Interest Groups in American politics

An interest group is generally a voluntary group or association that intends to publicly promote their mission, vision, or cause. If you analyze contemporary American society and the political system, you’ll find interest groups at the very center. This phenomenon, which has seemingly risen to unprecedented heights, has changed the political landscape and significantly impacted the policy process. There are some arguments over the value of interest groups, including the notion that interest groups pose a significant threat to democratic government.

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For this Discussion, review this week’s Reading and consider the role of interest groups in your community, town, state, or another country and how they may be helpful or harmful to democracy.

Post by your explanation of how interest groups impact policy process. Then, describe the extent to which interest group lobbying has diminished or increased over the last two presidential administrations. Explain the basis for your impressions. Then, explain whether interest group activity should be curtailed by federal legislation and why or why not. Include in your explanation how curtailing the power of interest groups might be beneficial or harmful for American democracy. Also explain how interest groups impact the policy process in Nigeria and how it has impacted democratic governance or movements.

Readings

  • Hudson, W. E. (2017). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    • Chapter 4, “The Fourth Challenge: Citizen Participation” (pp. 137-170)
  • Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.
    • Chapter 3, “Interests Groups and Public Policy”
      • The Governmental Process (1951) (pp. 83–87)
    • Chapter 4, “Agenda Setting”
      • The Dynamics of Agenda-Building (1972) (pp. 128–136)
  • Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 35(4), 216–224. doi:10.1080/01944366908977225.