The Role of Interest Groups in Democracy
What is the main role of interest groups?
Interest groups are a formally organized association that seeks to influence public policy to benefit themselves or their causes. They attempt to achieve their goals by lobbying strategies both within and across political systems.
In addition, interest groups ensure that the views of citizens are considered in democratic processes (01).
Advantages of Special Interest Groups
- They promote authentic freedom of expression
As it is more challenging to ignore a group of voices saying the same thing than a single voice, interest groups give opportunities to pursue topics of interest that impact one’s life and add the idea to the collective expression of everyone else that shares the same perspective (02).
- They balance the impact of governance
The powerful few in positions of authority can be surely held accountable for their actions by coming together to speak with a collective voice. That is to say, interest groups have the chance to speak to them about concerning issues, limit their intoxicated power habits, and even vote them out of office.
Disadvantages of Special Interest Groups
- An easy way to stall all legislative processes.
The group seeks out what is in their best interest at the expense of everyone else, thereby increasing the number of bills under consideration because there is no agreement possible (02).
- Interest groups can change governing systems
The activities of an interest group can change how a nation governs itself when they grow large enough or several of them band together. This, however, forces everyone outside of the core group to either conform to the “new normal” or risk the consequences of being on the outside (02).
Should Government Allow Professional Lobbyists to Influence Campaigns and Elections?
Lobbying helps to educate, inform, as well as simplify the decision-making process for lawmakers. In essence, professional lobbyists are a great asset to the government.
In writing laws and regulations about tax payments of corporations or instructions on how to satisfy environmental regulations or rules for safety in the workplace, in particular, there are lobbyists who study every word and every comma of the legislative bodies and agencies (03).
Lobbyists have access to talk with the legislators and suggest alternative wording to those who write the legislation. Therefore, the government should allow professional lobbyists to influence campaigns and elections as campaign contributions and lobbying often help shape policy outcomes.
Check the following reference articles to learn more about the role of interest groups in democracy:
- Thomas, C. S. (2020, November 9). Interest group. Encyclopedia Britannica. URL
- 19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Interest Groups. (2021). Retrieved 15 March 2021, from URL
- 18.2 Special Interest Politics. (2021). Retrieved 15 March 2021, from URL
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