Unit 9 – Political Participation

-Influence of Texas Political Culture
Distrust of Concentration of Authority
Populist current - preference for direct consent of the government
Can create barriers to voter participation due to numerous elections, at multiple
times, long ballots
Voters sometimes wonder - “Why vote?”
-Explaining Voting or Non-voting
Probability that your individual vote will make a difference
So called “barriers to entry” - such as the cost of acquiring and processing the
tons of necessary political information
Effects of the dominance of only two parties in our system
-Why do People Vote
Pride in being informed and involved

Sense of duty and obligation

Belonging to community

Influence on politics and issues of the day
Outcome if everyone decides not to vote
Concern that opposing views will win
Critical for the legitimacy of a democratic system
-Political Socialization – Values-Opinions-Ideology
Values (and Beliefs)
Tend to be intensely held, long lasting and difficult to change.
Reflect the goals, aspirations, and ideals that shape an individual’s perceptions
about their world.
Arise from firmly rooted assumptions about reality and on deeply held religious
and/or ethical principles
Product of Socialization
Opinions (and Attitudes)
Can be changeable and temporary
Specific responses and views about particular issues, personalities, or events.
Often a shorthand, sometimes emotional, response
Opinions and attitudes about Politics are often derived from an ideology
Ideology
Complex and interrelated set of values (and beliefs) that form a general
philosophy of government. 

Generates an individual’s position on political and social issues and influences
their opinions (and attitudes) about events. 

Since they are based on values and beliefs, it tends to be intensely held, longlasting, and difficult to change. 

-Participation Strategies
Lobbying
Grassroots Lobbying
Attending a Public Hearing
Appointmenteering

Electioneering
Demonstrating
Litigating

Unit 10 – Interest Groups
-What is an Interest Group – Roles
Representation: Interest groups represent their constituents before government
Participation: facilitate people’s participation in politics
Education: help to educate their members, the public at large, and government
officials
Agenda building: new issues are brought onto the political agenda through
interest group advocacy
Program monitoring: Lobbying organizations keep track of how programs are
working in the field and try to persuade government to take action when
problems become evident
Resources
Membership - large and politically active • Lobbyists - transmission of
information;
convince policymakers
Political Action Committees (PACs) - pool contributions from members and
donate to candidates for public office
-Interest Groups in Texas
Interest Groups in the US and Texas do not enjoy uniform capabilities or
effectiveness 

Not all Texans are represented equally or effectively because groups bring
different levels of resources and intensity to bear on their efforts. 

Institutional arrangements, such as the design of the Legislature and the laws
regulating interest group activities also shape both the capabilities of interest
groups to affect policy making the distribution of influence among groups. 

Interest Groups in Texas are relatively powerful actors in the political process. 

-Types of Interest Groups
Private Interest Groups
Promote policies that provide benefits targeted to specific individuals and groups
Special interests” has a acquired a negative political connotation.
Goals may impose costs on other private groups while benefiting society as a
secondary or unintended consequence.
Pursuits can be a benefit to common welfare and good for the political system
Private Interest Groups
Promote policies that provide benefits targeted to specific individuals and groups
“Special interests” has a acquired a negative political connotation.
Goals may impose costs on other private groups while benefiting society as a
secondary or unintended consequence.
Pursuits can be a benefit to common welfare and good for the political system
-How They Do it – Techniques
Lobbying


Petitions and Letter Writing Campaigns
Public Demonstrations

Media Campaigns

Attending Public Meetings

Legal Action

Illegal Action

Political Parties
-Conditions for Party Change
Support from liberal activists and African Americans for civil rights loosened the
allegiance of conservative white voters, activists and contributors to the
Democratic Party
Highway construction and residential development patterns increased the
suburbanized population throughout the nation. Migration of conservatives and
diversification of the economy
Changes in party organizing and campaigning, including the shift to more
expensive methods, helped level the playing field.
Roles and Functions of Parties
Organizing societal interests

Recruiting political leaders

Communicating popular preferences

Structuring public debate

Structuring political conflict and competition
Organizing government
Linking state governments to the national government
Participating in Political Parties
Register and Vote

Run for party nomination to public office
Run for party office

Organize a precinct

Serve as an election judge

Talk politics
Future of Party Politics
Split-Ticket Voting - steady increase in party competition from the top to the
bottom of the ballot.
Party Identification - changing distribution of party allegiances in the electorate
Changing Demographics - growth of Hispanic population has various effects on
party politics
Organizational strength - critical role in the political fortunes of a party