The introduction of democracy in nations gave way to the use of legal means of determining public affairs. There is increased awareness about the rights of citizens in all countries because civil societies ensure people understand their privileges. Most people believe that civil societies play important roles in determining the direction of public affairs. Political parties are formed for various reasons including seeking power and agitating for respect for constitutional rights. Elections are considered the most democratic way of choosing leaders and determining the fate of other issues that are of public interest. This paper examines the roles of political parties and interest groups in determining election outcomes and issues that influence voters’ perspectives.
A voter is any person that has attained the required age to be considered legible to participate in elections. An election is a democratic process that enables citizens to vote and choose their leaders. Political parties are organizations formed by individuals with similar interests and to get power and control the activities of a country. Interest groups are associations formed by individuals to ensure the rights of citizens are respected. They also work hard to ensure that there is accountability and transparency in public affairs.
The Roles of Interest Groups and Political Parties in Elections
Interest groups are very close to citizens, and this means that they understand their challenges. Therefore, a wise politician must listen to the voice of interest groups and ensure they agree with them. Nations like the United States and other developed ones have robust interest groups that play important roles in ensuring that voters are influenced to make wise decisions. Ginsberg, Lowi, Weir, Tolbert, and Spitzer explain that “Political parties developed as a result of the expansion of suffrage and can be understood only in the context of elections” (198). The main role of interest groups is to ensure that they shape public opinion by informing people about their rights.
Most interest groups educate the public about what they deserve and how to get their rights respected by their leaders. Therefore, they play important roles in interpreting constitutions and other policies and ensure the public understands what it is entitled to. Voters will make wise decisions if they elect their leaders and join political parties that know and respect their rights. Therefore, interest groups are influential in determining the choice of leaders or political parties that the public chooses.
Secondly, interest groups are usually formed as a result of weaknesses in various systems. Therefore, the role of interest groups as protectors of human rights has been deepened to include their demand for good leadership. It is necessary to explain that most people do not know that interest groups have constitutional rights to demand that leaders and governments respect their citizens. The roles of interest groups ensure that citizens are well informed about their choice of leaders and political parties before elections. Most interest groups work hard to fill the gaps created by a lack of awareness about civic rights. These groups show citizens the weaknesses of their leaders and governments and ensure they elect those that have good leadership skills.
Thirdly, interest groups correct misconceptions about elections, leaders, and regimes. Politics involves a lot of propaganda and manipulation and people can make wrong choices if they do not understand what is supposed to be done. There are high chances that most people follow the beliefs of their political parties and leaders without thinking about whether they are right or wrong. Interest groups ensure they correct these misconceptions and educate the public on how to differentiate between facts and propaganda.
On the other hand, Ginsberg et al. argue that “Political parties and elections are all about who controls the government; participation is about who gets involved and why” (198). They work hard to expose the weaknesses of their opponents and show that they are more competent to lead. Political parties are formed to win elections and power by influencing voters to elect them during elections. There is no political party that can survive if it does not have followers and this means that they must use all means to influence the public to believe that they have the best policies and agendas for their countries. The Democratic and Republican parties are the most powerful and influential in America. These parties have been presenting candidates for various positions in different elections.
Secondly, political parties that are in government have a difficult task of influencing the public to believe that they are doing better than their predecessors. In addition, they have to show the public that they have the interest of their people at heart and will ensure they create job opportunities and improve the status of social services in their countries. On the other hand, those on the opposition side usually work hard to expose the weaknesses of their governments so that they can be perceived to be more competent and qualified to lead their countries. They expose issues like corruption, abuse of office, mismanagement, and other aspects that make governments ineffective. The more they expose the weaknesses of governments the higher their chances of winning more support and votes during elections.
How Votes Are Influenced
Voting likelihoods are influenced in various ways by social, economic, and political issues. Problems like insecurity, unemployment, and ineffective health care facilities make people desperate. Therefore, they participate in elections to ensure they elect leaders that can implement policies that will improve their standards of living Ginsberg et al. state that “The president must be at least 35 years of age, a natural-born citizen, and a resident of the United States for 14 years“(200).
However, not all desperate people participate in elections because some of them do not believe that regimes can change their lives. Most people believe that the problems facing them are not to be blamed on their regimes but on personal decisions. For instance, the problem of unemployment is never created by regimes but by the way people live and make choices in life. In addition, some people are usually busy, and they cannot find time to go and vote. Lack of civil awareness makes people believe that a single vote cannot alter the outcome of elections. In addition, economic hardships make people believe that governments have failed to offer solutions that will stabilize their economies.
Therefore, people vote and elect leaders and parties they believe will improve their standards of living. Lastly, electoral laws determine which political leaders and parties can vie for different positions. In addition, they create posts and determine the eligibility of contestants. These laws ensure all eligible voters are given equal and fair opportunities that will promote a just voting exercise.
Ginsberg, Benjamin, Teodore J. Lowi, Margaret Weir, Caroline J. Tolbert and Robert J. Spitzer. We the People: An Introduction to American Politics. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2013. Print.