Although they both serve as linkage institutions, interest groups and political parties have different goals in politics. The fundamental goal of interest groups is to influence legislative decisions and public policy by attempting to focus people’s attention on these topics or educate them on a certain issue or a small group of issues. They do this mostly by lobbying congressional committees at the local, state, and national levels, usually during campaign season. Grassroots lobbying and political action committees play a big role in lobbying efforts.
Congress relies on funding and support from interest groups, and in return, the legislation focuses on the issues in which supporting interest groups specialize. Unlike interest groups, the main goal of political parties is getting their representatives elected as president or to other government positions. In order for political parties to be successful, they must hear out interest groups to determine which issues people are truly concerned about; parties are required to focus on a wide range of issues. Political parties also rely on media and advertising to get support and campaign funds.
This is taken care of mostly by PACs within the party. Political parties tend to serve the interests of the politicians themselves rather than the constituency, but they are often successfully swayed when interest groups lobby Congress, Interest groups play a big part in the success of politicians and political parties in general. When a politician agrees to bring up a certain issue in Congress or any other position if he or she is elected, an interest group concerned with that issue will support his or her campaign with financial contributions.
More money makes for stronger campaigns, so parties are able to have a big enough influence so that they are able to get their politicians elected. Interest groups will also publically endorse candidates who they feel would meet the needs of the group and raise awareness for issues that certain candidates want to focus on, if elected. While endorsing the viewpoints of politicians during their campaigns helps political parties to get their representative into office, it also benefits the interest groups themselves.
When an interest group raises awareness on a certain issue to support a candidate, it is also further informing the constituency. Although interest groups do notparticipate in elections, getting their point across while advocating for a candidate usually results in more supporters. The public’s reaction to certain issues communicated by interest groups also helps to determine which topics of concern are on the public agenda. This allows interest groups to alter their lobbying techniques and focus on different congressional committees. Thus, there is a distinct relationship between interest groups and political parties that allows for mutual benefit within the government.