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

9
Persuading Decision Makers

Until now, we have examined how individuals and interest groups assemble the power and resources to make change. When an issue becomes ripe for action, it is time -- for them and for us -- to focus on persuading the people and organizations who can make change happen.

This chapter analyzes how issue advocates persuade decision makers from the "inside." The next chapter explores how they mobilize popular support to put "outside" pressure on those same decision makers. Taken together, chapters 9 and 10 describe the strategies and tactics advocates use to influence how laws and policies are made, interpreted, and administered.


Lobbying and Lobbyists

Even before Ross Perot made the word "lobbyist" R-rated, lobbying had an image problem. To many, lobbying has unsavory connotations of arm twisting, backroom bargaining, and trading money for influence. Yet citizens and interest groups who lobby are participating directly in the making of laws and the governing of the nation; they are exercising their constitutional right to petition the government.

Legislators hold hearings to solicit the views of the public; they invite their constituents into their offices; they attend town meetings in their districts so that they can stay in touch with the people they represent. They conduct their legislative business in public (for the most

-149-

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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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