Arguments For/Against Pressure Groups

  • Created by: Isabella
  • Created on: 29-04-14 09:12

Arguments For/Against Pressure Groups

Advantages

  • Pressure groups can act as an sounding board for legislation and provide legislators with vital information on the issue they are voting for/against
  • Can bring order to policy debate- represent views of either sides of a debate (ie gun laws- NRA and the Brady Campaign)
  • Broadens political participation- allows citizens to get involved in politics inbetween elections
  • Increases the accountability of Congress and the Executive, as many pressure groups regulate them
  • Increases representation of the people inbetween elections- allowing views to heard when there isn't an election
  • Enhances the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of associaition
  • Allows minorities' views to be heard- these views are often underrepresented in mainstream society and pressure groups allows their voices to be heard, ie the NAACP.

Disadvantages

  • Revolving Door Syndrome- former politicians often become lobbyists, expoliating their old contacts and giving them an unfair advantage. ie Bob Livingstone, former House Speaker, setting up the Livingstone Group
  • Iron Triangle- Relationshio between 3- pressure groups, executive departments and Congressional committees. Each serves to benefit each other on a common issue, for example creating friendly legislation. Allows pressure groups to have an unfair advantage nd allows unelected people to have influence on legislation that is unfair
  • Inequality of groups- some are larger and wealthier then other groups, for example the NRA is one of the largest and wealthiest groups in the US, significnatly increasing its influence
  • Special v. public- It often puts the needs of a special group ahead of the public's needs as a whole, ie progressing with campaigns that hurts the whole of society
  • Buying political influence- lobbyists often bribe politicians for support, though this is now meant to be illegal. This is growing at 7.3% a year
  • Using direct action- they often use violence to achieve their aims, bringing media attention to them and gives an unfair advantage through unsatisfactory methods- ie many pro life activists have killed abortion doctors

Evaluation

Pressure Groups as a whole have a lot of undue influence and undemocratic, however the repression of pressure groups would be even more undemocratic, therefore preessure groups are needed to add to democracy as a whole.

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