Interest Groups and Lobbying in American Politics 1 Hudson (2010) lists one of the challenges to American democracy as the deficiency in citizen participation, one aspect of which is civic disengagement (p. 147). It seems as if there is a profound connection between the rise in the influence of interest groups and the rise of citizen disengagement, although I am not aware of a way to demonstrate the link. However, it is plausible that interest groups have simply pre-empted the ability of citizens to be heard, except in a stylized way represented by an interest group. For example, take the case of a very liberal American Jew who wants to exert some pressure on the American government to push for a two-state solution in Israel. Because the...The end:
.....a way in which to aggregate the power of the mass of citizens so that, even without the financial advantages of the corporations, they can still function as effective public interest groups. The AARP has been successful in this regard (Skinner, 2007, p. 41). Although the AARP has less money available to it than, say, the cumulative lobbying interests of oil corporations, it nonetheless influences a powerful voting bloc, and swings policy by that expedient. If anything, citizens should resolve to vote in blocs rather than by parties so that their votes can mean something more on the interest group level. References Skinner, R.M. (2007). More than money: Interest group action in congressional elections. Philadelphia: Rowman & Littlefield.