Texas politics is best understood by examining the power of interest groups. Interest groups in Texas politics vary in their membership, resources, and strength. It should come as no surprise that business, agricultural, oil and gas, and professional interests have dominated Texas politics. They possess cohesive organizations that are well-funded and well-connected to elected officials. They provide campaign funds, legislative action plans, and voters at election time.

The United States in known as a “pluralist democracy,” one in which political power is exercised through the competition of organized interests. Pluralism is alive and well in Texas; elite interests are not the only interests to which government responds. For other interest groups in Texas politics, their power is a function of size, timing, and tactics. For example, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works with Texas chapters to organize and advocate for the interests of African Americans. In recent years, the NAACP has worked with state and local elected officials to address problems with racial profiling by police.

Recent political science research has found significant differences in the power to effectuate policy changes between liberal and conservative “networks.” The term “network” is, in this instance, comparable to the term interest group. I’d like you to read an article written by two prominent political scientists to learn more about this difference. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

What to do:

This assignment is an article review. You may need to read the article more than once and you may need to look up words that are unfamiliar to you in order to review it. Your review must be organized following these four prompts:

  • What is the general subject matter of the article?
  • What is the main point the authors make in the article?
  • How does this article relate to the study of interest groups in Texas?
  • What have you learned from doing this assignment?

I want to assess your understanding of some of the assigned readings in Module 3, so you must write in your own words (no quotes, no paraphrases, no copy/paste from websites, etc.). To earn full points you must demonstrate your understanding by responding to the prompts in a well-written essay of at least 250 words (that’s about a page double-spaced in 12-point font).

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