Pressure Groups Flashcards

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A theory which suggests that political power does not rest simply with the electorate or governing elite, but is distributed amongst a number of groups representing widely different interests within society.
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Power in society rests within a small group who gain power through wealth, family status or intellectual superiority.
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Pressure Group?
An organised interest group in which members hold similar beliefs and actively pursue ways to influence government. They only seek to influence those who determine policy, unlike political parties who seek to win control of government.
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Political Action Committee?
Pressure groups that collect money from their members and then give it to candidates and political parties that support their interests.
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An attempt to exert influence on the policy-making, legislative or judicial process by individuals or organised groups.
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Revolving Door Syndrome?
The practise by which former members of congress (or the executive branch) take up well paid jobs with Washington-based lobbying firms and then use their expertise and contacts to lobby the institution of which they were once a member.
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Iron Triangle?
A term used to describe a strong relationship between pressure groups, the relevant congressional committees and the relevant government department or agency in an attempt to guarantee the policy outcomes to the benefit of all three parties involved.
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Direct Action?
A form of pressure group activity that most often favours the use of non-violent or violent physical protest over the more traditional forms of lobbying such as emailing and petitions.
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Example o business Pg's?
American Business Confederation National Automobile Dealers Assosiation
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Example of Agriculture PG?
"American Farm Beaueau Federation National Farmers Union "
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Example of Unions?
Amercian Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations United Auto Workers
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Example of Professional PGs?
American Medical Assosiation American Bar Assosiation
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Example of single issue PG?
Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD) NRA
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Example of Ideological PG?
American Conservative Union People for the American Way American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
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Example of Group Right PG?
National Assosiation for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) National Organisation for Woman (NOW) American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
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Public interest PG?
Common Cause Friends of the Earth
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Functions of PG's?
Representation, citizen participation, public education, agenda building, programme monitoring.
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Example of PG representation?
For example the NRA has 5 million members whose opinions are being voiced through the NRA. The NRA endorsed Reagan who won the election, showing the publics views were taken into account.
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Example of PG citizen participation?
increase the opportunities for ordinary citizens to participate in decision making between elections. For example the AARP have 37 million members and supported Obamacare, which may have forced Obama to drive it through as his top priority.
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Example of PG Public education?
For example the AARP in 1979 put forward the drivers’ safety course to educate older drivers about driving when older. Also AIPAC push agenda of Israel an highlight Palestine cause to society. Also in 2012 the NRA wanted a national School Shield prog
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Example of PG agenda building?
For example AIPAC’s conference was attended by two thirds of congress, including Obama, to influence their Israel policy. In 2009 they secured $2.775 billion for Israel in 2010. Also in 2012 the NRA pushed the National School Shielding Programme.
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Example of PG programme monitoring?
After the passage of the campaign finance reform Act in 2002, the CFI commissioned a set of studies on the impact of the new law.1954 to 1964 the ACLU had affiliations in 17 cases.
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How do PGs operate?
Electioneering and endorsement, lobbying, publicity, grassroots activites.
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PAC’s are pressure groups that collect money from their members and then give it to candidates and political parties that support their interests. The 2006 mid-terms were the first to be run under the McCain-Feingold law
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What was the McCain-Feingold law?
The 2006 mid-terms were the first to be run under the McCain-Feingold law, meaning that PAC spending exceeded £1 billion for the first time ever and 400 new PAC’s were created in the first 4 years. There were no losers in the House top 12 PAC recipie
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PG endorsement?
For example the pro-life group The National Right to Life endorsed Romney while the pro-choice group NARAL endorsed Obama. The Sierra Club also publish the Dirty Dozen and name and shame candidates.
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PG lobbying?
Many groups have offices in Washington DC which are known as the ‘K Street Corridor’. For example John Ascroft, George Bush’s former attorney-general has opened a lobbying firm called the Ashcroft Group.
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PG publicity?
In August 2008, the national journal had many advertisements, including those from Consumers United for Energy Solutions. This advertisement included a bipartisan list of 130 members of congress who were supporting renewable energy sources.
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PG Grassroots activities?
bombarding of federal government in Oklahoma 1995 was linked to right-wing extremists. Also many abortion clinics have been bombed. However this may be in fact counter-productive.
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Political significance of PG's?
The USA is diverse. The more diverse a society is, the more special interests there are to represent. The American Political System has many access points. The weakness of political parties means that citizens turn more to pressure groups.
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Success of PG's: environmental issues?
The Sierra club in 2012 had success got backing by the US department of Interior to protect 11 million acres of the Western Arctic Reserve from oil and gas drilling due to their club petitions and support from members.
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However point for PG success in environmental issues?
However they are not always successful, Sierra Club recently failed to stop Obama backing the Keystone Xl pipeline in 2012, showing that their efforts do not always pay off.
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Success of PG's: women rights?
The pressure group EMILY’s List supports female candidates early in the election process. For example MILY’s List endorsed 6 congresswomen inc Anna Kirkpatrick.
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However for women rights success?
Groups such as the League of Women Voters and the National Organisation for Women pushed - unsuccessfully- for the passage of an equal rights amendment to the constitution during the 70’s and 80’s.
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Success of Pg's: abortion rights?
In 2000 the SC refused to allow states to ban this type of abortion. When Bush signed a partial abortion ban into law, the SC upheld the ban in 2007, which was a disappointment for pro-choice groups.
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Success of PG's: gun control?
The NRA is arguably one of the most powerful PG’s in US politics with a membership of 3 million. The NRA opposed to Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban, and became involved in the national debate following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
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NRA and influence/support?
In six out of 7 surveys conducted since 1993, the majority of Americans supported the NRA, thus it has a huge influence on congress. However Obama still pushes for stricter gun laws, and following the 2012 shooting a handful of NRA.
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Success of PG's: economic inequality?
During the banking collapse during Bush’s presidency, the International Occupy Movement started to address economic inequality. The first protest to be covered by the media was the occupation of Zuccotti park in 2011 by the Occupy Wall Street Movemen
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What was occupy movement known as?
The movement then became known as ‘We are the 99%’, a reference to the concentration of wealth among the 1% of top income earners.
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Who initially supported Occupy but then stopped?
The Obama administration, Democratic Party leadership and American Labour union initially all showed some interest and sympathy for their beliefs and objectives. However a year later the movement had disappeared.
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Influence of Pgs on executive?
Maintain ties with executive departments, strong link with president (e.g Obama and Civil Rights, Bush and Christian Rights), NARL endorsed Obama, AARP opposed Obamacare so created own version.
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Legislature Influence?
Influence way congress vote, contact relevant committees, influence constituents, publicise voting records.
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Example of legislature influencing the way congress vote?
This can be done by making direct contact with congress and their senior members of staff. For example the Sierra Club have an executive office in Washington DC which enables them to lobby congress more easily.
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Example of legislature making contact with committees?
As membership is small lobbyists find it east to build close working relationships with the members of the committees. For example Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, appeared before the senate judiciary committee in 2012 following the Sandy Hook shooti
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Example of PGs influencing constituents?
For example during a 2 day event hosted by the AARP advertising the Social Security and Medicare, members were encouraged to call their member of congress and Oklahoma’s senators Tom Coburn and James Inhofe and ask them to oppose any cuts to security
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Example of PG publicising voting records?
For example the dirty dozen list means that senators and representatives may be more likely to vote in their favour. However it can only ever influence.
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Judiciary influence?
Take an influence in court nominations (e.g. ABA rating), may issue amicus briefings (Grutter v Bollinger amicus briefs issued), bring case to court (Brown v BOE having NAACP force behind it, also ACLU brings many cases.
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Lobbying and tobacco industry?
1998, the tobacco industry spent $67.4 million dollars on lobbying, thus outspent any smaller anti-smoking group, thus suggesting pressure groups are elitist.
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Example of revolving door syndrome?
in 2010 midterm, 31% of people leaving capitol hill became lobbyists. For example ex D Senator Chris Dodd works for the National Picture Association. Also Dick Gephart left congress to become a lobbyist and earned $7 million.
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Factors that contribute to PG success?
Size of membership (AARP 35 million), Financial resources (e.g. PACs around election times), Gov agenda (US chamber of commerce spent more than 35 million trying to oppose Obamacare), influence on foreign policy (AIPAC has close ties with Israel)
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PG blocking/supporting legislation?
AMA tred to block legislation regarding Obamacare however this was unsuccessful despite PGs best efforts as they can only influence.
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Power in society rests within a small group who gain power through wealth, family status or intellectual superiority.

Card 3


Pressure Group?


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Political Action Committee?


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