Interest Groups

Question 7

Explain the difference between the three types of interest groups. Provide examples of each Which type of interest group do you believe has the most influence over U.S. politics? Explain why.

An interest group is made up of members of an organization who share common concerns and aims at influencing the government to follow policies that address those concerns. The three main interest groups include sectoral groups, promotional groups and institutional groups. All these groups are different in relation to their members and their concerns. Just like the name suggests, sectoral groups represent a particular sector within the economy. Examples of such groups include corporations and unions. The sectoral groups are mostly aimed at achieving economic goals with each sector fighting for policies that affect them personally such as lowering taxes in the case of corporations

On the other hand, promotional groups are identified for their strong representation of particular ideologies. Quite often, the members of this group do not seek to directly profit from the changes in policies that they advocate for. Examples of these groups include the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that advocated for environmental issues and the Human Right Watch that is well known for advocating for global human rights. When it comes to institutional groups, apart from engaging in political activities, they are mainly driven by their interests which is what they defend most. Examples include media and military institutions.

I believe sectoral groups have the most influence over U.S politics. This is because this particular group has significant economic power which they use as leverage in order to have their policies passed. Since politicians are the lawmakers, using the economy to put pressure on them can have significant effects. In additions, amount of political donations, lobbying expenditures and outside spending of trade groups, labor unions and corporations in the U.S shows just how much power and influence they have not to mention the number of lawmakers who have invested in them.

Question 8

Explain why social movements have become more widespread in the past several decades. Provide examples of each explanation. Which reason do you believe is most compelling, and why?

Social movements refer to group actions whose main focus is on social or political issues. The group action is normally carried out to either resist, undo or carry out a social change. In the recent years, social movements have become more widespread especially due to the democratic system that is applied by most governments. Democracy has allowed people to peacefully take matters into their hands to change what they feel needs to be changed. People are able to air out their concerns freely as long as they do not use violence which would result in equal force being used against them. At first when the movement started, all its members were comprised of black Americans since the issue of black discrimination affected them personally. However, over time, the movement received worldwide recognition and support which helped change things a great deal. Black Americans living in America are able to enjoy the same rights like any other American citizen without feeling discriminated for their race.

Another reason that has made social movements more widespread is the use of the tactic of gaining participation in the policy process. This tactic has made more people engage in social movements because it has being quite successful since it has being identified that authorities have become more willing to offer individuals inclusion in policy changing processes than accepting demands for policy changes. A good example is the movement to control hazardous wastes whereby environmentalists have succeeded by being included in policy making. They are now able to contribute to significant changes as a result of gaining participation in implementation and regulatory decisions that have seen the level of pollution caused by hazardous wastes reduce significantly.

Social movements have also become more popular because they can be used to advocate for more personal issues that people consider private such who they can marry or not marry. This can best be described by the most recent movement of its kind; the gay-lesbian movement. Coming out of the closet is a very important step in the lives of homosexual and the fact that society considers their sexuality a taboo makes it even harder. This movement allowed this group to come out freely and express themselves as well as help society to do away with homosexual stereotype. Through the movement, gay marriage was legalized hence giving this group the freedom to legally recognize their relationships without any discrimination.

I believe the most compelling reason why social movements have become more popular is its ability to bring change through masses of people. Most social movements and their progress are usually tracked through social media which provides a big opportunity for people all over the world to see, know and join on the cause being fought for. There is great strength in numbers which has seen movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Civil Rights Movement have the opportunity to see their issues heard and addressed hence leading to a better society with happy people. The change that comes with social movements may take long to happen especially if it is not well designed to provide sufficient popularity. However, if well executed, it can have long-lasting results that will see some of the most chronic issues in society addressed.

Attitudes and behaviors of political culture within democratic societies