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
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10
Grassroots Mobilization

Bill Gradison knows that the most effective tool in his advocacy arsenal is not his overstuffed Rolodex or his political action committee's war chest. It is his ability to mobilize the grassroots. Real power does not reside in Washington; it exists "outside the Beltway," where people like Myra Rosenbloom, Frank MacConnell, and Donna Rosenbaum live. Every advocacy campaign ultimately depends for its success the support of the people: the grassroots.

While some issue campaigns arise directly out of grassroots pass and indignation, many more are conceived and directed centrally, of by Washington-based organizations. Today's campaigns are most often the result of research, analysis, and advocacy begun at the top interest groups. Those organizations face a difficult, dual challenge. They must involve their membership -- their own grassroots -- in the formulation of the campaign and its goals, and they must mobilize them and the general public to achieve success.


All Power to the People

The days are long gone when all lobbyists had to do to succeed was work quietly behind the scenes on Capitol Hill and in statehouses and city councils across the country. Politicians and lobbyists have traditionally paid lip service to the idea that all power resided in the people, while continuing to do "business as usual," relying on a combination

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