Constituencies and interest groups might matter a little less than we think

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Kyle says:

    I’m about to pass out here but so far, so convinced. I guess where I’d be interested to push this is to see if this works/is true only at the federal government.

    I mean, with the specific example of the teachers’ unions, they’re not nearly as powerful on Capitol Hill as say AARP or industrial lobbyists. At the state level, however, they’re enormously influential. (except Texas)

    I don’t have any well-defined thoughts on this but the interplay of interests, core constituencies, federal and state governments seems…really interesting – in terms of looking at the policy-making process.Report

  2. Avatar Philip H says:

    As it stands, our institutions give interest groups the room to have a ton of influence, and give legislators plenty of incentive to give into that influence. So, to get back to Will’s post, the Left (and the Right for that matter) does need to reconsider the scope of its political ambitions. I happen to think that both sides need to widen that scope, and aim not just for passing good policy, but for reforming the institutions of governance**.

    From my perspective, the politicians and political institutions do this because it gives them cover for their decisions. They may never come out and say “I voted against that bill because the teacher’s union told me to” but if they can use what the teachers have said tosheild themsleves, or to spread the blame they will. For all the narcicissim supposedly in politics these days, there’s also a lot of spinelessnessReport

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    It seems a basic part of democracy that constituents support pols to get what they want and pols try to give groups that support them what they want. Democracy is about people voting for pols they like and who do things they like. I think criticizing pols you don’t like for just doing something to help there supporters is often a asinine complaint that misses the point of democracy. I think a better question is who are the constituents and how does doing something they want also help the general population. Inserting a loophole into a bill so some business can get away with something that should be illegal supports a constituent but hurts the population. But, for the sake of argument, giving money to hire new teachers helps the EVIL TEACHERS UNIONS ( and lord knows teachers have been the enemy of American for years) but plausibly helps students by suppling more teachers and smaller class sizes.Report