To want extent is the effectiveness of a pressure group as a result of its membership?

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To what extent is the effectiveness of a pressure group determined by its
membership? [25]
In the United States the effectiveness of a pressure group is influenced by its
membership to a large extent. However, it can also be influenced by further
factors such as wealth, status and effectiveness of the opposition, organisation
and leadership and the achievability of the group's goals. Understanding how
successfully they achieve their group aims can assess the effectiveness of a
pressure group.
The effectiveness of a pressure group can be influenced to a large extent by the
size of its membership. This is because the large the membership the more
legitimately it can claim that it represents a large portion of society, and
therefore the publics viewpoint. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has 4
million members in contrast to the opposing pro gun control group the Brady
Campaign with only 600,000, which can prove significant in campaigns and the
influence they have over governmental bodies. For example, in 2013 the
Manchin-Toomey for gun control was shot down in the Senate, of course the
NRA opposed this legislation and the Brady Campaign were supporters, the
subsequent failing of this shows how perhaps if the supporters were as large
as the opposition, their side of the argument would have been more broadly
acknowledged and the legislation may have passed. The largest US pressure
group is said to be the American Association of Retired People (AARP) with
over 40 million members, which is highly important as the Grey Vote in the US
makes up a large proportion of votes so Congress members and politicians
would want to appeal to a group with this scale for fear of losing their votes.
Therefore it is evident the membership of pressure groups can have a profound
effect on said pressure groups success.
However, there are other influential factors impacting a pressure groups
success, for example wealth. A pressure group's wealth is influential as the
more money it has the more people it can appeal to with campaigns,
advertisements, websites and lobbying. The ActBlue pressure group has
received $513,283,417 online since 2004, which gives them significant ability
to have influence in Congress. For example, the Lawyers and Law Firm interest
groups in the US have donated $31,064,260 to Congress in 2014, the highest of
the groups, which of course means that the Congressmen will try to keep them
content in order to continue receiving this income and support. Whereas a
pressure group that has little or no donation income and support will have
their views less well expressed, as Hillary Clinton said, "money is the mother's
milk of politics."
Moreover, a further influential factor in aiding a pressure groups success, that
is not membership, is the opposition's status and effectiveness. As previously
mentioned when discussing the NRA vs. the Brady Campaign, the comparison
in funds and membership of the groups arguing from different perspectives
can have a profound effect on the success of one of the groups. For example
NRLC (pro-life) and NARAL (pro-choice) have differing perspectives on the

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American society. The NRLC has
some 7 million members and received over $220,000 in donations in 5 months
in 2014, whereas NARAL has just over 1 million members and received over
$300,000 in donations in 2013. The Anti-Smoking groups such as Action on
Smoking and Health (ASH) have to fight against the powerful tobacco industry,
which is worth $35 billion in their fight.…read more


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