As we have seen in Chapter Four, internal factors are not the only forces seeking to shape civil rights enforcement and regulatory activity. External forces, pressure groups, constantly try to alter compliance and enforcement procedures as well. Regulatory activity takes place in a political arena where those who strongly oppose and those who strongly support civil rights enforcement vie for dominance. The offices of civil rights compliance must contend with these external forces and their pressure politics. These new regulatory offices are facing nothing different from what the old regulatory agencies had to face. American politics is made up of contending and competitive interest groups, and no federal agency can escape this reality as it seeks to carry out its mandate.
However, before we proceed with this chapter's analysis of civil rights interest groups and pressure politics, it is necessary to reacquaint the reader with the leading theoretical perspective that dominates the political science and, to some extent, the journalistic literature about interest group politics in Washington. But not only do we want to call the reader's attention to these realities, it is likewise necessary to inform the reader of the nature and scope of our approach and the justifications for the deviations from the standard interest group perspective.
The key assumptions behind the leading and dominant theoretical perspective is that in Washington: (1) a political subsystem exists; (2) that it operates like an "iron-triangle", i.e. a cozy relationship between three partners; and (3)