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

4
Targets of Opportunity:
Issue Arenas

The diversity of our society and the proliferation of interests and interest groups is matched only by the number of forums or arenas where issues can be raised. More, and more complex, government has led to the creation of more regulatory and administrative agencies, more legislative committees, and increased involvement of the courts in making and reviewing public policy. This multiplicity of "decision points" has created "many more doors at which influence might knock and enter." 1

While many issues are addressed by federal legislation, many more are dealt with by state laws or city or county ordinances. And the number of laws and ordinances passed by every jurisdiction within the United States is dwarfed by the volume of rules and regulations adopted by elected and appointed administrators. The courts, at all levels of government, are interpreting laws and making policies that affect every issue. Finally, corporate and institutional activities shape issues.

In this chapter we explore the interrelationship of the branches and levels of government, how each addresses issues and presents different opportunities and different threats to issue advocates. We also examine the advantages and disadvantages of addressing issues in each forum, including the skills necessary to be effective in each. In chapter 9, we

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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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