Interest Groups at the Dawn of a New Millennium
Paul S. Herrnson, Clyde Wilcox, and Ronald G. Shaiko
THE CHAPTERS in this volume have demonstrated many of the connections between interest groups and government, between interest groups and political parties, and among interest groups. These connections are myriad and complex. They reflect the interplay of group goals, resources, and structures, as well as the institutional structures of government, the decentralized nature of the parties, and the rules regulating interest group activity. The complexity of interest group arrangements give insights into the sophistication of many interest group organizations; they change their strategies and tactics in response to changing institutional arrangements and political realities.
The research presented here demonstrate a number of lessons about interest group politics. First, interests participate in virtually every arena of American politics. Groups are active in many aspects of the electoral process and seek to influence the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. Second, the institutional and political environments in which interests operate influence how they organize and the activities they carry out. When groups move from the legislative arena to try to influence the bureaucracy, for example, they must rely on different resources and use different tactics. Groups that specialize in judicial politics are organized in