This course will explore the role of interest groups and lobbyists in the American political process. We will discuss the basics of the policymaking process, with a particular focus on how policymakers respond to different outside pressures. We will examine the ways in which these outside pressures (the lobbyists) try to influence the policymaking process, and what determines whether or not they are successful. We will investigate whether the approximately 13,000 lobbyists roaming the streets of Washington improve or detract from the quality of American democracy. Students should expect to come away from this class with a greater understanding of why we get the political outcomes we do, and some ideas about how they might be able to change those outcomes, should they want to get involved.
Syllabus: Fall 2012 Syllabus