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

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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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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