Political parties and interests groups have many similarities justlike the differences. Scholars, however, deem the differences to bemore important than the similarities. Which are the similarities?Which are the differences? Why can’t political parties merge withinterest groups to form one big party? This paper explores the truthbehind the intentions of both groups.
The main similarity between political parties and interest groups isthat they both push the government to do certain things. Forinstances, both the NRA (an interest group) and the Republican Party(a political party) want the government to reduce its regulation forthe right to bear arms (Berry, 2015). An additional similarity isevident in their goal accomplishment methods. The main methods usedinclude electioneering, creating national awareness of issues andraising funds. Rarely do similarities go beyond this point.
The main difference can be deduced from the distinct purposes of thetwo groups. While the political parties focus on power acquisition,the focus of interest groups is to promoting the adoption of theirstance on particular issues by the government (Bawn et al.,2012). In other words, the stake of interest groups on the matterends as soon as the government adopts their stance. That of politicalparties does not end there, but they instead seek to gain moresupport based on their success in reforming the situation (Bawn etal., 2012). Political parties have a lot of issues to care aboutbeyond mere push for change while interest groups are only interestedin change. Looking at the internal politics of the two groups,political parties are not as internally rigid as it is the case forinterest groups.
From the above, it is well evident that in spite of the fact thatboth groups are formed by individuals whose intentions are to pushthe government for certain issues, the intentions behind the ‘push’are different. Political parties seek to create and hold togetherlarger groups of people as members while interest groups have no suchintentions, they only care about winning on the issue at hand (Berry,2015).
Berry, J. M. (2015). Lobbying for the people: The politicalbehavior of public interest groups. Princeton University Press.
Bawn, K., Cohen, M., Karol, D., Masket, S., Noel, H., & Zaller,J. (2012). A theory of political parties: Groups, policy demands andnominations in American politics. Perspectives on Politics,10(03), 571-597.