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Chapter 11

Chapter 11

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Published by: arippee on Nov 14, 2009
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Chapter 11: Nominations & Campaigns (pp 322-351)
Case Name: Eli Lilly BanditIssue: Influence of Interest Groups on Policymaking Process
Synopsis: Read pages 322-323 in
Government in America
textbook I.
The Role and Reputation of Interest Groups (pp. 324-325) A.
 Although turnout in elections has declines since 1960, participation in interestgroups has mushroomed.B.
The freedom to organize (the right ”peaceably to assemble, and petition”guaranteed by the First Amendment) is as fundamental to democratic governmentas freedom of speech or of the press.C.
interest group
is an organization of people with similar policy goals thattries to influence the political process to achieve those goals. In so doing, interestgroups try to influence every branch and every level of government.D.
Distinguishing interest groups from political parties.1.
Interest groups may support candidates for office, but American interestgroups do not run their own slate of candidates. By contrast interest groups inmany countries with multiparty systems often form their own political partiesto push for their demands.2.
Interest groups are often policy specialists, whereas parties are policygeneralists.3.
Unlike political parties, interest groups do not face the constraint imposed bytrying to appeal to everyone.E.
 Why do interest groups get bad press?1.
Despite their importance to democratic government, interest groupstraditionally have had a negative image in America. Even Madison’s term
was general enough to include both parties and groups.2.
There is little doubt that honest lobbying outpaces dishonest lobbying by awide margin. However, many political scientists now believe that honestlobbying poses greater problems for democracy then dishonest lobbying.II.
Theories of Interest Group Politics (pp. 325-328) A.
Pluralist Theory
argues that interest group activity brings representation to all;groups compete (no group wins or loses all the time) and counterbalance oneanother. (pg 326)1.
Groups provide a key link between people and government 
wherebyall legitimate interests in the political system can get a hearing fromgovernment
Chapter 11Page 2 of 10
Groups compete
constantly making claims on one another and thegovernment.3.
 No one group is likely to become too dominant 
because when onegroup grows too powerful, its opponents are likely to intensify theirorganization and thus restore balance to the system.4.
Groups usually play by the “rules of the game,” 
with few groups lying,cheating, stealing, or engaging in violence.5.
Groups weak in one resource can use another 
; i.e., big business mayhave money on its side, but labor has numbers. Regardless, all legitimategroups are able to affect public policy.B.
Elite Theory
argues that a few groups (mostly the wealthy) have most of thepower. (pp 326-327)1.
Elite theoristsmaintain the realpower ingovernment is heldby relatively fewpeople, key groups,and institutionslooking out forthemselves.2.
Elitists point tointerlocking andconcentrated powercenters. About one-third of top institutional positions – corporate boards,foundation boards, university trusteeships, and so on - are occupied by peoplewho hold more than one such position.3.
Power of multinational corporations causes consumer interests to be moreeasily pushed aside.4.
Honest lobbying is a problem because it benefits the few at the expense of themany.C.
Hyperpluralist Theory
asserts that too many groups are getting too much of what they want, resulting in a government policy that is often contradictory andlacking in direction. (pp. 327-328)1.
Theodore Lowi coined the phrase
interest group liberalism
(virtually allpressure group demands are legitimate and the job of the government is toadvance them all) to refer to government’s excessive deference to groups.2.
In an effort to appease every interest, government agencies proliferate, conflicting regulations expand, programs multiply, and the budget skyrockets
If cancer researchers convince the government to launch an antismoking campaign, tobacco sales may drop;
Chapter 11Page 3 of 10
If tobacco sales drop, government will subsidize tobacco farmers to easetheir loss.3.
Interest group liberalism is promoted by the network of 
 (also known as
iron triangles
 ). Entities composed of bureaucratic agencies,interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees, which havedominated some areas of domestic policymaking. Iron triangles arecharacterized by mutual dependency, in which each element provides keyservices, information, or policy for the others.4.
Relations between groups and the government become too cozy.
 Hard choices about national policy rarely get made as the government tries to favor all groups, leading to policy paralysis
. Hyperpluralisttheorists often point to the government’s contradictory tobacco-related policiesas an example of interest group liberalism.5.
Ironically, the recent interest group explosion is seen by some as weakening the power of subgovernments. With so many more interest groups to satisfyand with many of them competing against one another, a cozy relationshipbetween groups and the government is more difficult to sustain.
NOTE:Clarification on Concept!!

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