What is considered a political process?

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Anything can be considered as part of the political process if it is a process through which governmental institutions interact with the people.  To understand what this means, look at Greenberg and Page’s American Government textbook, The Struggle for Democracy.  The book’s authors conceive of a three level system.  The first level is the structural level, made up of things like our political culture, our demographics, our constitutional rules, and other such things.  The third level is the governmental level, where we find Congress, the executive, and the judicial branch.  In between those two levels, mediating between them, is the political level where political processes occur.

For example, voting is a political process.  This is a process where the desires of the people are transmitted to the people who run their government.  But this is not the only political process.  The process of campaigning is also a political process because it is a process where the people who want to be in government communicate with the people.  In the campaign process, the people learn what candidates think and they respond.  Candidates learn about the people’s opinions through things like focus groups and opinion polls.  The process of lobbying is another political process.  Once again, this is a process where the people (or at least representatives of various interest groups that are made up of people) interact with the government.  The lobbyists let officials know what the members of the interest group are thinking and the officials can give feedback about what they hear.

Whenever there is a process that brings together government officials or institutions and people  from the general public, that process is a political process.

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