Pressure groups of the USA: methods used.

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  • Methods used by pressure groups
    • Electioneering & Endorsement
      • Actively support or oppose presidential & congressional candidates  positions on the policy areas of concern to them.
      • PACs raise & give money to candidates. In 2006, PAC spending reached of $1 billion.
        • No clear link between PAC contributions & the way congressmen cast their vote on the floor.
    • Lobbying
      • PGs are often the only source of information. They maintain offices in Washington DC, state capitols & local government, allowing them to be on hand to lobby members of federal, sate & local government.
      • Lobbying firms are built around former presidential aides & cabinet officers whose visibility & experience help to attract clients.
      • PGs also provide legislators with voting cues - to ensure the party is taking the right stand on a particular issue.
    • Publicity
      • Marches & demonstrations
        • Million Mom March, Tv advertising
        • NRA, emails, initatives or proposition
        • Family research council, proposition
      • They can be counter-productive if they frighten people or where they are indicative that other, more direct access to decision makers is not open to them.
      • PGs often launch public relations campaigns in order to educate the people at large.
      • Issue advertising - use of TV; Public policy journals - sent to all members of congress, senior staff @ White House & executive departments & agencies; roadside hoardings; bumper stickers & badges; informative or promotional DVDs
    • Organising grass-roots activities
      • These activities may include the organisation of a postal blitz on congress, the white house or a government department.

Comments

Old Sir

This is a useful resource for anyone beginning to revise the nature and impact of US pressure groups. It is essential that students using it should prepare to discuss the work of specific pressure groups by referring to case studies, controversies and celebrated issues. See: NRA, ACLU, etc. See also: Why has pressure group activity grown in recent years? by the same author.

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