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What Are the Characteristics of Interest Groups?

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What are interest groups? What are the positive and negative aspects of group politics in America? What kinds of groups exist? What are their strengths and biases? • Interest Groups are organized groups of individuals or organizations that make policy-related appeals to government; unlike parties, groups focus more on policies than on the personnel of government. • Enhancing American democracy, interest groups educate and mobilize large numbers of people; they represent their "constituencies." • Groups lobby Congress and the executive, and engage in litigation in the judicial arena. • Groups also monitor government programs to insure that their members are not adversely affected. • Interest groups also represent what James Madison called the evils of faction representing their own interests as opposed to those of others as well as opposed to "the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." • According to the theory of pluralism, competition among varied interests produces ... more
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