Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interest Groups and their Role in Elections

Interest groups survive in the American democratic system mainly to provide financial resources during election campaigns and to restrain elections from holding government hostage. In 2008, the electorate rose up once again to put the government under control (Hudson, 2009). Hudson (2009) again argues that the current president, Barack Obama, faced stiff opposition and political huddles from government establishments in the 2008 election even though he had claimed victory. Citizen participation in government functions is a challenging aspect in modern American democracy. While in some democracies governments register eligible voters to partake in the selection of the right representatives, the American system is quite different since it is based on a system that gives electors freedom of choice during voting times. 

The actions of courageous activism, the right to voice concerns by speaking loud and louder through street matches and sit-ins, may be credited for spearheading many rights we currently enjoy in the American democratic system (Young, 2001). Through deliberative democracy, parties have been able to break gridlocks and agree on many contentious issues in peaceful discussions. However, there are times when deliberative democracy causes tensions among peaceful citizens (Young, 2001). At times, proliferation of interest groups with divergent views may cause in inaction and failure. Mostly, citizens deliberate on burning issues requiring corrective measures. These are issues that can cause tremendous hardships on the well being of society. Deliberative democracy brings awareness and increases political participation mainly in contemporary politics where the spread of the internet has been found to increase social awareness.

Public interaction with public administrators, if effectively maintained, with trust and confidence in mind, can result in the creation of client-customer alliances. The public can also interact with public administrators as regulatees (Rosenbloom, Kravchuk & Clerkin, (2009). Until the 80s, the role of interest group was largely ignored by economists studying aspects of public policy (Mitchell & Munger, 1991). Interest groups partake in government to survive and enhance interrelations. It would have been almost impossible to enact social policies like welfare in Europe with political party mobilization remaining out of the spectrum (Hudson, 2009). Working class and low-income communities have been able to survive for such a long time in democratic countries with help from social and labor organizations. Interest groups are known to take impressive actions when it comes to fighting for the welfare of society mainly by challenging government policies that contravene human needs.


Hudson, W.E. (2009). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future. Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Mitchell, M.C. & Munger, M.C. (1991). Economic models of interest groups: An introduction survey. American Journal of Political Science, Volume 35, Issue 2, 512-546

Rosenbloom, D.H., Kravchuk, S.K., & Clerkin, R.M. (2009). Public Administration: Understanding management, politics, and law in the public sector. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Young, I.M. (2001). Activist challenges to deliberative democracy. Political Theory, Vol. 29, No. 5, 670-690.  DOI: 10.1177/0090591701029005004

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