Do Interests Influence?


 

The American Presidential election and campaign efforts are thankfully close to an end. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by each political party to promote their policies and leadership characteristics. The question is why is all this money needed for an election? Do people’s opinions and values shift due to the amount of campaign ads they see and hear daily? Overall, why does money have so much influence in our government when we are in debt and numerous domestic institutions are suffering?

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Special interest groups in America are partially to blame for monetary intrusion within our government. Jeffery Berry states that, “An interest group is an organized body of individuals who share some goals and who try to influence public policy.” While I believe the non-governmental sector should have no influence in domestic and foreign policy, congressman and presidential candidates rely on their support for their campaign efforts. In return, the government officials, if elected, will favor these groups policies, thus not always keeping America’s “best” interests in mind.

It is argued that American’s right to free speech and press has encouraged interest groups to form and publicize certain issues, often in a extreme dialect. I’m all for people having the right to speak their mind even if I don’t agree with what they have to say, though speaking and donating to SuperPacs are two different things. The main interest groups that are viewed today are groups in the business sector. Large multinational corporations bring vast resources to influence their goals into the political agenda. Top business officials are usually members of multiple trade associations, which represent an entire industry’s view in the political process. Corporations also support “umbrella” groups, such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that speak for the whole business community. Finally, individual companies directly lobby legislators, and they funnel millions of dollars in campaign contributions to the candidates they favor. 

There are various other interest groups like professional associations, intergovernmental groups, labor unions and public interest groups. Rather than giving huge monetary donations, these groups promote for the benefit of society both domestically and globally by lobbying and educating policy makers about issues occurring in the world today. Although these individuals lack financial resources to give  politicians, they provide a voice for the general public.

Do you think American interest groups influence our foreign policy in the Middle East? How about with the upcoming Israeli election? Are American interests groups more likely to support the Israeli agenda or the Palestinian Authority when it comes to aid? Lastly, do you believe money equals power?

References:

http://infousa.state.gov/government/overview/dmpaper9.html

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2 thoughts on “Do Interests Influence?

  1. In politics, money is everything!
    More money equals more television commercials, mailers, and billboards. It gives candidates the ability to plaster themselves across a district.

  2. I agree with you Justin that I abosutely agree everyone should have their say in what they believe. However, when it starts to deter the elections and campaigns from making decisions that have America’s best interest in mind, it has gone too far. Touching on your comment on whether or not interest groups play a role in the elections and foreign policies in the Middle East, I would surely answer yes. In a previous blog, it was discussed on how foreign influence was the source of much of the funding for the Israeli elections. I think the role money plays in elections and policy making is a disappointment. It is well understood that money is what equals publicity and gettings their names out, but then this snowballs into the ability to bash their openents and twist words around, rather than highlight themselves and what they stand for. To a degree, money surely equals power. Not to say this is the only way to gain power, but it is an unfortunate reality that this is true. My thoughts are that we need to fix this at home, and it will help to correct the financial involvment abroad.

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