Political Science: Article Summary
The main work of a lobbyist, according to Berman is to give technical advice on how to structure and manage businesses. Politics play a very big role in facilitating political activities, for instance, democratic lobbyists are at the moment enjoying the current democratic political status as opposed to their republican counterparts. This chapter has broadly focused on the interactions between interest groups and the government.
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An interest group refers to an organized group of like-minded individuals who share the same political stand and have a strong influence on public opinion and policymaking. From this article, Americans have been exemplified to be very collaborative in making associations and in demonstrating their democratic culture. An author James Madison has raised concerns on the aspects of factions and the dangers that may come with it as; dividing American society on social grounds, among other negative aspects. He added that such factions exert pressure on the government to attend to their concerns without minding the welfare of other parties.
He concluded that these factions could only be eliminated by barring freedom and liberty, which, if not well controlled and managed fosters faction. These remedies could only be provided by a democratic government that mediates the two conflicting groups. The size and structure of the American government ensure that prominent factions do not overlook other factions in society.
Some of the roles of interest groups include: representing the opinions and interest of the rest of the society but the only challenge with such groups is that they can easily be manipulated by politicians and other influential leaders. Secondly, they provide a platform for like-minded citizens and political leaders to pull together their resources to boost their political bargain. Thirdly, they work to educate their members and the general public with the effort of increasing their membership and lobbying for political support.
When these associations gained grounds, firms such as Google found them instrumental and went ahead to open an office in Washington and hired a law firm to help represent their interests to the concerned authorities. Lastly, they bring in new ideas and opinions into the political arena through the process referred to as agenda building. These interest groups make the government aware of problems its citizens are facing and foster for implementation of the possible solutions.
Matt Grossmann in his journal, Interest group influence on US policy change: An assessment based on policy history, he categorically attributed the role of interest group as exemplified by various articles to be very critical in shaping various aspects in the political arena (Matt 171). They also play a role in evaluating political progress, idea development, publicizing public opinion, and advocacy.
These roles are vital in shaping the political landscape of the States by exposing corrupt and incompetent leaders while promoting those with integrity and excellent leadership skill. They also work to fight for the rights of its members and the general public at large by presenting the needs and views of the common citizen to those in positions of power so that they could be addressed, and if the concerned leaders fail to respond to their cries, such leaders are exposed to the public so that they do not make another mistake of taking them back to positions of power.
Despite these, Matt Grossmann is concerned with the current change of events where individuals or leaders holding influential positions in government are using their powers to threaten and pin down such lobby and activist groups while others fund them so that they do not get exposed them but instead attack their opponents and spoil their otherwise good reputation. Such malpractices have dented the image of these groups in the recent past and infringe on their independence and transparency.
When members of the senate get elected, they are faced with the dilemma between meeting the needs of the members they represent or look at the broader picture of the whole nation. Members of Congress have been accused of neglecting the people who elected them to positions of power. But statistics show that on a non-electioneering year, they make a couple of trips to their constituencies and go the extra mile to get in touch with issues at the grassroots.
Burke reasoned out that when a constituency elects a representative, he or she ought to be keen and sensitive to the needs, opinions, and views of their subject or trustees but are not be obliged to take their views if they (the senators) think they are misguided. Burke also stated that some senators think that they are duty-bound to do what their constituency members want on the basis that legislators are delegates that have been sent to represent the views of their subjects on critical issues. These delegates also have a national responsibility to act as trustees, but in most cases, they tend to act the delegate’s role when it comes to matters that touch on their constituency.
They tend to assume the delegate role in most cases leading to pluralistic policymaking but if the legislature act as trustees, then policymaking becomes less aligned to the district and state affairs hence majoritarianism policymaking. The article also did address the differences between pluralism and majoritarianism where congress has been accused of being more pluralist in their errands.
For the concept of majoritarianism, the parliament was exemplified as an example of this type of legislation where executive and legislative roles are divided between the president and the state representatives each selected separately. In a parliamentary system, the powers are more concentrated and aligned towards the legislature, which only comprises one house and has no courts to evaluate the acts of the governing body. In general, this government system fits more in the majoritarian model than in any other system.
From the article on, The Senate and American Federalism. American Political Science, has clearly shown how these politicians are keen on attending to issues affecting members of their constituency so that they could be given another chance to run for those positions the next time they request for them. Some of these delegates get so much in the county affairs to the extent that they forget their overall responsibilities to the state as a whole.
There are some though, as observed by William, who tends to laze around only to wait for the electioneering year to begin projects and developments in infrastructures and social amenities in their constituencies to blindfold their subjects in the process of aiming to retain their seats, but times have changed, and according to the author, voters have become enlightened with the recent technological developments, voter sensitization, and lobby groups that have helped many become more informed of their constitutional rights and hence cannot be fooled around (William 15).
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In conclusion, the interest and lobby groups have a big responsibility in educating the general public on sensitive issues that touch on their lives and also on their rights and responsibilities to society to enlighten them and prevent their exploitation by self-centered leaders.
Matt, Grossmann. Interest Group Influence on US Policy Change. An Assessment Based on Policy History. New York: Penguin, 2012. Print.
William, Riker. The Senate and American Federalism. American Political Science Review. New York: Penguin, 1955. Print.