Are special interest groups a threat to democracy? Yes, they are, because various interest groups that are in a more favorable financial situation have more chances of being heard than those who do not have much money to spare. This creates a space for corruption and promotion of specific economic interests (Richter and Werner 156). While some believe that special interest groups (SIGs) are a natural part of any system built on principles of democracy, current trends of monetization in politics seem not to be utterly democratic.
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SIGs are smaller communities within larger ones that promote specific interests attributed to their members. These groups use different forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and policies and play an essential role in developing social and political systems (Cigler and Loomis 7). There are many potential benefits from such groups, some of which are a better representation of interests and motivation of legislators to undertake decisions that would support the society.
SIGs are also considered conducive because of pluralism, which is a politics consisting of various groups that work against and balance each other (Cigler and Loomis 8). This way, interests that are specific to certain groups are eliminated, and only common goals are achieved. SIGs, however, often seek out the benefit for the minorities, and not for the whole society.
Interest groups are a vital part of American democracy but should be considered a threat to it because the government could make no substantial change due to hindrances posed by competing interest groups. Another drawback of SIGs is that they only tend to defend the interests of wealthier minorities, which may lead to corruption, bribery, and stalled government. A democratic society is the one where everybody can take part in making decisions, not only the privileged minority.
Cigler, Allan J., and Burdett A. Loomis. “The Changing Nature of Interest Group Politics.” Interest Group Politics. 9th ed., edited by Allan J. Cigler, et al., CQ Press, 2015, pp. 1-36.
Richter, Brian Kelleber, and Timothy Werner. “Sources of Congressional Candidates’ Funds: Does Interest Group Money Dominate?” Interest Group Politics. 9th ed., edited by Allan J. Cigler, et al., CQ Press, 2015, pp. 155-175.