Role That Interest Groups Play in American Politics

Common concerns are what interest groups share and what they have becomes their driving force from the very onset. The interest groups then find a way to voice their concerns and interest to the government in order to control the policies that are formulated by the government in order to favor them. They seek to protect the interests of their clients as well as members.

There has dramatically been a rise in the number of interest groups and there is no segment of the society at the moment that has no affiliation to interest groups. Public policy is the very core of the agenda of these groups. Agendas such as political dominance between liberal and conservative parties and willingness to participate in these political activities are the main reason why individuals join these interest groups in order to have a voice in issuing their concerns.

These groups connect the individual to the government more closely and the main agenda of these groups is not so much the election outcome but how well they can influence public policy. The first amendment of the constitution is of major reference insofar as the right to join interest groups is concerned. Latent and unorganized interests are some of the driving forces that cause people to join these groups.

Collective good is a major reason why people join these interest groups. It is such that if one person has a certain right then others have the right to collect. College student loans, dairy farming subsidies are but a few of the reasons why people join these groups. There is no benefit in joining such groups as it would mean you were fighting for the collective good whereas you could wait and get these benefits once they were accrued by others (Cammisa, 1995).

Solidarity incentives (sense of belonging), purposive incentives (pursue social-economical and political goals in solidarity) as well as material incentives (insurance, discounts, and organized travel) are some of the reasons why people in America join these groups.

Categories of interest groups and their goals

There are five categories of interest groups in America, namely public interest groups, economic sector groups, professional groups, one-issue groups, and ideological groups. Public interest groups share public concerns and they strive toward addressing public issues such as pollution. The second group involves issues such as labor in which the groups urge for better working conditions as well as wages. Professional organizations such as the American Bar Association are of the view that they should assist in the nomination of judges and legal advice on the political system. Ideological groups arise out of scenarios such as the decay of the moral fabric of society. Issues such as homosexuality and abortion would be a catalyst for this group.

Whereas one-issue groups act on narrowly defined interests, strategies used by interest groups to favor legislation are quite a number. They include the use of big businesses and unions and the use of trade unions affiliated with a specific industry. These groups protect the economic well-being of their clients.

Strategies used by interest groups to influence the passage of favorable legislation in Congress

Strategies include access to officials in both the congress and government. Walker (1991) is of the view that Former government officials can help with the issue of having access to the government as former government officials would be given priority. By providing research and information on the groups’ positions then the groups can convince the officials on what it is they want. Material incentives also provide the official with a reason to give priority to some interest groups and this gives them the upper hand in terms of policy formulation. Goldstein (1999) asserts that these Protests do sometimes do give the lobbyist or interest groups a special platform for they tend to disrupt what is important in order to support where they have vested interests.

By suing groups who oppose them, these interest groups do tend to eventually get what it is that they needed initially. When an interest group has honesty insofar as their goals are concerned and then there are immense advantages then one gets to benefit from the collective good of the people and you also get to voice your concerns on a certain issue. By being a member of an interest group, you are part of a social network that can assist when in need of such services like legal services as there is immense networking in this process.

There is therefore better representation of interests when one is a member of an interest group. On a national scale, the interest groups do check the power of the majority. This is by voicing concerns of the minorities when the interest groups find that policy formulation and implementation does not favor the minorities Shelley (2007). As part of an interest group, one gets to be politically involved in matters that directly affect them. There is also dispersal of costs in case one needs to litigate a certain issue as the cost is shared.

Interest groups whose mission and goals I would

Interest groups that I would support are those that deal with moral values of the society such as good living conditions, access to healthcare, welfare to the elderly, and abortion and abortion to mention but a few. Interest groups that deal with checking governance and voicing out vices such as corruption are worth supporting for they do not do so for their own conceited gains but the collective good according to Shelley and Bardes (2007).


Bardes, B, A. Shelley, C, M. (2007) American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials. Belmont: Cengage Learning.

Cammisa, M. (1995). Governments as Interests Groups: Intergovermental lobbying and the federal system. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Goldstein, M, K. ( 1999). Interest groups, lobbying, and participation in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Walker, L. J. (1991). Mobilizing interest groups in America: patrons, professions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

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