Power of Interest Groups
Little evidence exists to suggest that interest groups had a hand in the election of Obama though there had been significant involvement of interest groups in the hotly-contested presidential election of George W. Bush. Mitchell and Munger (1991) contend that interest groups may succeed in challenging government policies but fail to manage their own economies. Because interest groups are driven by need, they have the tendency to seek total maximization of the possessions they seek to acquire. According to
(2009) people engaged in such activities are usually more affluent than the
rest of society. Interest groups compete for representation in governments
which at times lead to increase in the size of governments especially in
Western democracies (Coughlin, 1990). Hudson
Burstein and Linton (2002) claim that no modern democratic nation is without political interest groups, political parties, and social movement organizations. While political parties impact policy implementations, social movement organizations affect policy only to the extent of presenting necessary information to the elected officials they presume to have their interests at heart. Interest groups played a great role in the elections that brought George W. Bush to power and not in the election of Obama. Celebrity endorsement of Obama in 2008 became a common phenomenon with celebrity like Oprah Winfrey going public with her pronouncements. Oprah’s endorsement of Obama created significant shift in voting strategies with many undecided voters switching party inclination and voting patterns (Gartwaite & Moore).
The use of technology started with Franklin Roosevelt who reputedly became the first
president to frequently use the radio during election campaigns, during the
depression, and at the time of the devastating World War II (Norquay, 2008). U.S. Roosevelt was followed by President Kennedy who became
famous for partaking in the first televised debate of 1960. Others famous for
using technological applications in their campaigns were George McGovern known
for using the telephone, Bill Clinton who became famous with cable television
and George W. Bush who applied micro-targeting techniques to gather information
about voter level of income and voter location.
Obama’s campaign became famous for its use of social media to capture
the hearts and minds of millions of Americans of voting age. By creating and
devising www.my.barackobama.com ,
his campaign became a force to reckon with. Started with the help of
twenty-year old computer whizzes, it transformed into a venture that had never
been seen before in modern elections (Norquay, 2008). By formulating the novel
idea of internet use, the Obama campaign erased organizational demands and
every kind of uncertainty.
Burstein, P. & Linton, A. (2002).The impact of political Parties, interest Groups,
and social movement organizations on public policy: Some recent evidence and theoretical concerns. Social Forces, 81(2):380-408
Coughlin, P.J. (1990). Electoral politics, interest groups, and the size of government. Economic Inquiry, Vol. XXVIII, 682-705
Garthwaite, C. & Moore, T. (2008). The Role of Celebrity Endorsements in Politics:
Oprah, Obama, and the 2008 Democratic Primary.
Washington, DC: , Department
of Economics. Retrieved from http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/stuff_for_blog/celebrityendorsements_garthwaitemoore.pdf University
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
Norquay, G. (2008). Organizing without an organization: The Obama network revolution. Policy Options (2008). Retrieved from http://www.earnscliffe.ca/pdf/oct08_norquay.pdf