AP US Government : Impact of Interest Groups in Politics

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

What is the main purpose of interest groups?

Possible Answers:

To partner with other interest groups and create an entirely new party

To introduce new candidates for the presidency

To facilitate the presidential campaign of their preferred candidate

To influence public opinion in favor of a certain political, social, religious, or moral position

To partner with third parties and shine light on overlooked issues

Correct answer:

To influence public opinion in favor of a certain political, social, religious, or moral position

Explanation:

Members of an interest group all share the same position on one specific issue, whether it is religious, social, political, or moral. Their main goal is to use lobbying, media campaigns, polls, and research to influence the public in favor of their beliefs. In this way, they are able to catch the attention of presidential candidates.

Example Question #2 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

The Taft-Hartley Act was __________

Possible Answers:

overturned during the Presidency of Harry Truman.

overturned during the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.

passed following Congress having overturned Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential veto.

passed following Congress having overturned Harry Truman’s Presidential veto.

vetoed by Harry Truman and not passed for another twenty-one years.

Correct answer:

passed following Congress having overturned Harry Truman’s Presidential veto.

Explanation:

The Taft-Hartley Act was designed to reduce the impact of labor unions in the United States and, as such, would logically have the support of many members of Congress (who answer to businessmen more than they do to the working classes), but would be less likely to have the support of the President. The Act was passed in 1947, after it was vetoed by Harry Truman, who believed the Act would enforce a type of “wage slavery” in the United States; however, Congress overturned Truman’s veto and the Act passed.

Example Question #3 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Coined by Jonathan Rauch, the theory that contemporary American government is paralyzed by the power of interest groups is called __________.

Possible Answers:

elite and class theory

hyperpluralism

demosclerosis

agnosticism

frozen government

Correct answer:

demosclerosis

Explanation:

Jonathan Rauch is a political and economic writer who coined the term “demosclerosis” to refer to the loss of government power in the years since World War II, more specifically to the stagnation of the ability of government to affect policy change because of the increased power of special interest groups who effectively hold the government hostage.

Example Question #4 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Hyperpluralist theory states that __________.

Possible Answers:

government policy is heavily weakened by the various competing interest groups, who often work against one another, slowing down the process of government

The Executive Branch is the main driving force behind policy-making in contemporary America

the system of checks and balances which prevails in American government is heavily detrimental to the ability of any one administration to carry out its policy goals

the competing interest groups within a government effectively ensure that the interests of all parties are equally and fairly represented

America is best served by maintaining a large military force in order to deter enemies from acting against America and to encourage other states to enter into mutually beneficial alliances with the United States

Correct answer:

government policy is heavily weakened by the various competing interest groups, who often work against one another, slowing down the process of government

Explanation:

Hyperpluralism is the political theory that government policy, and ability to enact laws for the good of the nation, is heavily weakened by the various competing interest groups, who all demand a say in government. Often these groups contradict one another and slow down the overall process of government policy-making.

Example Question #5 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Pluralist theory asserts that the most favorable system involves what type of interests being represented in the government?

Possible Answers:

All of the interests

The most moral 

The oldest

The most wealthy

The most logical

Correct answer:

All of the interests

Explanation:

Pluralism asserts that the best system is one that represents as many or all possible interests. This allows for the competition of many different interests until a decision can be reached. Some of the answers may be the outcome of a success of the pluralist system. And the most wealthy option represents the elite theory.

Example Question #6 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Which of the following is not one of the key ways in which interest groups differ from political parties?

Possible Answers:

Political parties are knowledgeable about a wide range of policies, but interest groups tend to be deeply informed on only a specific issue or two.

Interest groups direct their appeals to select groups of individuals, while political parties address themselves to as many people as possible.

While political parties must address a myriad of issues, interest groups typically concentrate all their efforts on a single topic.

Both political parties and interest groups put forth candidates to run for public office.

Correct answer:

Both political parties and interest groups put forth candidates to run for public office.

Explanation:

Unlike political parties, interest groups do not in fact put forth candidates to run for public office. While they do often support and/or endorse candidates, it is considered a suspicious conflict of interest for any interest group to actually nominate a candidate. This fact also partially results from the specific nature of interest groups– because interest groups focus on only a few select issues, with a serious depth of knowledge only in these few areas, it would be quite difficult to nominate a candidate who would be merely a specialist amongst the other generalist nominees of every other political party.

Example Question #7 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Select the best definition of the term "electioneering."

Possible Answers:

Negatively targeted and/or biased efforts undertaken by interest groups to prevent a candidate from being voted into political office

Cooperation between campaigns and corporations in order to ensure electoral success

Explicit and overt interest group involvement in the political process

Lobbying campaigns aimed at persuading Congressional members to pass and/or alter electoral laws in ways favorable to particular interest groups

Correct answer:

Explicit and overt interest group involvement in the political process

Explanation:

"Electioneering" is a general term that encompasses every overt but legal method by which interest groups and their lobbyists are directly involved in politics. The most frequently used electioneering tactic is the creation and organization of PACs– the majority of interest groups highly prioritize funding the electoral campaigns of candidates whom they see as somehow favorable or aligned with their cause. Other popular electioneering strategies include loaning staffers to help manage campaign efforts, sponsoring advertisements, and helping to organize rallies and other venues at which citizens are urged to demonstrate their support for a group’s preferred candidate.

Example Question #8 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Which of the following elements is not part of the system suggested by Founding Father James Madison to curtail the influence of interest groups?

Possible Answers:

In order to prevent any interest group from amassing too much power, each group’s so-called sphere of participation must be kept wide and dispersed.

Any truly democratic society must necessarily allow any interested public persons and/or groups to express their opinions and to freely attempt to assert these opinions upon the political order.

As a whole, the vast majority of interest groups seek to advance overall societal wellbeing, rather than simply acting in the service of base self-promotion.

If government and society fail to band together to effectively corral the machinations of interest groups, democracy will be resultantly impeded and even fundamentally jeopardized.

Correct answer:

As a whole, the vast majority of interest groups seek to advance overall societal wellbeing, rather than simply acting in the service of base self-promotion.

Explanation:

James Madison wrote a great deal about interest groups (which in his day were called “factions”), which he saw as unfortunate but necessary evils whose efforts and machinations must be diligently circumvented. Madison was keenly suspicious of any and all interest groups, especially those which profess to be working for the public good– according to Madison, such claims are merely an elaborate façade meant to disguise the selfish motives which nearly every single group seeks to further. A double-edged difficulty thus faces the nation, or so Madison believed: a democratic society must not seek to silence the voices of those citizens who band together to exert their will upon their government but neither can a democratic society allow one group to ride roughshod over the rights of any other. Madison’s proposed solution involves allowing interest groups to exist but under carefully controlled conditions, with corruption minimized as much as possible and as many groups permitted to operate as is feasible, in the hopes that their vast numbers will serve as a simple system of checks and balances.

Example Question #1 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Which of the following is not one of the key components of hyperpluralism?

Possible Answers:

The modern government’s trend of numerous agencies, ever-expanding budgets, and contradictory laws are all consequences of legislative attempts to appease as many interest groups as possible.

Interest groups accrue power at the expense of governmental efficiency and functionality.

Governmental gridlock is a direct result of governmental appeasement in the face of interest group pressure.

Iron triangles are proposed hyperpluralist solutions to the proliferation of power asserted by interest groups.

Correct answer:

Iron triangles are proposed hyperpluralist solutions to the proliferation of power asserted by interest groups.

Explanation:

Rather than being a solution, in fact, hyperpluralists decry iron triangles as the most damaging part of the modern interest group politics. Iron triangles are more generally known as lesser governmental organizations, in which interest group leaders join with relevant government agencies and congressional members to control policy decisions and implementation. This cooperation between leaders of interest groups, agencies, and congressional committees constitutes an unfair monopoly of power– or so hyperpluralist theorists allege. Members of Congress draft and sponsor favorable laws and government agencies carry out and uphold these directives, so that by banding together, these individuals together are able to wield far-reaching control over government activities. Each of these three groups thus forms one side of the triangle, while the so-called “iron” is provided by the inflexible stores of power which the triangle’s members amass.

Example Question #2 : Impact Of Interest Groups In Politics

Which of the following statements about the elitist theory of politics is false?

Possible Answers:

Large corporations, with their massive staffing and funding resources, serve to further guard the political elite against any loss of influence.

Lobbying is one of the few remaining ways in which the average citizen is able to stand up and challenge the power of the reigning elites.

The government is truly controlled by a select handful of interest groups whose behind-the-scenes operations only ever benefit their own self-interest.

Power naturally tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few, with each dominant interest group therefore constantly moving to reinforce and consolidate its own control.

Correct answer:

Lobbying is one of the few remaining ways in which the average citizen is able to stand up and challenge the power of the reigning elites.

Explanation:

Elitist theorists believe that the government is, in fact, controlled by a small circle of select elite individuals whose monetary resources allow them to reign all-powerfully behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. Due to this belief, elitist theorists therefore take a derisive view of lobbying, dismissing the practice as ineffective, corrupt, and useless. The average citizen, no matter how passionately he or she may lobby the government, is helpless to even match, let alone truly combat, the massive bases of power and influence which the elite inner circle enjoys. Large corporations and extremely wealthy individuals are able to hire entire units of highly skilled lobbyists to continually assail the government on their employers’ behalf, so that ordinary people, who have no great collection of money, perks, or influence to offer, are hopelessly drowned out. By and large, elitist theorists thus denounce lobbying as a futile practice, which only ends up benefitting those already in the best position to profit– aka the elite.

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