of accountability of Congress and the executive branch - scrutiny

Increase opportunity for representation between elections

Enhance freedom of speech and freedom of association

17

Arguments against pressure groups

Revolving doors - John Boehner joining Squire Patton Boggs

Iron triangles

Inequality of groups

Special interests v the public interest - ethnic pressure groups (eg. AIPAC) accused of splintering US society

Buying political influence ('finest Congress money can buy' - Edward Kennedy)

Using direct action - BLM

18

Factors determining pressure group success

Size of membership

Finances

Strategic position in the political system

Balance of public opinion

Strength of countervailing groups

Attitude of the administration

Ability to access the media

19

Total federal lobbying revenue in 2016

$3.1 billion

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Iron triangle example

Vietnam Veteran's of America

Veteran's Affairs Committees of the House and Senate

The Department of Veterans Affairs

21

Policy areas where pressure groups have a significant impact

Environmental protection - Sierra Club

Womens rights - EMILY's list

Abortion rights - Lobby the Senate over presidential judicial appointments

Gun control - NRA

22

Do pressure groups enhance US democracy?

Scrutiny of government vs scutiny process involving money and infair access / revolving doors

Increasing representation (BLM) vs Tryanny of the majority (contrary to a pluralist democracy)

Encouraging participation (eg. Rise and Resist highlighting alleged civil liberties abuses by Trump)