Special Interest Groups, also known as lobbying groups, advocacy groups, and pressure groups are usually recognized as groups that intend to encourage or prevent changes in public policy without being elected. Usually these networks of individuals are set up in society to represent the common interests of a particular group of people. The ideological background of a particular political candidate often has a direct effect on whether or not they will be elected.
When the ideological background of the community in which the candidate is running matches up with that of the candidate himself, than it is almost always the case that they will be elected. Ideology in this context refers to the foundation of beliefs within which one is brought up. Within every community, there are particular ideals that are given priority over others. While in New York the war on drugs may be a major concern, people in Texas might be more concerned about homosexual marriage or abortion.
The candidates who run for office in these regions tend to be from these areas, and also tend to embody the ideals of the specific community that nurtured their growth. Likewise, since people have a natural attraction towards similarities, and that of which they are familiar, voters are more inclined to vote for someone with whom they feel comfortable, and who better than someone from your home town? This tendency is a natural aspect of human nature, and is only corrupted by the political system, when money and power come into play.
During the George W. Bushes second run, to maintain his Presidency, American film maker Michael Moore came out with a film called Fahrenheit 9/11. The film basically spoofed the president and all of his fumbled antics. It also questioned his stances on Policies like global warming, homosexual marriage, and the way he was handling the war in Iraq. The film has been released in 42 countries other than the United States, and it holds the record for highest box office receipt by a documentary.
The specific goal of the film was to potentially make the President lose his campaign for reelection. It is very possible that by propelling Bush into infamy, the film might have done the opposite. As terrible as this President has proven to be, he has done such a bad job that he is more an iconic figure than the position of the President itself. The film had a massive influence on global culture as far as making the world stand against Bush, but there is still much controversy as to how exactly the election was won by this man with such a massive opposition against him.
This film will also go down in history as being won of the most popular political documentaries influencing societal ideals. George W. Bush often points out that he is for legalizing immigration from Mexico. This is largely credited to his experience as the Governor in Texas and the fact that there are many Mexicans who helped him get elected there. These same Mexicans are assumed to still be members of the constituent group that helped him get elected into the Presidential office.
This is not too far from the truth considering that George W. Bush was recognized for having the majority of the Hispanic vote in his run against Senator John Kerry. In response to this George W. claims that he is in favor of legalizing immigration. This policy is entirely based on an attempt by the president to appeal to those whom he feels elected him into office. This is an ironic stance considering that he represents the Republican party, which is known for being capitalistic and having big government, and it is a proven fact that having illegal citizens in a country whom are still taxed actually improves the economy and health care.
This is an example of how a candidates ideological upbringing can effect their policies regardless of corporate incentives. George W. Bush is also a very erratic and Ross Gelbspan’s editorial in The Boston Globe Hurricane Katrina’s real name argues that Hurricane Katrina was the result of global warming. In his August 31st, 2005 editorial for the Boston Globe, Ross Gelbspan confronts this concept head on. He starts with the line, the hurricane that struck Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service.
Its real name is global warming (Gelbspan, 2005). He then credits global warming as the cause to multiple international disasters. A 2-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, disastrous winds in Scandinavia, and wildfire causing droughts are all presented as the product of this issue. By the middle of the editorial one is put under the impression that this is a concern of such monumental proportions that it would seem to be second nature to take action in response to it.
The conflict between wealth and global consciousness is very apparently signified when Gelbspan points out that, in 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations and lobbying campaign (Gelbspan, 2005). This is a very daunting thought, and becomes even more so, when Gelbspan points out that when George W. Bush was elected he relied on the oil and coal companies to create his global warming policies.
Rupert Murdoch and Fox News have revolutionized media and journalism. Murdoch has created a cable news network that utilizes the public’s belief in the American Dream to actually sway and, in many ways, dictate public perception. In a world that is predominantly populated with liberal media, Murdoch has found the perfect niche for his network. Despite much criticism and many who validly call the network out for being conservative, when it claims to be bipartisan, Fox News has become the highest rated cable news network in America. But this is not a new trend in the relationship between the control of money through government.
Krawczynksi further points this out in his essay when he says, the Founding Fathers deliberately designed the new American government to make it difficult for any mass political movement to challenge the political dominance by the traditional ruling elite (2003). He points out that their behavior is justifiable by the fact that these framers were also the main men who risked hide and limb to protect their political standings from the British, and they weren’t about to just turn around and hand it over to the public after winning the war.
It is Krawczynksi’s view that these patriots did not intend to revolutionize democracy and turn an elitist system, based on upper-class leadership, on its heals; their sole intention was to gain independence from Britain in order to get the country out of their pocket. The Patriot elite did not for-see the way the American commoners would view independence from Britain as the time to adopt egalitarianism. Aware that this Constitution would be aggressively opposed by the majority working class, the signing and construction of the deceleration was held in private.
The media was used conceal the constitutions true purpose as well as to sway people in its favor. We see this control of the media used daily in news papers, on television and the web, an example of this is the Republican Party’s financial collaboration with Fox News. In sum, the influence of special interest groups on the American Democratic system can be seen through the way Capitalism influences every aspect of American culture.
Rupert Murdoch’s invested interest in the Republican Party as well as the current administration, George W. Bush’s dishonorable dealing with the coal and gas corporations, as well as Hollywood taking an invested interest in Al Gore’s documentary an Inconvenient Truth are examples of how special interst groups influence the American political system. As Krawczynksi shows, lobbyist and advocacy groups have had their hands in the pockets of congress since the formation of the constitution and it’s not going to change anytime soon.