Discusses growth of special interest groups, or lobbies. Contends that lobbyists act against direct democracy. Presents the pros and cons of lobbying Congress. Analyzes the effectiveness of gun and education lobbying groups. Special interest groups as a powerful political resource. The NRA. The AFT (American Federation of Teachers). Lobbying strategies.
Over the last four decades, interest groups or lobbies have proliferated at an astonishing pace, with their numbers growing from 5,000 in 1956 to over... more
Over the last four decades, interest groups or lobbies have proliferated at an astonishing pace, with their numbers growing from 5,000 in 1956 to over 20,000 today. However, this figure is only a modest estimation of the actual number of interest groups that claim to represent the multiple interests of the diverse American population today. For many Americans who are preoccupied with daily survival and personal responsibilities, interest groups serve as a useful and political tool for the masses that do not have direct access to legislators. Therefore, these interest groups enable the spirit of democracy to thrive in the U.S. On a more practical level, these organizations have the resources, the organization and the experience to address important political issues on behalf of the people (Berry, 1989). On the other hand, opponents of interest groups believe