Professor sherry Sharifian
28 October 2018
“Political parties and Interest groups”
Democratic countries operate “under two- or multi-party system” (Rashkova, 2014). Political parties are described as the team of politicians or activists joined together because they share common principle, belief, and values, and aim to control government by winning elections. This group works together to elect their member to government position to influence the authority to adopt laws and regulation that they believe. The function of this parties is to “provide a key link between citizens and democratic party leaders” (Leeper, 2014). Other functions of them are to unify and mobilize the citizen to vote, “recruiting a political class to govern, and articulating and aggregating social interest.” (Keman,2012) Talking about America, it has a dominant two-party system, one is democratic (liberal) and other is Republican (conservatives). Often third is formed by frustrated people but has very limited, almost no chance of getting authority. But they play an important role as they allow to express frustration in conservative ways.
An interest group is an organization that engages in political activities whose main agenda is to directly influence government policy in their favor. They “play a vital role in American politics particularly, information on public policy” (Keman,1264) as they serve as a permanent bridge between citizen and citizen group to their government. Interest group influences the political campaign and government decision-making process. There are several types of interest groups such as economic interest group, public interest group, religious interest groups, single-issue interest group, ideological group etc.
Talking about the relationship between political parties and interest group that they both are the political group trying to promote the cause they support, and try to influence the population about significant policy. Both have a similar structure including membership, leaders, conference etc., and rely on recruited member to fund for their cause and serve their organization. The primary difference between them is, political parties run their member candidate for the election to gain power over governmental policy but interest group does not run their candidate instead they lobby their preferred parties (policy maker), provide the fund for the election campaign to political parties who are in their favor. And also, interest group trying to engage on social or electrical media promoting their cause which also benefits their associated parties for their campaign. Other difference is that interest group focused on one or two issue and the member should be complete in favor for their cause, they cannot deny the cause and be a member but political parties are multi-focused, and people can deny or not like some of their cause but also can be a follower. For example, “National Rifle Association (NRA) advocates for the gun right” (NRA, Wikipedia, 2018) thus every member in this organization support for their cause (right to bear arms). But the Republican party’s voters are split on gay marriage supporter and non-supporter but they still are their member and vote for their party.
Finally, for any group or parties winning an election is very important to influence the policy in their favor. They both collaborate during campaign and election. “Modern campaign for the U.S Congress requires significant sums of money in order to be reasonably competent” (Jacobson 2001). The candidate in election require to raise fund from individuals, they heavily rely upon interest group for financial support. Here, political action committees (PACs) which are special fundraising branch of interest group “donate millions of dollars to candidates for federal office each electoral cycle” (Brunell, 2005). Thus, I strongly believe interest group has a high influence in policymaking as they are the backbone of the election campaign, and parties have to highly rely upon them to win their fate. The election is not a one-time achievement, its ongoing process. So, it remains very vital to keep interest group in their side for which they must implicate the laws in favor of them.
Work citation: –
Keman, Hans. “Political Parties.” The Encyclopedia of Political Science, edited by George Thomas Kurian, vol. 4, CQ Press, 2011, pp. 1263-1267. Gale Virtual Reference Library, http://link.galegroup.com.dcccd.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/CX1671601090/GVRL?u=txshracd2500;sid=GVRL;xid=fab66df6. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
Brunell, T. L. (2005). The relationship between political parties and interest groups: Explaining patterns of PAC contributions to candidates for congress.Political Research Quarterly, 58(4), 681-688.
Jacobson, Gary C. 1992. Mone^ in Congressional Elections, 3rd ed. New York: Harper Collins.
Leeper, Thomas J., and Rune Slothuus. “Political Parties, Motivated Reasoning, and Public Opinion Formation.” Political Psychology, vol. 35, Feb. 2014, pp. 129–156. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/pops.12164
Patterson, Thomas E. We the people: an introduction to American Government. 12th ed.
McGraw- Hill Education, 2015.
Rashkova, E. R. (2014). Ethnic heterogeneity and party system size: A district-level analysis. Comparative European Politics, 12(3), 249-278.
Wikipedia contributors. “National Rifle Association.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Oct. 2018. Web. 29 Oct. 2018.