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ASSIGNMENT: In this course, you learned that forming or joining interest groups

ASSIGNMENT: In this course, you learned that forming or joining interest groups

ASSIGNMENT: In this course, you learned that forming or joining interest groups is one way that Americans can participate in the U.S. political system. Recall that interest groups are formal associations of individuals or organizations that act to advance a shared interest and often attempt to influence government decision-making and public policy. For this assignment, you will create a hypothetical interest group around a cause or issue that is of interest to you. You will establish policy goals and strategize to meet those goals. By doing so, you will apply what you’ve learned about how the U.S. political system functions and about interest group formation, strategies, and incentives.
To complete the assignment, download the Create an Interest Group template and follow the directions below. You will return the completed template as your Touchstone submission.
A. Directions
Step 1: Select an issue or cause that is of interest to you, and prepare to create a hypothetical interest group that will advocate for the interest. The issue or cause could be big and national in scope (for example, gun safety); it could be small and local in scope (for example, cleanliness of the public park in your town); or anywhere in between. Note: Submissions that analyze existing, real-world interest groups will be returned ungraded.
HINT
Review the Role of Interest Groups in Democracy tutorial and the Types of Interest Groups tutorial to help you reflect on the functions of interest groups.
Once you’ve selected an issue or cause, think about your goals and what you would want your interest group to accomplish. Talk to friends, family, or community members, or research on the Internet to learn more about the issue.
Step 2: Download the Create an Interest Group template and review the prompts. Think about the specific policy and membership goals of your hypothetical interest group, the barriers to achieving those goals, and the strategies that would best lead you to success.
HINT
Keep in mind that the best strategies may be different for different interest groups, and may depend on how much public or political support exists for your goals, the membership base for your interest group, and how much money and political influence your group is likely to have.
HINT
Prepare to respond to the prompts by reviewing the Interest Group Strategies tutorial and the Factors that Influence the Power of Interest Groups tutorial.
Step 3: Fill in the Create an Interest Group template. You will respond to the following prompts. Remember to include in-text citations when summarizing, quoting, paraphrasing, or including statistics or data from outside information sources!
Your Interest Group
In approximately 6-8 sentences, give your hypothetical interest group a name, and describe the issue or cause it supports or opposes and why.
What type of interest group is it?
Goals
What are your specific policy goals? Specify at least 2.
Which level(s) of government and which government branch(es) will you target, and why?
Is there one political party that might be more receptive to your goals? Why or why not?
What barriers exist to meeting your goals? Specify 2 or more. Examples might include the free rider problem, lack of popular support, lack of political support, financial barriers, or others.
How might your group overcome each of those barriers?
Membership
Who will you target for membership and how will you grow it?
What sorts of incentives can your interest group provide?
Actions
Choose two inside lobbying approaches and two outside lobbying approaches that your interest group will use. Explain how each will contribute to the goals. You can choose from the menu provided (below), or brainstorm your own ideas.
Inside Lobbying Outside Lobbying
Hire a professional lobbyist Hold protest demonstrations or rallies
Testify at congressional committee meetings or before the full legislature Place stories or articles in the
media
Provide research or information to congresspersons Issue press releases
Meet with government officials Enter a coalition with other groups
Submit draft legislation to legislators Ask members to contact their representatives
File lawsuits or legal briefs (e.g., amicus curiae briefs) Publish ratings of legislators, other elected
officials, or political candidates
Try to influence agency or judicial appointments Mold public opinion and spread awareness
through social media
Donate to political campaigns Spearhead get-out-the-vote campaigns
REFERENCES (include, as needed, for any sources cited)
Checklist for Success:
❒ Did you review the suggested tutorials?
❒ Did you create a hypothetical interest group (i.e., not analyze an existing one)?
❒ Did you fill in all sections of the Create an Interest Group template?
❒ Did you review the grading rubric and compare it to your response?
❒ Did you review the example Create an Interest Group submission to see an example of a completed assignment?
❒ Did you include in-text citations when summarizing, quoting, paraphrasing, or including statistics or data from outside information sources?
❒ Did you proofread your work for proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization?

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