These groups are usually made up of several individuals guided by common interests; who come together to work towards the attainment of certain clear goals that are shared by the members of that group. These groups usually try to affect public policy in the endeavor to achieve their objectives.
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According to Vile (98) advocacy and lobbying form other methods used by these groups in reaching their objectives. Other methods that are deemed to best produce the outcome desired. Apart form the common group desires, the motivation may be financial, faith based, political or even moral. By so doing, these groups end up cutting many divides social, political and economic.
They may be single issue groups or broad issue groups. The former have their actions concentrated on single issues alone while the latter may have their focus towards multiple disciplines. Examples of such groups include the American Association of Retired Persons , United Auto Workers and even large corporations like Exxon Mobil. Interest groups have had an immense impact on how politics is carried out especially in the USA since the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Even though labor unions in the USA are less influential compared to those in Germany and other Scandinavian countries, they still do have immense influence. The greatest impact is witnessed during the electioneering period when such groups get involved in mobilizing campaign funds for their preferred candidates.
`Decisions that are taken by congress are mostly affected by the pressure that these interest groups do put up. The interest groups have been able to get success in the court system through sponsoring litigation trials and amicus briefs. Citizens concerns are easily yet quickly channeled to the authorities through these interest groups. Policy makers and administrators will have an opportunity to hear first hand the feelings of the citizens through the work that the interest groups do carry out.
This impact has mostly been felt in the decisions that are taken by congress. Suggestions by the Doctors union for example, when setting up policies that affect the doctors are taken care of with keenness. In the health care sector for example, there has been immense lobbying for policies that would be affordable to the citizens yet providing the best health care to the citizens. (Sultz, Harry and Young, Kristina 50)
Another interest group that has had mixed success is the Concerned Women for America. This is a group that is against abortion in the United States. It success has been partial because it has been at loggerheads with another group that is for abortion. This by far forms one of the major challenges faced by these groups. In as much as success could be eminent, conflicts between them are equally rife. The success of this women group was felt when their ideas were brought before congress and heard out.
The welfare of both employees and employers has been greatly improved because of the pressure that the labor unions have been having. Proper working conditions, better salaries and setting up of the Employment Act have all been achieved though the participation of the labour unions.
Most of these interest groups hold immense resources in terms of money and do possess a lot of following. This attribute does make the pressure groups to be so successful that they can influence the election outcomes. The National Rifle Association has been able to fight for the right of Americans to possess guns. This has been successful to a great extent. Apart from this, international trade has been improved to a great level by the Trade and tariffs lobbies.
Through these groups there has been a reduction in the tariffs that has facilitated the level of international trade. This has been achieved through the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs. Ethnic lobbies have led to the fighting in the Arab- Israel region. Most Muslim pressure groups have stood up against the war in the Gaza Strip. Success though elusive has been achieved to some extent with some ceasefire being announced in the region for a while.
In conclusion, the interest groups also known as the pressure groups have been so effective in the mandates that they carry out. Corruption however has been a nightmare in the operations of these pressure groups. Once again there has been a lot of vested interests in the operations of interest groups with politics taking centre stage.
Even though democracies have been established through these groups, they have equally been used as rubber stamps for some politicians in their endeavor to achieve political mileage. These groups till remain an essential component of society and help towards attaining social justice and ensuring accountability on the part of the government. It then remains obvious that the interest groups will continually remain to be important in our current society and influence the quality of life.
Sultz, Harry and Young, Kristina. Health Care USA: Understanding Its Organization and Delivery. Ontario: Jones and Bartlett’s, 2009. Print.
Vile, M. Politics in the USA (5th ed.). London: Routledge, 1999. Print.