PSC Exam 2
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Chapter 8 Key Terms and Concepts
Chapter 8 Key Terms and Concepts
When selecting the U.S. president, there are two ways to count votes:
- The popular vote is the number for votes citizens cast for each of the presidential candidates.
- The electoral vote is the number of votes electoral college members cast for each of the presidential candidates. If a candidate wins a certain state, the candidate wins the votes of electoral college members. These votes are the ones that determine the winner.
Many congressional races occur during presidential election, and there are two ways to classify most congressional races:
- Most congressional elections are an example of a normal election, with relatively low seat shift and rather stable party ratios, ultimately leading to high reelection rates for both party’s incumbents.
- Nationalized elections occur rarely, and typically bring about a large seat shift and low reelection rates for one party’s incumbents. These are often associated with a broad shift in the national political climate.
Elections allow citizens the opportunity to choose their representatives and to reward or punish incumbent politicians.
- Those currently holding political office are known as incumbents.
- A challenger is a politician running for an office that he or she does not hold at the time of the election.
- A challenger is a politician running for an office that he or she does not hold at the time of the election.
- Voters often choose between voting for the incumbent and the challenger by evaluating the incumbent’s performance in the past term, which is called retrospective evaluation.
- There are two steps to congressional elections: the primary, when a political party determines which nominee will run on their behalf in the general election, when the voters determine who the office holder will be.
- While senators represent the entirety of one state, House members represent specific districts.
- Most House and Senate races are determined using plurality voting, meaning that the person who received the most votes wins, while others use majority voting, which requires that a candidate has to receive more than 50 percent of the votes to be declared winner.
The rules of voting instruments can influence the results:
- The likelihood of an undervote is influenced by the type of voting instrument.
- Different counties use different forms of ballots: some use keypunch paper ballots, some use mechanical hole punch ballots, while others use touch-screen voting machines, and there are many more.
- Primaries and Caucuses: At the state level, the primary and caucus nominees win delegates, who cast votesin the national convention to determine their party’s candidate for the general election.
- The Democratic Party: uses proportional allocation of delegates reflecting each candidate’s vote share.In addition to these pledged delegates, Democrats also have superdelegates, who are party leaders and elected officials. Superdelegates are not committed to any candidate and can make their decision based on their own judgment.
- The Republican Party allocates delegates in two ways: proportional allocation and winner-take-all, depending on the state.
While success in the early contests is not a sure predictor of receiving the nomination, a poor showing in the early contests is likely to lead to an early exit. Because of the importance of these early contests, many states are frontloading: moving their primaries and caucuses earlier in the year to exert more influence on the outcome.
The National Convention
- Each party hs its own nationl convention, where delegates vote for the party's nominee.
- Vice Presidents canidates are officially named and the party platform is voted on.
- The convention is heavily publicized and gives the party an opportunity to increase its visibility.
- Voters actually vote for the candidate's pledged suppots (electors), who then vote for the president.
- Electors: the number of electors a state has equals that state's number of House and Senate Members.
- All states besides Nebraska and Maine, state electors are determined through a winner-take-all-system.
- Winner Take All System: causes candidates focusing on large states (with lots of electors) and swing states, at the expense of smaller and less competitive states.
- Electoral College: the rules of the electoral college do not require that a candidate receive a majority of the popular vote, only the majority of the electoral college votes.
Decisions in Running for Electoral Office:
- Following each election, a party’s control of a seat is determined to be safe or vulnerable based on a number of calculations. Political parties and candidates make
- strategic decisions based on these assessments.
- -Possible to raise money for the campaign?
- -Will the upcoming year be one that favors a particular party?
- -Will the incumbent be seeking reelection or will be an open seat?
Things Candidates Do to Secure Themself in Campaigns:
- Most incumbent operate a permanent campaign which is always gathering support by traveling their district and talking with constituents.
- Some politicians will attempt to increase support by boosting the economy; known as Politcal Business Cycle
- "Money Primary" - candidates compete by beginning fundraising well in advance of the election
- "Talent Primary" - candidates work to attract talented people to join in their campaign staff
What Candidates Do During the Campaign?
- Retail Politics: Candidates may contact voters directly
- Wholesale Politics: indirectly contacting voters through mailings and other advertisements.
- GOTV: candidates seek to mobilize their supports to vote on election day
- Publicize their Campaign Platform (Issue Stances): candidates must balance their stances and their party's stances. Issue stances determines what campaign support groups contribute to the campaign and endorse the candidate.
- Common Beliefs: candidates attempt to present themselves to the people as "average Americans" doing everyday things like they do.
- Challenge Their Opponents: debate with opponents on policy issues and swapping columns in newspaper opinion and editorials. They also use negative campaign strategies such uncovering damaging info about opponents and running "attack ads".
- Each year, parties, candidates, organize interests and business spend over 1 Billion primarily on advertisements
- Campaign Ads are Generally Positive
- Advocacy Group Ads are Generally Negative
- Campaign Ads arguably depress voter turnout and reinforces negative stereotypes about Gov't.
- Campaign Ads = Higher Interest in Campaigns and Highlight differences between candidates helping voters make informed choices
Federal Elections Commission
- tasked with regulating how much money political campaigns spend and how they spend it.
- 6 appointees but no more than 3 from each party to prevent any majoritys.
- Most recent set of rules was in 2002 known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA); also known as McCain-Feingold Act.
- Hard Money - is the money political action committees give directly to candidates which is limited by under the B.C.R.A.
- Soft Money - is the money that can be used to support campaign advertising and the mobilization of voters, as long as it does exlicitly support or oppose a candidate.
- Political parties are limited in the amount of hard money they give to candidates but are not limited in their "independent expenditures" to support a candidate.
Campaign finance reform is difficult because it requires balancing the right to free speech with the idea that the rich should not dominate campaigns and decide outcomes.
- Most campaign constributions come from small donations by everyday americans and not big business.
- The majority of the money spent in campaigns is alloted to television ads which can be extremely expensive
- Raising a lot does not gurantee outcomes
- Little evidence that campaign contributions alter legislator behavior, or that contributors "buy votes".
- The number of people who turnout is generally around 50 percent of elgible citizens for general elections, and about 30 percent for primaries and caucuses.
- Turnout is lower among younger citizens, nonwhite citizens, and less educated citizens.
- Many people who vote do so because they feel an obligation of citizenship.
- Many people who do not vote are angry with the government and feel that the government's actions will not help them.
Deciding Whom to Vote For:
- Gathering information on all the candidates is costly, so citizens rely on voting cues as shortcuts to a reasonable vote.
- Some use incumbency, partisanship, and personal economic experience as a way to inform vote choice
- Others vote based on the candidate's backgrounds or life experiences
Normal and Nationalized Elections
- Vote Decisions for presidential and congressional elections are made independently, particulary in normal elections.
- Split ticket voting usually occurs because voters often focus on the candidate not the party
- In nationalized elections, voters focus more on the party that is in power and vote against most of the candiates of that party.
- Rupublican and Democratic parties provide clear and systematic differences on a wide range of issues
- Voters are able to make reasonable votes based on cues and shortcuts
- Elections provide a mechanism for citizens to control how politicians behave and to hold them accountable for their actions.
a local meeting in which party members select a party's nominee for the general election
Begin Chapter 8 Key Terms
a primary election in which only registered members of a political party vote
idea that a popular president can generate additional support for candidates affiliated for his party
vote to select their party's nominee for presidency. They are elected in a series of caucuses and primaries.
states moving their presidential primaries or caucuses to take place earlier in the nomination process to exert influence over the outcome
election in which voters cast ballots for house, senate, and a president/vice-president every 4 years
a typical congressional election in which the reelection rate for 1 party's house/senate is low.
normal election in which incumbent reelection rate is high - influences over the house and senate are local.
primary in which any registered voter can vote regardless of party affiliation
Paradox of Voting
question of why citizens vote even though their individual vote stands little chance of changing an election outcome.
voting system iin which a candidate who wins the most votes in a geographic location wins regardless of getting a majority of votes.
Political Business Cycle
attempts by elected officials to manipulate the economy before elections by growing employment or reducing unemployment.
the practice of deciding how many delegates are allocated to each candidates based on popular votes.
questions are presented in a biased way to influence the respondent.
a vote that is likely to be consistent with the voters true preference for 1 candidate over the others.
a citizens judgement of an officeholders job performance since the last election
under a majority voting system a second election is held to determine a winner after no majority was found in the primary
a ballot in which a voter selects candidates for more than 1 political party
a ballot in which a voter selects candidates from only 1 political party
democratic members of congress/party officials selected by collegues to be delegates at party's presidential nomination.
highly competitive states in which both major party canidates stand a good chance of winning state's electoral votes.
Winner Take All
practice of assigning all of a given states delegates to a candidate who recieves most popular vote. Some republican state primaries use this system.
What Are Political Parties?
Political parties are organizations that run candidates for political office and coordinate the actions of officials elected under the party banner. American politicalparties are best described as a collection of nodes, groups of people who belong to, are candidates of, or work for a political party, but do not necessarily work together or hold similar preferences
The First Party System (1789-1828)
- The first political parties were the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republications.
- Federalists: favored a strong central govt and a national bank
- Jeffersonian-Democratic-Republican: favored concentrated state power
- These differed from the modern party system in that few citizens thought of themselves as party members, and candidates did not campaign as representatives of a political party
The Second Party System (1829-1856)
- Democratic Party: evolved from the Jeffersonian-Democratic-Republic Party; most of the politicians became democrats when the party dissolved.
- The Democratic Party Embodied: it cultivated electoral support as a way of strengthening the party's hold on power in Washington. The party also built organizations at the local and state level to mobilize citizens to support the party's candidates. This became know as the Party Principle.
- Party Principle: the idea that a political party exists as an organization distinct from its elected officials or party leaders.
- Whigs: a party formed from the dissolved Jeffersonian-Democratic-Republican Party who didnt become Democrats
The Third Party System (1857-1892)
- The issues of slavery split the second party system.
- Republican Party: formed from anti-salvery whigs. The party also attracted antislavery democrats.
- Parties exist only because elites, politicians, party leaders, and activists want them to.
The Fourth Party System (1893-1932)
- While the Civil War settled the issue of slavery, it did not change the identity of the major American Parties.
- The Democratic and Republican parties both still existed. They differed on issues such as the withdrawal of the union army from the southern states and the size/scope of the federal govt.
The Fifth Party System (1933-1968)
- The New Deal Coalition assembled groups who alligned with and supported the Democratic Party in support of New Deal policies including African Americans, Catholics, Jewish People, union members and white southerners.
- This change established the basic division between Democratics and Republicans that would persist for the rest of the 20th c.
- Democrats: favored large federal govt that took an active role in managing the economy and regulating individual and corporate behavior.
- Republicans: believed many of the programs should be provided by the state and local govts or kept entirely seperate from the government.
The Sixth Party System (1969-Present)
- Changes in political issues and technology fueled the transition to the 6th party system.
- Democrats: came out on the "seperate but equal" system of racial discrimination in southern states, and in favor of programs designed to ensure equal opportunity for minority citizens. They also argued to expand the federal govt into health care funding, antipoverty programs, education, and public works.
- Republicans: opposed expanding the role of government into society.
- Both republicans and democratic parties became Parties in Service, involving recruiting, training, and campaigning for their party's congressional and presidential candidate.
- Realignments: each party system is seperated from the next by a realignment, a change in the size or composition of the party coalitions or in the nature of the issues that divide the parties.
- Realignments typically occur within an election cycle or two, but they can also occur gradually over the course of a decade or longer.
Modern Party Organization
- The principle policy making body in each party organization is the national committee which is comprised of party representatives from each state.
- Parties include Constituency Groups (Democrat Group) and Teams (Republican Group) - organizations within the party that work to attractthe support of particualar demographic groups who likely share the parties view.
- Political Action Committees (PACS): interest groups or divisions of interest groups that can raise money to contribute to campaigns or to spend on ads in support of candiates. They are limited in how much money they get from donors and how much they spend on electioneering.
- 527 Organizations: are tax exempt groups formed primarily to influence elections through voter mobilization efforts and issue ads that do not directly endorse or oppose a candidate. However they are NOT always affiliated with the parties or agree with their positions.
- Parties are like Brand Names because they offer a shorthand way of providing information to voters about the partys candidates.
- The national party organization is unable to force state or local parties to share its positions on issues or comply with other requests. State and local parties make their own decisions about state-and local level candidates and issue positions.
- Political Machine: unofficial patronage system within a political party that seeks to gain political power and government contracts, jobs, and other benefits for party leaders, workers, and supporters.
The Party in Government
- Consists of elected officials in national, state, and local offices who directly affect government policy.
- In the House and Senate, the parties have working groups known as Caucuses (Democrats) and Conference (Republicans). These serve as forums for debate, compromise, and strategizing among paty's elected officials.
- Modern congress is Polarized in both the House and Senate; both parties hold diff. views on govt. policies. Magnitude of polarization has increased over the years in Congress.
The Party in the Electorate
- The party in the electorate consists of citizens who identify with a particular political party.
- Party ID: is critical to understanding votes and other forms of political participation. Party ID determines the most probable party vote of the voter.
- Activists: those who actively participate in the party organization. Only 5-10 percent of the populatio are Activists.
Early theories of party ID were thought to be of heart-felt attachment but now it is understood to be a Running Tally
of which the voter changes views/votes based on new information and what is seen in politics. However it usually reinforces loyalties.
- 1970s - 50 percent identified as Democrats and 20 percent as Republicans
- 1990s - evened out by 2002 - 50%/50%
- Independents: were unaffiliated with a party because
- they were in the process of shifting their identification from one party to the other. Others saw independents as evidence of dealignment, a decline in the percentage of citizens who identify with one of the major parties, usually over the course of a decade or longer. Many people who identify as independents actually have some weak attachment to one of the major political parties.
- Party Coalitions: groups who identify with a political party,
- usually described in demographic terms, such as African American Democrats or evangelical Republicans. The Republican and Democratic party coalitions differ systematically in terms of their policy preferences.
Role of Policial Parties in a Democracy
- Recuiting Candidates: the process of recruiting candidates has become systematic with national party leaders becoming key elements in recruiting and finding candidates. In most states, the # of signatures needed to earn a candidate a spot on the ballot is lower for the major parties than the independent or minor party candidates. Therefore virtually all candidates for congress or presidency run either as a Democrat or Republican even if they do not stand for the party's view.
- Nominating Candidates: national parties manage the nomination process for presidential candidates. Voters in primaries and caucuses determine how many of each candidates supporters become delegats to the party's national nominating convention where delegates of each state select the party's presidential and vice presidential nominees and approve the party platform.
- Campaign Assistance: along with supplying campaign funds, party organizations give candidates other kinds of assistance ranging from offering campaign advice to conducting polls for them.
- Party Platforms: a set of objectives outlining the party's issue positions and priorities, although candidates are not required to support their party's platform. Party platforms generally reflect the brand name differences giving citizens an easy judgement about candidates.
Cooperation in Government
Conditional Party Govt:
refers to the theory that lawmakers from the same party will cooperate to develop policy proposals. These policies are preferably attractive to Backbenchers
or not leadership position holding legislators.
- Developing Agendas: strategies for legislative action. Leaders in Congress use their power to determine when proposals are considered, which amendmants are allowed, and how long debate will proceed to ensure speedy consideration and to prevent the opposing minority party from delaying votes or offering alternatives.
- Coordination: coordination is important in enacting laws. Unless supporters in congress can amass a two-thirds majority to override a veto, they need the president's support. Similiarly the president needs the support of congress to enact proposals that he or she favors. Thus, the president routinely meets with congressional leaders from his party, and occasionally meets with the entire caucus or conference.
- Accountability: One of the most important roles of political parties in a democracy is giving citizens identifiable groups to reward or punish for government actions, thereby providing a means for voters to focus their desire for accountability
- During period of Unified Government, a situation in which one party holds a majoirty of seats in the House and Senate and the president is a member of that party, that party is in the Party in Power, it has enough votes to enact policies in Congress.
- During periods of During times of Divided Government,
- when one party controls Congress but not the presidency or the House and Senate are controlled by different parties, the president’s party is considered the party in power.
- Responsible Parties: legislators from the same party working together, running on the same campaign platform, work together in Washington, and be collectively held accountable ... NEVER EXISTED IN USA POLITICS
- Not Significant Players on the Political Stage
- Very Few Americans Identify w/ Minor Parties since they only exist for a short period of time
- Many see voting for minor parties being a waste of a vote due to the concept of plurality voting
- People vote for minor parties because they relate to their views and positions moreso than the other major parties whom they find incapable as leaders of the government
- Duverger's Law: states that in a democracy with single-member districts and plurality voting, like the USA, only two parties candidates will have a realistic change of winning political office.
- Single Member Districts: comprise an electoral system in which every elected offical represents a geographically defined area, such as a state or congressional district, and each area elects 1 representative.
- Plurality Voting: is a voting system in which the candidate who receives the most votes within a geographic area wins an election, regardless of whether that candidate wins a majority of the votes.
What Kind of Democracy Do American Political Parties Create?
Despite all the efforts parties put forth to select good candidates, the problem remainsthat the people who make up American political parties are not primarily interestedin democracy; they are interested in their own careers, policy goals, and winningpolitical office.
- Recruiting Candidates: One of the most important things the Republican and Democratic parties can do for democracy is to recruit candidates for national political offices who can run effective campaigns and responsibly uphold their elected positions.
- Working Together in Campaigns: Parties can also work to simplify voters’ choices by trying to get candidates to emphasize the same issues or take similar issue positions. The problem is that members of the party organization and the party in government do not always agree on what government should do. Party leaders have very little power over candidates by way of rewards and punishments.
- Working Together in Office: Voters cannot expect that putting one party in power is going to result in specific policy changes. Instead, policy outcomes depend on how (and whether) individual officeholders from the party can resolve their differences.
- Accountability: A party must serve as an accountability mechanism that gives citizens an identifiable group to reward when policies work well and to punish when policies fail.
- Citizens’ Behavior: Citizens are under no obligation to give money or time to the party they identify with or to any of the party’s candidates. They do not have to vote for their party’scandidates, or even to vote at all. When party members refuse to cooperate, political parties may be unable to do the things that help American democracy work well.
Begin Chapter 7 Vocabulary
Legislators who do not hold leadership positions within their party caucus or conference
The use of party names to evoke certain positions or issues
The organization of Democrats in the House and the Senate that meets to discuss and debate the party's positions on various issues in order to reach a concensus and to assign leadership positions
Conditional Party Governemnt
The theory that lawmakers from the same party will cooperate to develop policy proposals
The organization of Republicans in the House and the Senate that meets to discuss and debate the party's positions on various issues in order to reach a concensus and to assign leadership positions
A term describing issues that raise diagreements within a party coalition or between poltical parties about what government should do
A decline in the % of citizens who identify with one of the major parties; usually occurs over the course of a decade or longer.
A situation in which the House, Senate, and Presidentcy are not controlled by same party such as if the Democrats hold th emajoity of House and Senate seats, and the president is a Republican.
The principle that in a democracy with a single member districts and plurality volting, like the USA, only two parties candidates will have a realistic chance of wining political office.
a tax exempt group formed primarily to influence elections through voter mobilization efforts and issue ads that do not directly endorse or oppose a candidate. Unlike politcal action committees, they are not subject to contribution limits and spending caps.
New Deal Coalition
The assemblage of groups who aligned with and supported the Democratic Party in support of New Deal policies during the 5th party system including African Americans, Catholics, Jews, Union Members, and White Southerners.
groups of people who belong to, are candidates of, or work for a political party but do not necessarily work together or hold similiar policy preferences.
meeting every 4 years at which states delegates select the partys presidential and VP nominees and approve the party platform.
Parties in Service
Role of parties in recruiting, training, and contributing to and campaigning for congressional and presidential candidates - became popular in 6th party system.
Party in Power
Under unified governemnt, the party that controls the House, Senate, and the Presidency. Under divided government, the presidents party.
Party in the Electorate
the grouup of citizens who identify with a specific political party
a set of objectives outlining the party's issue positions and priorities - although candidates are not required to support their party's platform
the idea that a political party exists as an organization distinct from its elected officials or party leaders
A voting system in which the candiate who receives the msot votes within a greographic area wins the election, regardless of whether that candidates wins a majority (more than half) of the votes.
a term describing the alignment of both parties members with their own party's issues and priorities, with little crossover support for the other party's goals.
Political Action Committee (PAC)
an interest group or division of an interst group that can raise money to contribute to campaigns or to spend on ads in support of candidates. The amount of a PAC can receive from each of it donors and its expenditures on federal campaigning are strictly limited.
an unofficial patronage system within a political party that seeks to gain political power and government contracts, jobs, and other benefits for party's leaders, workers, and supporters.
A ballot vote in which citizens select a party's nominee for the general election
a change in the size or composition of the part coalitions or in the nature of the issues that divide the parties. Typically occurs within an election cycle ore two but they can also gradually occur over the course of a decade.
a system in which eahc poltiical party's candidates campaign on the party platform, work together in office to implement the platform, and are judged by voters based on whether they achieve the platform's objectives.
A frequently updates mental record that a person uses to incorporate new information, like the information that leads a citizen to identify with a particular political party.
Single Member Districts
an electoral system in which every elected offical represents a geographically defined area, such as a state or congressional district, and each area elects one representative.
The practice of rewarding party supporters with benefits like federal govt positions.
Interest groups are organizations of people whshare common political interests and aim tinfluence public policy by electioneering and lobbying. Interest groups and political parties share the goal of changing what government does
Involves persuasion, using reports, protests, informal meetings, or other techniques to convince an elected official or bureaucrat to help enact a law, craft a regulation, or do something else that a group wants.
Difference Between Interest Groups and Political Parties
- Political Parties run Candidates for office, Interest groups do not run candidates
- Political parties hold legal advantages over itnerest groups when it comes to influencing policy such as guranteed positions on electoral ballots.
- Elected members have direct influence while interest groups have indirect influence
- the idea that americans excersise political power through participation in interest groups rather than as individuals. Interest groups are america's fundamental political actors.
- America is described as an interest group state, a government in which most policy decisions are determined by the influence of interest groups
Regulation of Lobbying
- Annual Reports Must be Filed by Firms and Interest Groups about Activities and Expenses
- Number of Lobbyists Doulbed from 2000 to 2005
- Due to the large size and widespread influence of the federal govt, the number of interest groups has doubled.
an interest group composed of companies in the same business or industry (the same “trade”) that lobbies for policies that will benefit members of the group.
Types of Interest Groups
- Economic groups seek public policies that will provide monetary benefits ttheir members. Labor organizations fall under this category.
- Citizen groups seek change in spending, regulations, or government programs concerning a wide range of policies (alsknown as public interest groups). Issues of interest may vary from legislation that defines marriage between a man and a woman tthe elimination of estate taxes.
- Single-issue groups form around a narrowly focused goal, seeking change on a single topic, government program, or piece of legislation. For example, the National Right tLife campaign lobbies for regulations on abortion rights.
Historically, economic interest groups outnumbered citizen groups and single-issue groups. While the number of all types of interest groups has increased in recent years, the increase in citizen groups has far outpaced the growth in economic groups. This may be attributed tthe increased role of the government in citizens’ everyday lives.
- Centralized groups are interest groups with a headquarters, usually in Washington, DC, as well as members and field offices throughout the country. In general, these groups’ lobbying decisions are made at headquarters by the group leaders. Most well-known organizations like the AARP and the NRA are centralized groups.
- A centralized organization controls all of the group’s resources and can deploy them efficiently, but it can be challenging tfind out what members want.
- are interest groups made up of several independent, local organizations that provide much of their funding and hold most of the power.
- confederation has the advantage of maintaining independent chapters at state and local levels, sit is easier for the national headquarters tlearn what members want. Conflict, however, is more rampant in confederations because when chapters send funds theadquarters, they can specify how the funds must be used.
- The practice of transitioning from government positions to working for interest groups or lobbying firms
- Over 40 percent of representatives leaving the House or Senate join a lobbying firm after their departure.
an interest group that has a large number of dues-paying individuals as members. Not all mass associations give members a say in selecting a group’s leaders or determining its mission.
an interest group whose members are businesses or other organizations rather than individuals.
Interest Group Resources
- People are among the most important resources an interest group can utilize. Group members write letters telected officials, send e-mails, travel tWashington for demonstrations, and son.
- Money is important because virtually everything interest groups dcan be purchased as services. Well-funded groups can purchase resources they lack.
- Expertise can take many forms. Areas of expertise may include knowing members’ preferences, or having information on policy questions and legislative proposals. This information is an asset group leaders can use tnegotiate with elected officials or bureaucrats
The Logic of Collective Action
- Changes in policy are public goods; everyone whis eligible benefits. Regardless of how many other people join, an individual is better off free riding—refusing tjoin an organization, and still enjoying the benefits of any success the group might have. But, if everyone acts on this calculation, none will join the group and the organization will be unable tlobby for grants or anything else.
- Prisoners Dilemna - all participants will be better off if they cooperate or coordinate their behavior, but each individual participant alshas an incentive tdefect or refuse tcooperate, in hopes of enjoying the benefits of the other participants’ efforts without contributing themselves.
- Collective action problems involving interest groups are usually more difficult tresolve than the prisoner’s dilemma since there are typically more participants, and there is nway for each participant tknow whether others are free riding.
Solving Collective Action Problems
- Some organizations offer immaterial benefits for participation like
- Solidary benefits include the satisfaction derived from the experience of working with like-minded people, even if the group’s efforts dnot achieve the desired impact.
- Purposive benefits include the satisfaction derived from the experience of working toward a desired policy goal, even if the goal is not achieved.
- Coercion is a method of eliminating nonparticipation or free riding by requiring participation. For example, workers in certain industries are required tjoin their respective union.
- Selective incentives are benefits that can motivate participation in a group effort because they are available only tthose whparticipate, such as member services offered by interest groups.
- Interest group entrepreneurs play a critical role in successful collective action. They are leaders of an interest group whdefine the group’s mission and its goals and create a plan tachieve them.
Interest group entrepreneurs
play a critical role in successful collective action. They are leaders of an interest group who define the group’s mission and its goals and create a plan to achieve them.
are benefits that can motivate participation in a group effort because they are available only to those who participate, such as member services offered by interest groups.
is a method of eliminating nonparticipation or free riding by requiring participation. For example, workers in certain industries are required to join their respective union.
Implications of the Logic of Collective Action
Unless people see benefits from participating in an organization, group leaders must worry about finding the right mix of coercion and selective incentives tget people tjoin. Economic groups are generally easier tform than citizen groups. Since economic groups generally involve a small number of corporations or individuals, the costs of free riding are relatively high; one actor’s efforts significantly boost the probability of success. Thus, economic groups can often form on the strength of their shared policy or monetary goals, without coercion, selective incentives, or solidary benefits. Citizen groups, on the other hand, with many more potential members, typically need tincentivize people tjoin.
Inside Lobbying Strategies
are tactics used by interest groups within Washington, DC, to achieve their policy goals.
Direct Lobbying Strategy
attempts by interest group staff tinfluence policy by speaking with elected officials or bureaucrats, is very common. Interest groups try thelp like-minded legislators secure policy changes that they both want. Little time is spent trying tconvert opposing legislators and bureaucrats.
Other Interest Lobbying Strategies:
- draft legislation and deliver it directly to legislators
- prepare research reports on topics on interest - makes congress more likely to accept a groups legislative proposal if they believe in their research claims
- Interest group staff often testify before congressional committees in order to inform members of congress about issues that matter to the group
- groups can sue the govt based on constitutionality or that the govt misinterpreted the provisions of existing law
- collaborate short term to achieve a specific outcome with other interest groups.
Outside Lobbying Strategies
Grassroots Lobbying is a strategy that relies on particpation by group members such as in a protect os a letter writing campaign. This strategy is effective because elected officials hate tact against a large group of citizens who care enough about an issue to express their position
is often ignored because it says more about a group's ability to make participation accessible rather than the number of people who strongly support an issue.
Most interest groups are organized as a 501(c) organization, a tax code classification that makes donations tthe group tax-deductible but limits the group’s political activities (the formal limit is 20 percent of the group’s activities or budget)
Separate Political Action Committee (PAC) or 527 organization
which is a tax-exempt group formed primarily tinfluence elections through voter mobilization efforts and issue ads that do not directly endorse or oppose a candidate. They are not subject tspending caps or contribution limits.
"Taking the late train"
Some interest groups use the strategy of taking the late train by donating money tthe winning candidate after the election in hopes of securing a meeting with that person when he takes office.
is a direct vote by citizens on a policy change proposed by fellow citizens or organized groups outside government. Getting a question on the ballot typically requires collecting a set number of signatures from registered voters in support of the proposal. The initiative process favors well-funded groups that can advertise their proposal.
is a direct vote by citizens on a policy change proposed by a legislature or another government body. While referenda are common in state and local elections, there is nmechanism for a national-level referendum.
How Much Power Do Interest Groups Have?
- Interest groups lobby their friends in government rather than their enemies, and tend tmoderate their demands in the face of resistance.
- Some complaints about the power of interest groups come from losers in the political process.
- Many interest groups claim responsibility for policies and election outcomes regardless of whether their lobbying made the difference.
- The sizable amounts that groups spend tlobby Congress can easily overshadow the more important issue of what they got for their money.
What Determines When Groups Succeed?
Two related factors determine the success of lobbying efforts: salience and conflict.
Interest groups are more likely tsucceed when their request has low salience, or attracts little public attention. Legislators and bureaucrats dnot have to worry about the political consequences of giving a group what it wants if the issue is not well known.
level that issue attracts public attention. Legislators and bureaucrats dnot have to worry about the political consequences of giving a group what it wants if the issue is not well known.
Two kinds of conflict over lobbying
- Disagreements between interest groups
- Differences between what a particular interest group wants and public opinion
What would you like to do?
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