This research paper "Interest Groups: Understanding their Role in American Politics" will reveal the meaning of interest groups including particular examples. Moreover, the paper describes how do interest groups influence in the US politics…
A particular example of an interest group is the organization SAGE (Service and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders). . It is the largest and oldest organization in America devoted to promoting the welfare of LGBT senior citizens and make sure that their voices do not get lost in a cacophony of voices. SAGE formed itself in 1978 not only to deliver services to LGBT elders in New York City but also to push for policy reforms at the national level, and provides technical assistance to similarly-minded groups all over the country. It is not however a simple issue of sterile technical assistance. Considering the historical marginalization of LGBT communities and their susceptibility to the hate agenda of conservative groups, SAGE employs a radical organizing component as well (Reisch, 2005: 288) – that is to say, “the replacement of oppressive institutions, conditions, systems and practices with ones that reflect principles of justice, equity and respect for human diversity.” SAGE works in tandem with other organizations in order to further the shared goal. After all, theirs is a shared commitment towards addressing the needs and uplifting the well-being of LGBT elderly and pushing for equality and tolerance, regardless of age differences. It is through the consolidation of their voices that change can be sought and demands can be made to reform policies or introduce new ones. Coupled with this, SAGE is also following the strategy of pushing for their advocacy on three levels: city/local, state and federal level. This is a sound strategy in that it acknowledges that policy is generated in multiple fulcrums of power an if one is to push an agenda, then pressure tactics must be applied on the multiple fulcrums and not just one one. While interest groups are in theory a crucial component in any thriving democracy, many have criticized how some interest groups have created adverse effects in the American political terrain. Sustein (1985: 29) writes: The dissatisfaction takes various forms, but many of the concerns have a common root in the problems produced by the existence of interest groups, or “factions”, and their influence over the political process. The scheme is challenged on the grounds that it allows powerful private organizations to block necessary government action; that the lawmaking process has been transformed into a series of accommodations among competing elites, and that the rise of a large bureaucracy exercising broad discretionary power has undermined original constitutional goals by circumventing the safeguards of separation ...
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