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The Role of Special Interest Groups How They Affect Opinions What is an Interest Group? A group of people who share a point of view about an issue and unite to promote their beliefs National Rifle Association (NRA): promotes 2nd amendment right of individuals to bear arms/own guns; against gun control laws National Educators Association (NEA): promotes public education/ teacher support Ideal: One Person = One Vote, Lots of People = Lots of Votes Types of Interest Groups Economic Interest Groups: deal with money issues Chamber of Commerce: organization of small businesses; protect business owners Labor Unions: organize employees for fair wages and safe work environment Professional Groups: based on specialized fields America Medical Association (AMA) National Educators Association (NEA) Types of Interest Groups Cont’d Non-Economic Interest Groups- issues do not deal directly with money Single Issue Interest Groups: only have one goal in mind National Rifle Association (NRA): protect 2nd amendment right to own a gun Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): lowering BAC for people who use alcohol and drive, and administering strict penalties for those who drink and drive Ideological Interest Groups- usually a belief in equality or in religious beliefs National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) : ensure all people are treated equally, regardless of skin color National Organization of Women (NOW) : issues of equality for women How Special Interest Groups Influence the Public The goal of special interest groups is to influence public opinion To gain members To convince public of the importance of their cause To get candidates elected who share the same beliefs as they do (Political Actiion Committees) Techniques Used Direct mail (junk mail) Advertisements Protests Public events Propaganda: certain ideas that may involve misleading messages designed to manipulate people What Do Interest Groups Do? Interest groups pool their resources (time, money, and skills) to increase their chances of influencing government Form Political Action Committees (PACs) to collect money from members of their groups to get people elected that support their views They go to court, suing on behalf of their cause They lobby: try to influence lawmakers by giving members of relevant standing committees research that supports their beliefs Provide data and research to government officials to support their cause Lobbyists People who work for special interest groups and try to influence legislation that benefits the ideas/beliefs of the group are called lobbyists A lobbyist for the NRA would propose a law for expanded ability to purchase a hand gun, or would influence legislators to pass a law that they support A lobbyist for the NRA would influence legislators to vote against a law that restricts the rights of individuals to bear arms How Lobbyists Influence Legislation Lobbyists meet with legislators and make deals for support for or against proposed bills A lobbyists will meet with legislators and give them their side of the issue to try to persuade the legislator to side with their special interest group on the issue Propaganda Techniques Bandwagon: everyone is doing it, so should you Appeals to people’s desire to be part of the “winning team” Ex. “Polls show our candidate is pulling ahead, and we expect to win by a landslide” Name-Calling: an attempt to turn people against the opponent or an idea by using an unpleasant label or description for the person or idea Negative campaining Ex. “ Candidate A is a dangerous extremist” Endorsement: using a famous person as a supporter Ex. “Michael Jordan says, “ I am voting for Candidate B and so should you.” Propaganda Techniques Cont’d Stacked Cards: presents only one side of an issue Ex. “Candidate A has the best record on the environment” Glittering Generality: a statement that sounds good but is essentially meaningless Ex. “Candidate A is the one to bring us peace and prosperity Just Plain Folks: use of photographs of candidates to make people think of that the candidate is just like the, with the same desires and concerns Ex. “My parents were ordinary, hardworking people, and they taught me those very same values.” Propaganda Techniques Cont’d Transfer/Symbols: using a patriotic symbol to associate with the candidate Ex. The candidate wearing blue and red standing in front of an American flag.
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