Interest Groups - 78552

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While special interest groups are not typically made up of elected officials, they do play a major role in influencing the political decision-making of politicians who hold or are seeking office. For our assignment this week, we will look more closely at one of the interest groups listed below to better understand the group’s political agenda and what impact they may have on American politics.

To begin, select one of the interest groups/organizations listed below:

  • AARP – American Association of Retired People
  • ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union
  • AFL-CIO – American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • American Conservative Union
  • FPA-Farm Policy Action
  • AIPAC - American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations
  • Family Research Council
  • Handgun Control, Inc.
  • GLAAD- Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
  • NAN-National Action Network
  • National Right to Life
  • NOW – National Organization of Women
  • NRA – National Rifle Association
  • American Humane Society
  • Public Citizen
  • Sierra Club
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Once you have chosen the group/organization you wish to explore, perform a web search to locate the group’s main website. Additionally, perform a web search for recent information about your group’s activities.

    In an essay of 500-750 words, address the following questions:

  • What is the organization or group, and what is the address of their official website?
  • What are the issues your organization or group is concerned with?
  • What actions does your group take or have they taken to try to influence policy and thepublic agenda?
  • Assess your group:
    • What are its strengths and weaknesses?
    • What could it do better to achieve its goals?
    • What is it doing well to forward its agenda?
  • VFW-Veterans of Foreign Wars

Back up what you say with specific examples demonstrating their effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness). Remember to find weaknesses of the group; you will likely need to research beyond the group’s main website. Every group has a weakness - your task is to find it. A response like, "I didn't find any weaknesses" is not acceptable. Start by Googling "opposition to ..." and you will find things. Some things will not be accurate or fair. Your job is to sort those out.

As always, be sure to identify any direct quotations you draw from a source by identifying the source and by placing those words in quotation marks (no more than 20% of your essay can be quotations). The source of any ideas or facts you include should also be identified whether you use the direct words or not. Additionally, you should include the links to any news articles or websites you visit by copying and pasting the link at the end of your assignment.

As with all weekly written assignments, submit your work as an attached file. Double-space yourpaper and use 12 point Times New Roman as your font.


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