Political Science

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In what ways can people outside of the state influence a senator? 

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There are three main ways in which groups from outside the state can have an impact on senators.  These include:

  • Lobbying.  Groups or people from outside the state can go to the senator in Washington and lobby them on any given issue.  The groups will try to persuade the senator to take their point of view.
  • Campaign contributions.  Political campaigns cost a lot of money.  Senators therefore need to raise a lot of money.  There are many interest groups from out of the senator’s state that will want to influence the senator.  They can attempt to do so by giving the senator contributions or by withholding them.
  • Influencing the senator’s constituents.  Senators, of course, typically want to be reelected.  If an out of state group wants to influence a senator, they can threaten to mobilize opinion against the senator.  They can, for example, threaten to run ads against the senator in the senator’s next election cycle.  They can send newsletters and otherwise inform the senator’s constituents of votes the senator has cast that the group does not like.  If the people agree with the out of state interest group, they can put pressure on the senator to change his or her policy preferences. 

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