Analyse the Claim That Pressure Groups in America ‘Damage Rather Than Enhance Democracy'

1018 Words Apr 4th, 2006 5 Pages
It is not debated that pressure groups have a legitimate role in American government due to the rights placed in the constitution; however, many people believe that they damage democracy and have too much power. It is accepted that inevitably people will seek opportunities to advance their own interests and consequently the number of pressure groups has grown considerably in the 1960's and 1970's. Many members of the general public might concede that the interest groups offer some advantages but do not like their ever growing influence.

There are many advantages of interest groups which is why the government has only tried to regulate them in the past instead of out ruling them altogether. Interest groups provide representation
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Kevin Phillips, a political analyst argues that ‘Washington DC is not a capital so privileged and incestuous in its dealings, that ordinary citizens believe it is no longer accessible to the general public'. Interest groups such as large businesses which have money and resources have power, but groups such as racial minorities, the disabled, the elderly and the unemployed lack the income and bargaining power within their economy to enable them to achieve their goals unless they manage to win enough public support as an election approaches.

Another reason why pressure groups are disliked is the methods which a small number choose to use. The public can have understandable alarm to pressure groups as a small number resort to violence to achieve their aims such as the anti-abortion lobby group which have sent death threats.

A common public view is that pressure groups are a good thing until they manage to gain too much influence. Much of the public anxiety is related to the fear of the behind-the-scenes influence. There is evidence of over powerful large corporations which have so much power that the government is looking after the businesses instead of the ‘little people'. In 2002 Dick Cheney blocked a global deal to provide cheap drugs to poor countries by refusing to relax global patient laws which keep the price of drugs beyond the reach of most developing countries. The decision was made following intense lobbying from the

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