What is the role of an interest group in a democracy?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An interest group plays an important role in our democratic system. An interest group is a group of people who share a common view on a particular issue. They will hire lobbyists who will meet with elected officials on the local, state, and/or national level to share the viewpoint of their members on a particular issue. They will try to encourage and/or pressure the elected official to vote they way the group wants them to vote. The lobbyists might also testify at hearings to share the viewpoint of the group.

There are several types of interest groups. There are professional interest groups such as the American Bar Association or the National Education Association. There are public interest groups such as the Sierra Club, which works to advocate for issues that will help protect the environment. This group is working for what they believe is in the best interests of the public. There are also business interest groups that work to advocate for the interests of various businesses and industries.

Interest groups can be very powerful. They will contribute to the campaigns of people running for office. They will endorse candidates and encourage their members to vote for those candidates. The National Rifle Association is a very powerful and influential interest group because this group represents many Americans and is able to contribute lots of financial resources to races that are closely contested.

Interest groups play a big role in our political system.