MMPP 6280:Week 6: Interest Groups in American Politics Essay Assignment Paper

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MMPP 6280:Week 6: Interest Groups in American Politics Essay Assignment Paper

MMPP 6280: Policy and Politics in American Institutions | Week 6

Perhaps the most intriguing phenomenon in American government over the last half century is the ever increasing influence of interest, or advocacy, groups in American politics. In many ways, interest groups have become the new form of citizen engagement or participation, much to the dismay of those who consider this a significant threat to democratic government. Scholars, including Hudson (2013), have made reference to this “new citizen activism” as potentially dangerous for democracy in the sense that, rather than involving mass participation from engaged citizens, these organizations are “vehicles for paid professional activists” who represent the interests of a select few who have the means to organize and lobby for or against a particular issue, policy, or law.

This week, you explore the pervasiveness and value of interest groups and citizen participation in American politics.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate the role of interest groups in public policy
  • Evaluate the value of interest groups
  • Analyze the impact of interest groups on public policy
  • Analyze U.S. citizen participation in government and public policy

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Hudson, W. E. (2017). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Chapter 4, “The Fourth Challenge: Citizen Participation” (pp. 137-170)

Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

  • Chapter 3, “Interests Groups and Public Policy”
    • The Governmental Process (1951) (pp. 83–87)
  • Chapter 4, “Agenda Setting”
    • The Dynamics of Agenda-Building (1972) (pp. 128–136)

Arnstein, S. R. (1969). A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 35(4), 216–224. doi:10.1080/01944366908977225 Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

An interest group is generally a voluntary group or association that intends to publicly promote their mission, vision, or cause. If you analyze contemporary American society and the political system, you’ll find interest groups at the very center. This phenomenon, which has seemingly risen to unprecedented heights, has changed the political landscape and significantly impacted the policy process. There are some arguments over the value of interest groups, including the notion that interest groups pose a significant threat to democratic government.

For this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources and consider the role of interest groups in your community, town, state, or another country and how they may be helpful or harmful to democracy.

By Day 3

Post your explanation of how interest groups impact policy process. Then, describe the extent to which interest group lobbying has diminished or increased over the last two presidential administrations. Explain the basis for your impressions. Then, explain whether interest group activity should be curtailed by federal legislation and why or why not. Include in your explanation how curtailing the power of interest groups might be beneficial or harmful for American democracy.

Note: If you are a student residing outside of the United States, explain how interest groups impact the policy process in your nation or country and how it has impacted democratic governance or movements.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Discussion 2: Citizen Participation

Do you think citizen participation is an essential element in politics and government? What role do citizens take in public policy? In her classic essay of 1969, Sherry R. Arnstein posited a typology of American citizens’ participation in their government. Intentionally provocative, her typology attempts to explain opportunities for, and barriers to, civic engagement among citizens with power and those without. It provides an excellent context for citizen participation, and you can draw upon Arnstein’s example to understand the implications of citizen participation on the development of public policy.

For this Discussion, review Arnstein’s, “A Ladder of Citizen Participation” and reflect on how this typology has been demonstrated in presidential administrations and in the development of public policy.

By Day 4

Post your explanation of how Arnstein’s typology has been demonstrated in the last two presidential administrations. Provide two examples to illustrate your views. Then, explain at least two implications of citizen participation on the development of public policy or platforms.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

 

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