A Citizen's Guide to Politics in America: How the System Works & How to Work the System

By Barry R. Rubin | Go to book overview

2
The Anatomy of
an Issue Campaign

Issue campaigns are not born, they are made. A successful issue advocate must do more than "manage" a predictable agenda of issues of concern to his or her constituency. Effective issue advocacy requires an active, ongoing analysis of issues and interest groups and their public and private activities. It also demands an understanding of the contemporary social, cultural, and political forces that shape how people view issues and the way government responds to them.

This chapter begins our analysis of issue campaigns, the people and processes that bring them to public attention, and the built-in resistances to addressing and resolving issues. It explores the many steps and cycles issues go through as they compete for public attention and gain momentum on local, state, and national public policy agendas. It describes tactics advocates use to analyze the dynamics of each issue and understand which individuals and interests are potentially affected by an issue. It takes a first look at determining who to influence, and how to influence them, to make change.


The Genesis of an Issue

Sometimes an issue arises out of Myra Rosenbloom's personal experience and sense of outrage. Other times, it is President Clinton, piggy

-13-

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A Citizen's Guide to Politics in America: How the System Works & How to Work the System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - Change is in the Air 3
  • 2 - The Anatomy of an Issue Campaign 13
  • 3 - Issues and Interest Groups 26
  • 4 - Targets of Opportunity: Issue Arenas 43
  • 5 - Understanding and Influencing Public Opinion 65
  • 6 - Information and Persuasion 81
  • 7 - Media Advocacy 103
  • 8 - Finding Strength in Numbers: Building and Managing Coalitions 131
  • 9 - Persuading Decision Makers 149
  • 10 - Grassroots Mobilization 182
  • 11 - Initiatives and Referenda: the Public Takes Charge 213
  • 12 - Issues and Advocacy Strategies for the Twenty-First Century 228
  • Notes 257
  • Bibliography 273
  • Index 279
  • About the Author *
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