From Public Interest to Party Politics: Interest Groups and Contemporary U.S. Politics
October 7-9, 2016
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In today's era of greatly divisive partisanship, interest groups have become increasingly powerful forces in U.S. politics. In races for the presidency, Congress, state legislatures, and even local elections, interest groups help--in both major and minor way--elect (or reelect) candidates who support their views. This seminar examines the constitutional basis as well as the evolution and operations of interest group activity in U.S. elections. From their Madisonian origins to the current election season, organized groups have been vital, though oftentimes criticized, component of political campaigns. We will study how the constitution, election laws and court decisions have affected the activities of groups in campaigns, as well as how groups have evolved over time to meet different challenges. Much emphasis will be placed on how groups intersect with political parties, mass media, and the general public. We will describe and assess various strategies of groups and their effectiveness.
Mark J. Rozell is Dean and Ruth D. and John T. Hazel Chair in Public Policy at George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government. He is the author of nine books and editor of twenty books on various topics in U.S. government and politics including the presidency, religion and politics, media and politics, and interest groups in elections. His latest books are: The New Politics of the Old South: An Introduction to Southern Politics (2014), The President's Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution (2012), Religion and the American Presidency (2012), and Interest Groups in American Campaigns (2010): The New Face of Electioneering. He has testified before Congress on several occasions on executive privilege issues and has lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years he has lectured in China, India, Vietnam, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. Professor Rozell writes frequent op-ed colums in such publication as Roll Call, USA Today, and Politico.