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| Interest Groups Essay

How influential are interest groups in the policy making process? Identify and discuss the factors that affect the influence of groups in the policy process and their overall impact on policy.

Interest groups have immense influence on the policy formulation in the government. One of the major players among the interest groups is the national right to life committee. They push for the underlying agendas of abortion and treatment of prison inmates. The labor union also influences policies that are related to workers. In the formulation, the interest groups influence what goes into the policy paper. They follow their wish to have ideas that favor the interest of their members in the group. In the formulation and implementation, the interest groups prefer implementation in the way that they want. Realization of the dreams based on the policy starts with their influence on the candidate who is elected. From there, they are able to push for their interest as the candidates must fulfill the needs of the groups. They evaluate the policies through support or opposition of the government moves. The impact left by the interest groups is more visible than that, which is left by the common man.

Interest Groups in the Policy Making Process

Why are some interest groups stronger than others? Identify the factors that influence interest-group strength. Use these factors to compare and contrast the relative strength of the following types of interest groups: business groups, labor unions and farm groups.

Some interest groups show different strengths depending on the follow-up that they command. One of the factors that determine the strength of the interest groups is the number of people that follow the group. Those with the highest following influence the changes that take place in the government. Determination of their strength is also dependent on the line of ministry that they follow. The labor unions encompass the whole country with the following in all states. Right groups command the respect of all citizens and immigrants in the country.

Comparison of interest groups is affected by the camp that each group falls in. Business groups are very strong in influencing the economic policies formulated by the government. They are consulted before the policies are taken to the Congress. The reason is that they command a lot of strength in the economic activities of the country. Foreign policies are also influenced by the business groups. Most of the economic activities in the United States are business-oriented.

Labor unions have members from all the states. Therefore, the direction that is taken by their leaders represents the ideas of the whole union at large. The strength it commands is less than that of the business groups. The labor unions have been controlled by governments of different states. Not all labor laws are applicable in all the states.

Farm groups have influence in matters appertaining to food production. Not all states of the United States participate in farming. Therefore, they have minimal influence on the policy framework in the government.

Discuss some of the ways business groups seek to influence public policy. Why are business groups the most numerous of America’s interest groups?

Business groups carry the day with the biggest influence on the policy formulation and implementation process. They have influences both as individual firms and through different organizations. Some firms that command the respect from the government include Northup Grumman and Verizon Communications. Due to the amount of capital and services that they command, they pave the way for their strong influence. The services that the firms provide to the people determine their strength. They influence the government in relaxing or tightening laws that protect their interests. They also determine the foreign business relationship in exports and imports.

What are some of the tactics interest groups use to influence policy? In what ways do interest groups focus their influence on political candidates, and in what ways do they focus on the voting public? How do PACs affect interest groups’ ability to contribute money to particular candidates they support?

Interest groups use different tactics in influencing the policies of the government. One of the tactics is the funding during the electioneering period. Interest groups will fund candidates who follow and pursue their ideologies. The incumbent rule is also applied in situations like 2012. If the incumbent president supported their course, their support is channeled to his side. They also gather support from the individual candidates. This is supported by the fact that the candidates need money to pursue their political ends. Also through lobbying, the interest groups influence the decisions of the government. Interest groups will use all means at their disposal to influence the decisions of the government. They will use mass actions through protests and demonstrations. They can also litigate or sue the government or its agencies to attain their results. Also through political violence, the interest groups influence the government decisions.

The candidates that follow their ideologies are funded through different means. They fundraise for a candidate or contribute directly to the candidate. PAC plays a vital role in determining the system, in which they distribute the money.

What are some of the racial and/or ethnic groups that seek to influence public policy? What advantages do these groups have when promoting their causes?

The minority groups have formed groups that further their political interests. Some of these groups include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. This group represents the African Americans in the political arena. In the 2008 elections, the minority used their influence in voting for Obama. The other group is the League of United Latin American Citizens, which represents the Americans from Latino. They are influential in their fight for consideration as their groups are recognized by law. The affirmative action gives them an advantage in the presentation of their grievances. They congregate in one place thereby creating a different influence from the interest groups.

Discuss three ways that elections influence policy formulation. In addition, explain how elections serve as a means of policy evaluation.

During the run-up to elections, different political parties appeal to the voters for their favor. The politicians start from the lower-level elections of governors to the higher and topmost seat of the president. For one to be elected to these positions, they must be ready to solve the problems facing the electorates. In the grass-root elections, governors and senators are elected according to the policy that they promise to deliver to the electorates. Manifestos of a political party give the guideline of what the candidate will do for people. The policies that the party or individual candidate present to people decide his or her fate. What the political party presents to people before elections has to be implemented in the course of the term if they are to qualify for the second term. In the manifesto of Obama for election year 2008, withdrawal of American army from Iraq and Afghanistan was the first policy. This has been on the channel for completion. Therefore, the election manifestos contribute to the formulation of policies.

The elections of the incumbent determine whether the policies have been implemented. With an incumbent president, who has implemented the policies to the latter, they will get a second chance. Those that have not implemented them will be voted out. Also the candidates with the best policies are voted in while those with weak policies are not. Therefore, the best policies will get the votes.

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The selection of a vice-presidential candidate is an important choice for “balancing the ticket.” What does this mean? How successful were the Democratic and Republican candidates in balancing the ticket in 2008?

The running mate of the president is chosen by a convention. The convention is carried out before the election date. This means that the vice-presidential candidate gets the nod of the delegates, who are present in the convention. The running mate is nominated by the president, who later gets the confirmation by the delegates of that political party. The process of choosing the vice-presidential candidate is similar to that of the president.

The balancing of the candidate for vice-presidential elections depends on the character traits of the president. The traits include racial, ideological thoughts, experience, religion, gender diversity and ethnic allegiance. With each candidate appearing to a different group of voters, the party will have better chances of winning the elections. Other factors include faction balance and the personal characteristic of the presidential candidate. A candidate preferred hails from a popular state. This follows the election of the president in the Electoral College.

In the elections of 2008, Obama with the Democrats ticket chose Joe Biden to balance on his lack of experience and the state he came from. McCain in the camp of Republican Party chose Sara Palin from the state of Alaska. The advantage of Palin was that she was a woman. She would convince the women to vote for the Republican Party while Joe Biden would show the electorates the need for experience inhibited by the Democrats. The success of the balancing is evaluated by the results of the elections. Therefore, the balancing favored the Obama side.

You have been hired to manage the Democratic presidential campaign in the next election. In planning the campaign strategy for the November balloting, what criteria would you use in deciding which states you will target with your resources? Explain the logic behind your answer.

In the campaign period, the resources are distributed strategically according to the plan of the party. In the democrat’s camp, the funds are distributed irregularly in different states. In preview, the public funds are shared according to the performance of the party in the previous elections. For the democrats, they will receive the biggest chunk of the share. In the last elections, Obama refused to be funded by the public kitty as there was the need for more funds.

The democrats focus on California and New York. Therefore, the campaign money should be channeled to these two states. One of the reasons of giving them more money is to influence the Electoral College. In these two states, the numbers of delegates that are inclusive in the Electoral College are 10. Each state presents five representatives. Therefore, more funds should be set there to ensure the 10 votes are assured. The other amount can be distributed in the blue states depending on the policy framework of the Democrats.

In 2008, both the Democratic and Republican campaigns employed small armies to visit local communities and get out the vote. What type of campaign activities were conducted by these campaign volunteers and what were the effects?

In the modern times, communication with the electorates has taken a new mode. Through the Internet and the TV, the candidates present their ideas to the electorates. But in the very end, the candidates result to volunteers or armies, who are sent to the states to campaign for them. The armies have a better understanding of the communities that live within a particular area. They present the grievances and needs of the people to party’s think tanks, who formulate policies and manifestos from the ideas. They also represent the presidential candidate in the grass-root levels. Electorates feel to be part of the candidate with local representation. They also prepare for the campaign trail of the candidates. The program of the candidate’s campaign in that state is defined by the findings of the volunteers.

What is a red state? What is a blue state? Where are each located? In your opinion is the division between them as clear as some political scientists believe? Define battleground states. What was their significance in the 2008 Presidential election and will they influence the upcoming 2012 Presidential election?

The colors of the states on the Electoral College map define the side that the states voted. The red states show those states that voted for the republican in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. The candidate that was voted in these two elections was George W. Bush. It is said that the red states favor guns and are conservative by nature. They always oppose the policies proposed by the government. They are located in the south.

The blue states are those that vote for the democrats. Their traits show that they are secular liberals. They are in favor of gun control and the government policies that are aimed to alleviate problems in the society. The blue states are located in the western part of the United States. The definition of their location varies with time. The candidate determines the red and blue states. Therefore, the definition by the political scientists depend on the candidate that a party fields.

Battleground states are those states that are differentiated by the blue and the red colors. They have no definite side that they support in the presidential elections. The campaign magnitude that is employed by the party determines which side they fall. During 2012 elections, these states will be the points to watch as the blue and red states are marked by the incumbent Obama Democrats.

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