All three theories that we were given (pluralism, hyperpluralism, and elite and class theory for those of you who haven’t gather that from the title) are all about which groups affect the government, and just what that effect is.

Elite and class theory is a bit too cynical. It basically boils down to the belief that the wealthy control everything in American politics. While the wealthy do have a great deal of influence, there have been many policies that they don’t like very much, such like establishing unions, minimum wage, workplace inspections, and food and safety regulations. Those are all now viewed as both helpful and indispensable. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are now considered somewhat sacrosanct politically, and none of those benefit the wealthy. On the flip side, pluralism is far too optimistic. It thinks that all interest groups working together can result in better government. This forgets the fact that most of the time, interest groups don’t want to work together; they want to get their issue passed. That’s what makes them an issue group. Most interest groups have an opposite and nonequal group; the fact that they’re unequal is what enables one to “win” in the legislature in terms of that issue. The other group then turns to the courts. I think hyperpluralism is right; too many groups end up dragging polices down in different areas. Laws end up with tiny things snuck in, that get passed because they’re not nearly as important as the whole law. When people disagree with a law, they go to the courts and try and get it declared unconstitutional. People who care about an issue don’t give up on it; and so anything people care about gets bogged down and talked over and has stuff taken out, all probably making it less effective. I think that hyperpluralism is the clear winner.