Electioneering and Interest Group Activities

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Interest groups engage in electioneering when they become involved in the electoral process. During actual electoral cycles many interest groups channel resources usually committed to efforts to influence government policy to activities immediately intended to promote particular candidates and causes. The differences between electioneering and regular interest group activities may be only a matter of degree. For example, Californians will be voting soon on a new tobacco tax that has predictably spawned a television campaign to defeat the initiative paid for by tobacco interests and anti-tax groups.

Both groups would be involved in the political process even without an actual campaign to focus their efforts. Elections do provide opportunities to participate in very election-based activities that are unlike the industry norms of lobbying and general fund-raising. It might be argued that what electioneering activities a particular group may become involved can provide valuable insight as to the actual and concrete interests of the group. In the case of the California tobacco tax it is unlikely that the tobacco interests currently funding anti-tax commercials will spend any money to support the other side (it is not uncommon for interest groups to spread their money around as a form of hedging their bets). What do you think? Is electioneering actually a different form of interest group behavior or is it, as suggested above, simply a shift in emphasis during election cycles?

–DENNIS FALCON

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10 responses to “Electioneering and Interest Group Activities

  1. Harodid Salgado

    The book describes electioneering as “direct group involvement in the electoral process, for example, by helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates, and forming political action committees” (333). Interest groups take advantage of campaigns, as described in chapter ten. However, it is doubtful that this significantly differs from normal forms of interest group behavior.
    Agreeing with what Dr. Falcon says, interest groups only “channel resources” around election time, and they always try to influence the political arena to make things go their way, “whether there is a campaign on or not.” The other activities, as listed above, include general fund-raising, lobbying and trying to influence government policy, and although, this does not cover all of regular interest group activities, the book describes how these activities also have a significant impact on politics, as well as does electioneering (330-334).
    Also, interest groups participate in politics outside of electioneering through the filing of amicus briefs. The books says that amicus briefs are “written arguments submitted to the courts in support of the side of a case” (334). This shows that interest groups have a number of different strategies, with or without a campaign. To conclude, during the electoral cycles things may shift a bit, but interest groups are always endeavoring to achieve a goal.

  2. Shivangi Sharma

    I think electioneering is different form of an interest group, because it’s doing the same thing. It’s standing for something. They utilize campaigns towards their best interest during election time, because evidently that’s when it’s needed the most. Interests groups do that, and so does the idea of electioneering.

  3. Electioneering I believe is less effective of the well informed, and who do these commercials target? Political action committees spend their money on these campiagns, such as California tabacco tax, to try and insure their side. However much like the politicians can find a benefit from lobbyiest, maybe the public can find value from commercials being shoved down our throat. This however requires the viewer to take interest in the system and the process. If they don’t, then the money spent on these commercials were wasted. People for the proposals are already for the proposals and people against them are still against, so no money made there. The real question is whether or not the actions of the political action commitees have the ability to persuade swing voters. In certain situations they can, and will. They are in business and business is good for America. Not everone will like it but that is a factor of the world we live. Certain interst groups win and certain ones lose.

  4. I believe that electioneering is just a shift in emphasis by interest groups during the election cycle. The textbook defines an interests group as “an organization of people with similar policy goals who enter the political process to try to achieve those aims”. (p. 319) It then defines electioneering as “Direct group involvement in the electoral process”. (p.333) The shift in emphasis occurs during the election cycle mainly because the focus of the group has to change. During the election cycle the focus shifts to the public. Groups have to convince the public that certain propositions and initiatives are in their best or worst interests. This is mostly accomplished by slickly produced television and radio commercials. When the election cycle is over groups have to focus on politicians to try and convince them to bring forth policy issues that benefit the group to the floor. This would include activities such as lobbying. Both involve spending thousands and many times millions of dollars to accomplish the goals of the group.

  5. I would say that electioneering is simply a “shift” in emphasis during election cycles. An interest group is defined as “an organization of people with similar policy goals who enter the political process to try to achieve those aims” (319). This definition sounds similar to what electioneering is, “direct group involvement…helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates, and forming political action committees” (333). Both of these groups seem ultimately to form and work the same, and ultimately want the same thing. So I don’t believe these are different at all, because whichever goal is set, these groups tend to work the same to achieve that goal.

  6. According to the book Government in America definition and couple of examples for electioneering, “Direct group involvement in the electoral process, for example, by helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates, and forming political action committees” (333), I was able to understand more about the difference between electioneering and interest group. In my own opinion I believe that electioneering is just a group that helps candidates reach its goals. It is something similar to interest group but according to Government in America book interest groups means “An organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals. Interest groups pursue their goals in many arenas.”(319). What I believe that they mean by “Organization of people with shared policy” is that is a group of people with the same goals put together to work on how to reach the goals they want. I would say that electioneering is not exactly the same as interest groups but something similar only with different strategies on how to reach each other goals.

  7. First lets start by understanding the interest groups and then electioneering. In the book Government in America states, “an interest group … is an organization of people with similar policy goals who enter the political process to try to achieve those aims” (Edwards, Wattenberg, Lineberry 319). Interest groups are basically a group of people determined to encourage or trying to prevent changes in public policy without trying to be elected. Second lets understand what is electioneering. Government in America defines electioneering as, “direct group involvement in the electoral process, for example, by helping to fund campaigns, getting members to work for candidates, and forming political action committees” (Edwards, Wattenberg, Lineberry 333). Electioneering is basically a group of people being directly involved in the electoral process. When reading the difference between interest groups and electioneering it is almost the same however, just a simple shift during the election cycles. Both mainly focus on policy goals. Both groups are trying to help a candidate reach their goal. Both groups are trying to attain the same goal which simply sets the groups as the same but with a simply shift. It goes back to the main idea; interest groups and electioneering are trying to achieve the same goal.

  8. The term interest group is define by the book as “An organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals”(p.348). Their job is promote or create policy goals, they also support candidates for office, while electioneering “aiding candidates financially and getting group members out to support them”(p.362). Electioneering is just a shift in emphasis during election cycles. Both groups are trying to achieve their goals, they are almost the same thing. The elections give to the interest group the chance to get involve, and since they support financial certain candidates, in my opinion, they provide a value support for those candidates because they try to influence the public through the media

  9. I feel that electioneering is just a shift in emphasis during election cycles that it is a different form on interest group. Why would electioneering be a totally different form of interest group if it deal with some of the same aspects as an interest group does. Electioneering is kind of the drive for interest groups. In the book the definition of Interest groups is basically “an organization of people with shared policy goals”. Electioneering is “direct group involvement in the electoral process” , which interest groups also take part of. Electioneering is basically the part of an interest group that gets the ball rolling, like the campaign cheerleaders and money raisers. Both of these groups are trying to promote and get their goal passed and heard, electioneering is simply just a shirt from interest groups but I do not feel it is in a whole different category. Electioneering I feel, is a promotion for and with Interest groups. Both groups have many similar goals, that its hard to even say they are particularly different due to that they both are trying to help reach a goal, and it is both in the interest of each group. Both groups are trying to reach the same goal which is a shared interest between reach group.

  10. I feel that interests groups are related to electioneering because them help persued peoples decisions. The interest groups form at the time of elections to try and do things like commercials, newspaper ads,and protests that will get their beliefs in your head. Now for example if the candidates are running for a specific role like goveneror or presidents, they are going to do and say what the people what to hear to get their vote. Well, interest groups only care about their beliefs and want the other people to follow them. Thats where there is a diffenence between interests groups and electioneering. Reading about interest groups reminded me of the chapter about media bias. The media will only show you what they want to and interest groups will only tell you what they want to.

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