Advocacy groups have always been of prime importance in the United States. These groups hold specific interests and advance these interests by affecting the policies. Sierra Club, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and American Civil Liberties Union are some of the advocacy groups that represent my personal interests. These groups are working to protect and safeguard the individual rights, environment of the earth and the health issues.
The advocacy or special interest groups can undoubtedly be considered “factions”. According to Madison, a faction is a cluster of people that have same concerns and come together either to work against the public interest or in favor of a community’s interest. This definition can be applied both to the political parties and interest groups in the United States. Madison assumed that these factions would ignore the public interests and their very existence could bring unsteadiness to the system as the legislators would be influenced by these factions. Madison recommended that a representative democracy would be the best way out to thwart the damages of a faction. Instead of restraining and controlling the factions, they should be permitted to thrive and contend against each other. In this way, the factions would not form a majority and would not be able to manipulate the republic representatives.
It is a known fact that individuals, acting alone can never persuade the legislators to vote on certain legislation. So they associate themselves with the groups that possess the likewise opinions and concerns and if we look at the American political system, the concerns of Madison have proved to be true as the factions now are controlling the politics. The Democratic and Republican parties are two key factions which are in turn supported by various interest groups. Some of these interest groups strive to influence the policies while others work to prevent a bill from being passed. Moreover, these factions are also said to be protected by the First Amendment. The right to speech and association has somewhat given protection to the interest groups to finance the politics and they are using it for their own benefits.
However, there is a need to limit the actions of special interest groups. These special interest groups should be strictly regulated, the lobbying activities should be monitored closely, and the amount of money these groups donate to a candidate should be limited to a certain extent in order to lessen the influence of special interest groups on American politics.
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