Pressure groups

What's a pressure group?
A group of likeminded people who attempt to influence government (often quite particular and divisive issues)
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What are the five functions of a pressure group?
Representation, participation, education, scrutiny & agenda building
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Why do people join pressure groups?
Join to change the world (purposive) or when they feel their interests are threatened, to socialise with likeminded people (solidarity) or for the benefits (material or service benefits)
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What's the free rider problem?
People don't join, they let others work but still receive the benefits
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What incentives do the AAA give? How many members?
50 million members, often want the free roadside assistance
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What are the two main different types of group?
Interest/sectional and cause/promotional
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What's an interest group?
Protect members interests, there's a criteria to join
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What's a cause group?
A group that helps beyond their members, no criteria to join
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What's an intergovernmental group?
For lower level public officials to lobby the federal government together (National Governors Association = 50 state governors)
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What's an umbrella group?
Speak for many small groups, they have a larger membership and bigger influence
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Example of umbrella group?
US Chamber of Commerce - represents 300,000 businesses, wants lower taxes and regulations
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What 4 groups are sectional/interest split into?
Business, professional, labour and agricultural
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What 4 groups are cause groups split into?
Single issue, ideological, group rights and public interest
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What's pluralism?
Power distributed amongst many groups with different interests represented
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What's elitism?
Political power resting with a small group who gain power through wealth, family status or intellectual superiority
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How did Madison feel about 'factions'?
A threat to democracy, they would interfere with stability, more likely to oppress
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Are inside and outside groups stuck in their position?
No, not fixed
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What's a social movement?
Loose coalition of groups/people with broad aims against current norms. Outsiders but can create insider group
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Example of social movement that made inside group?
Civil rights created NAACP
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What political factors support pressure groups?
Increasingly complex laws, representatives need money and growing fed government
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How does growing government benefit pressure groups?
The New Deal (30s) and Great Society (60s) expanded federal government. They impact more areas, more issues - creates more pressure groups
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How does increasingly complex laws benefit pressure groups?
Reps need more evidence from lobbyists, they can't be an expert on all
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What were the two longest bills passed?
Both by 111th Congress - Dodd-Frank and Healthcare (both over 300,000 words)
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How does growing campaign costs benefit pressure groups?
Groups can give money to reps - doesn't equal influence but often gets access
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What does the average Senate campaign cost?
Over $10million - $19mil when outside spending included
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Give an example of when cause groups altered the constitution?
Women's group with Anti-Saloon League got 18th then 21st. The 19th suffrage came from two National woman's groups
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What's an insider group?
Face to face with politicians, they form a relationship which benefits both
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Outsider group?
Grassroots campaigns of letters, marches and demonstrations
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What institutional factors benefit pressure groups?
The constitution entrenches right to freedom of speech (1st) and weak parties create room for pressure groups
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When was the right to freedom of association created?
In NAACP v. Alabama 1958 - don't have to reveal members, freedom to speech and not to be put off/safety risked
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Why are US parties weak?
Primaries give power to people, party don't choose. Candidates run their own campaign, fundraise themselves. Gives power to groups to help financially - build relationship
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How do UK parties contrast to US?
UK parties are strong - must stick to party manifesto across country. MPs owe party for seat
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When did the SC give power to rich donors?
Money is speech in 1976, then extended to corporations in 2010 Citizens United v FEC
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What demographic factors make pressure groups necessary?
Very diverse country - religion and races, different views must be represented (pluralism). Economy unequal - Top 1% have 40% of wealth
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What cultural factors create a need for pressure groups?
Individualism, the American Dream, Liberty, Pluralism and Lobbying
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Do successful groups use inside or outside lobbying?
Successful use both techniques often
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What's a professional lobbyist?
Often work in DC for lobbying firm on K Street. Can be hired by group or individual to influence representatives and build relationships
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What % used to work for Congress? Why does this benefit their work?
About 50% - they already know the system and people
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Why's the UK much harder to lobby than US Congress?
UK has strong party whips and few private member bills succeed
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Why does going to committee before second reading benefit lobbyists?
They can target the standing committees - it's the key stage to influence before whole house vote
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How do the smaller, sub-committees help lobbyists?
They can target very specific people with influence
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What can lobbyists give to representatives?
Information, ideas and advice - expert knowledge. Can give constituents views
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Why do lobbyists/groups electioneer?
They participate in elections and give donations to ensure the candidate they have built a relationship with gets elected
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What's the 1974 limitation on money from a PAC to a candidate?
Can only give $5,000 per candidate from one PAC
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What % of PAC money goes to incumbents?
80-90% dependent on sector
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What sector is almost evenly split on incumbent to challenger donations from PAC?
The ideological/single issue groups
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When were Super PACs created/allowed? What can they do?
In 2010 - cannot donate to candidate (so no $5000 limit) - can create ads either positive or attack
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What % of incumbents are re-elected?
About 90% re-elected
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What are voting cues?
Given to representative from lobbyist to show the client's views on an issue, also can be constituents
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What's a score card?
The group gives members a score card showing how their representative voted (NRA A+ to F)
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How can the executive branch be lobbied?
The federal agencies make the regulations of the laws
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When can the lobbyists influence regulations?
After a regulation is proposed, the public and groups can comment. Agencies then consider comments, may alter regulation
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Why was the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act undermined?
Federal agency creating regulations lobbied by banks - 2 large banks had over 100 more meetings than all other groups in a 2 year space
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Why is the SC powerful to lobby?
All other courts are bound to their decision
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When did the NAACP challenge segregated schools?
1954 Brown v Board of Education
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How many briefs were there for Brown v Board compared to Same-sex marriage cases?
Brown had 6 vs. 156 for same-sex
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Proof that amicus curaie briefs can influence?
Mentioned in majority opinion sometimes = Grutter v. Bollinger 2003, O'Connor referenced opinions of retired officers
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How can they lobby SC nomination?
Influence President's choice or the Senate
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How can they influence the Judiciary Committee's hearing?
Give testimonies at hearing
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How much have testimonies increased?
1969 Burger had 3 - 2005 Roberts gets 70
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How did groups influence Bork's nomination?
1987, Planned Parenthood bought a full page newspaper advert opposing him (he opposed right to privacy) Bork rejected 58-42
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How did groups influence Harriet Miers nomination in 2005?
Lack of record worried conservatives, huge public pressure saw her withdraw
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Elite group vs. grassroots?
Elites have the financial and human resources to be insiders, have lobbyists. Grassroots are started by average citizens, they grow
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How can grassroots indirectly lobby?
Attract media attention - mobilises public - pressures representatives
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What are methods of outsiders?
Posters, canvassing, petitions, letters, phone calls
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What are indirect actions?
Voting and writing
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Types of direct action?
Take action themselves - strikes, marches (can be violent or non-violent)
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Example of non-violent direct action?
March on Washington 1963 (MLK I have a Dream)
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How did the bus boycott change law?
1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott lead to a 1956 SC ruling that segregated buses are unconstitutional
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What's civil disobedience?
Breaking an unjust law - non-violent, direct action
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Example of civil disobedience?
1960 Greensboro Sit-ins (Woolworths lunch counters) desegregated 5 months later
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What did civil rights movement ultimately achieve?
1964 Civil Rights Act, 1965 Voting Rights Act
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What direct action boosted black voting?
Voter Registration drive = Freedom Summer 1964 Mississippi
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Example of group that uses violent direct action?
Operation Rescue - anti-abortion group that intimidate and harass. Created 'wanted' posters of staff
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Define terrorism
Using fear to achieve political aims
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When was terrorism used to protest large government?
Oklahoma bombing in 1995 - Timothy McVeigh
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How can outside groups use direct democracy?
Initiatives and referendums - recall elections
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Why does lobbying need to be regulated?
Elitism allows wealthy to buy access - revolving door allows corruption
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What's the revolving door?
Going from government to lobbying. Government can hire senior staff to regulate organisation they just left
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What was the 2003 senior staff corruption scandal?
Undersecretary of Defence approves $3bil sale to company, is a board member two months later
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2008 huge bailout went to what company from former CEO?
Paulson helped give $13billion bailout to Goldman Sachs
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Most recent attempt to prevent revolving door and increase transparency?
2007 - wait 2yrs before starting lobbying (senior exec staff and senators), give spending reports every 3months. Must disclose all donations to PACs and candidates. Cannot give gifts
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What % of senators become lobbyists?
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Why did many lobbyists de-register in 2008? What did many become?
To avoid new 2007 regulations. Now strategic advisors to give clients info on presenting their message
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Why is no regulation of grassroots lobbying a problem, what does it create?
Astroturf groups, that appear to be grassroots but are started for client to bring attention to cause
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What key factors determine success of a pressure group?
Aims, wealth, leadership, status, opposition strength
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Why do aims matter for success?
Simple will be much easier than complex or unclear aims. Whether they are controversial or popular already
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Why does it matter what party is in control?
Whether congress majority and president would support or veto the laws they're attempting to influence
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Why could the Tea Party not repeal Obamacare?
Voted on it 50+ times in House but Senate blocked it. Obama would have vetoed, Trump wouldn't but didn't pass Senate
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What failed federal level but has succeeded in states?
Cannabis legalisation - Colorado, Washington and California - less diverse views in states vs. nation
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When was weak leadership shown to be a problem?
Occupy Wall Street 2011 - wanted democratic decisions as the were against corporate greed "We are 99%" but lacked clear aim
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Why does wealth of a group alter success?
Ability to donate to candidates. Also affects their resources/methods and ability to hire experts/lobbyists
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What does money buy?
Not proven it buys votes, but does get access to a candidate so you can influence them
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What are human resources?
Can be experts or mass membership
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How does expertise open access to Congress?
Reps want expert knowledge as bills are increasingly common and complex
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How do expertise help in the SC?
Can submit Amicus Curiae brief with a lawyer
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Why might insiders have greater success?
Access to iron triangles
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What's an iron triangle?
Mutually beneficial relationship between 3 groups. Usually interest group, member of congress and executive agency
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Why does opposition strength matter?
Harder to work against large, wealthy, well established and supported group(s)
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Why is it easier to obstruct laws than create new ones?
Separation of powers, easier to stop laws - filibuster and veto need more votes
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Why were background checks defeated in 2013?
54 votes not enough to stop filibuster with cloture in Senate. 90% of the public agreed but gun-rights groups influenced small number of representatives. 45 disagreed
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What's a coalition between pressure groups?
Finding common ground with opposition group to pass legislation more easily
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What were the 2013 immigration reforms a coalition of?
Immigrant rights groups with religious and business groups. Passed Senate but Tea Party blocked in House
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Why do pressure groups differ from two main parties?
Can cover a large range of interests - help stop tyranny of majority
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How did Madison feel factions would not create tyranny of minority?
So many not one would dominate. Constitution ought to prevent it by allowing equal competition
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Why is it often seen to be elitist among pressure groups, not pluralist?
Huge financial and human resources give advantage
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How do iron triangles create tyranny of majority?
benefit all involved even if country doesn't
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What was the 2016 turnout vs. 2014 midterms?
58% in 2016 vs previous midterms 36.4%
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How do pressure groups help low political efficacy?
Give a sense of direct action where wasted votes create low efficacy
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Why is meaningful membership probably low?
Not very active, join for benefits.
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Why can't all groups participate?
Lack the money
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Why should democracy be left to representatives?
Representative democracy elects people to make decisions, should not be pressured by activist's direct action but re-elect someone else
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Who do groups educate?
Congress and SC, but also public
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Why is education from a pressure group questionable?
Will only give facts supporting their views. Public could be misled if opposition is weak
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Why can grassroots be misleading?
Can actually be astroturf groups - not transparent
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Why are pressure groups good at scrutiny?
Pay attention where public don't. They follow votes to give scorecards, allowing public to make informed decisions
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Why are groups bad to rely on for scrutiny?
Many want incumbents re-elected. Not well scrutinised themselves so questionable motives
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Why is agenda building important?
Puts pressure on government to consider aims - civil rights, MADD
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When was agenda building effective in 2013?
45 senators opposed background checks, against 90% of public. Groups controlled small number of senators = NRA scorecard may have affected re-election
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What are the five functions of a pressure group?


Representation, participation, education, scrutiny & agenda building

Card 3


Why do people join pressure groups?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What's the free rider problem?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What incentives do the AAA give? How many members?


Preview of the front of card 5
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