Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The NRA: The Power & Politics of Interest Groups


One of the largest and most successful interest groups in the United States is the NRA. Despite the recent mass shootings in the US, the NRA has successfully blocked repeated attempts to enact stricter laws regulating gun use.

Frontline has an excellent documentary on the rise of the NRA as a political force and its actions in response to tragedies at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook elementary.

The Washington Post has a good infographic that demonstrates the NRA's use of money in electing pro-gun rights members to Congress.

1. Vox: Why the NRA is so Powerful

2. Washington Post: NRA Tactics-Take No Prisoners

3. CBS News and the Politics of Gun Control.

4. This Week: How the NRA Won

5. NY Times: Inside the Power of the NRA

Using the above information, explain three different tactics/reasons that the NRA utilizes to help explain its success.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Lobbying Tactics

HW: Read 306-318

Here are the possible FRQ questions for final exam. The exam will focus on the material over the last 8 weeks (public opinion & ideology, political participation, campaigns & elections, political parties, and interest groups). It will be structured with 50 multiple-choice questions and one FRQ.

LO 4.C.5: Explain how various political actors influence public policy outcomes.

Today, we are examining how interest groups shape public policy through various lobbying tactics. 

1. Supplying information, and even sometimes helping write legislation is a common form of lobbying. Interest groups often testify in congressional committees about the impact of proposed legislation. In addition to providing information to legislators, interest groups provide information to their members, both in the form of newsletters/magazines, and through rating/grading system of elected officials and candidates. These ratings serve as a cue for members when deciding who to vote for.

2. One way interest groups try to influence lawmakers is through direct lobbying. This involves one on one contact with legislators and is referred to as an insider strategy. Sometimes this lobbying goes too far and breaks ethical rules as evidenced by the case of Jack Abramoff. There are also complaints about the revolving door, or the frequency of former government officials moving into private lobbying firms and vice versa.

Other groups utilize grassroots lobbying or an outsider strategy. This involves mobilizing members to influence public opinion and put pressure on elected officials. It may include letter/phone campaigns, marches, and demonstrations.

Groups like the NAACP and ACLU often use litigation, or lawsuits, to achieve their policy goals. Sometimes when public opinion differs, and elected officials are reluctant to change policy or success is not obtainable through legislative or executive action, a legal remedy through the courts is the best option.

Another lobbying tactic is the use of money by interest groups or political action committees (PACs).  Billions of dollars are donated with the primary goal of access to lawmakers. Open Secrets is a great web site that illustrates the use of money in lobbying.

Sometimes interest groups engage in cooperative lobbying or coalition building. Multiple interest groups with disparate interests work together to achieve a common policy goal, like daylight savings time.

Checking for Understanding
For each of the following interest groups, 1)identify what type of interest group they are . 2) explain why most people would join that particular interest group, and 3)explain what lobbying technique they would most frequently use and why

D. Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Types of Interest Groups

HW due Monday: Read 306-318 

Today we will be looking at the growth of interest groups and the various types of interest groups.

First, brainstorm all the different interest groups you can think of.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interest Group Formation & Types

HW due Thursday: Read 297-305

Federalist 10 Big Ideas

What are interest groups? Where are they located? How do they form? What are the various types of interest groups? How do interest groups try to shape policy and achieve their group's goals? These are just a few of the questions we will try to answer during this unit on interest groups.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Mischiefs of Factions: Federalist #10

HW for Thursday: Read 297-305 
Interest Group Identification Terms

Today, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a highly anticipated case over a wedding cake.

We are starting our next unit--Interest Groups. Just as George Washington warned about the "baneful" effects of political parties, James Madison warns about the dangers of factions (aka interest groups) and the newly proposed Constitution's ability to mitigate them in Federalist #10.

Today in class, you will read Federalist #10. As you read (or after you are finished) please fill out this chart on Federalist #10 to help you further understand Madison's arguments.

Here are a couple of videos that might help you understand Federalist #10:

Monday, December 4, 2017

Party Polarization

Homework: Read 249-258

Party Polarization

It has become apparent that there is an increased gap between the two political parties, both among voters and elected officials. Pew Research addresses the development in this reading.