Interest groups and lobbyists have a significant impact on policies, as well as on the citizens of the whole country. They influence public opinion, represent the interests and policy preferences of various segments of society, and act to achieve favorable policies. Therefore, different individuals, companies, and other social groups can benefit from interest groups and lobbyists; it all depends on the interest group in question and its goals. Incentives and strategies used by the group may also differ according to its objectives and the preferences it is trying to press. Despite a number of controversial issues connected with the role of interest and lobby groups, they are generally believed to be vital and necessary in the political and economic life of any democratic country.
With the help of interest groups, average people get the opportunity to lobby their government, making it easier and more affordable to campaign for the issues and problems that are important to them. People interested in new legislation, better access to information, and becoming community leaders can also benefit from interest groups (Hoornbeek et al., 2018). This is true for certain legislators as well as political parties. If the members of a group are interested in the legislator’s policy, they may be willing to provide campaign support. Thus, different individuals can benefit from participating in or cooperating with interest groups and lobbyists.
There are many ways in which these groups affect society. First, they promote and facilitate specific changes by putting pressure on policy- and decision-makers about what they believe needs to be changed. Nevertheless, some interest groups might be more influential than others because they have more means of persuasion or financial resources. As a result, minorities or specific population segments may remain unheard. Other important ways in which interest groups affect society include their abilities to change current legislation, spread information, and influence public opinion.
To accomplish their goals of attracting more members, interest groups use many incentives. These can include financial opportunities, other material benefits, and solidary and expressive incentives based on appealing to people’s desire to implement their principles and beliefs. Interest groups gain and shape favorable policies through lobbying, electioneering, litigation, influencing public opinion, and keeping a positive public image. Two examples of such lobbying groups are the American Medical Association and Community Catalyst (Hoornbeek et al., 2018). These organizations work to improve the healthcare system at the federal, state and local levels. For example, their members meet with legislators to discuss improvements to the Affordable Care Act.
Interest groups are an essential element of any democratic system. Whether they further pluralistic or elite interests is a controversial question. On the one hand, most lobby groups work to promote the interests of the general public, raise awareness of public affairs, and stimulate participation in politics and the decision-making process. All interests can be represented, and each group tries to press its own political preferences. On the other hand, the risk arises that interest groups belonging to the upper class can have more resources to promote their references and will have the most influence. This may create certain obstacles to democracy; that is why competition might need to be regulated by the government to prevent some groups from obtaining too much power.
In conclusion, it can be stated that interest and lobby groups play an important role in the country’s political, economic, and social systems and are an essential element of democracy. Although their goals and incentives may differ, the main objective tends to be related to improving some aspects of social life and promoting the interests of the general public. Interest groups allow average people to participate in decision-making and defend their interests.
Hoornbeek, J., Lanese, B., Albugmi, M., & Filla, J. (2018). Healthcare reform repeal efforts in the United States in 2017: An inquiry into public advocacy efforts by key interest groups. Politics and Governance, 6(3), 190-204. Web.