What are the consequences of pluralism and federalism for thepolicy-making process in the US? Evaluate these consequences withreference to at least two policy areas.
‘Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you makeit less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade therights of other citizens’ (Madison, The Federalist Papers, No.10). This statement byJames Madison provided a solution to the Constitutional framers’ fears that the power of interest groups in the political arena would lead to a clash between power andfreedom. Thus, Madison advocated the theory of pluralism in which ‘a constitutionencourages multitudes of interests so that no single interest can ever tyrannise theothers. The basic assumption is that competition among interests will produce balanceand compromise, with all the interests regulating each other’ (Lowi et al, 2000, p.307).In this essay I intend to address the question by looking at two large policy areas,foreign and health policy, and assess how pluralism and federalism impact on theinfluence and mobilisation of interest groups on policy-making in the US and alsoevaluate how democratic it is. I will firstly extend on the definition of pluralismoutlined above and also explain federalism and its impact on interest groups in theUS. I will elaborate my discussion outlining foreign policy and later health policy,and discuss the importance and consequence of interest groups operating in a pluralistand federalist regime on the policy-making process.In America today, pluralism has a profound impact on the policy-making process asintense competition between organised groups try to shape public policy within andwithout government. However, the large number of interest groups competing for influence in the US does not necessarily mean that all interests are fully and equallyrepresented and we can see that the political format works more to the advantage of some types of interests than others. Indeed, ‘…the organisation of private interestsinto groups is inevitable, but the results are biased in favour of the wealthy and the powerful, who have superior education, opportunity and resources with which toorganise’ ( Lowi et al, 2000, p.330). However, according to Madison’s theory, to1