ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Political Parties Vs Interest Groups

Updated on December 26, 2017


A political party refers to a group of persons who organize themselves for the purpose of taking over power, determine policy, and run the government. On the other hand, interest groups represents a group of individuals with common interests and who endeavor to sway policy towards a certain direction by policy makers, in this case politicians. Both of these entities are quite important in a government set-up. In general terms, both the political parties and interest groups comprise of organized group of individuals who are serving specific interests and working to achieve particular objectives in the government. In addition, both of them are involved in solving political issues affecting the society as well as in raising resources to accomplish the laid down goals. This paper presents a comparison between interest groups and political parties. The discussion will entail the roles of these entities within the government, the society, their international structures and composition, and how they operate. Political parties and interest groups serve a crucial role in the operation of a government.


Despite political parties and interest groups working towards achieving particular objectives within the government, their roles and structure differ to a greater extent. While interest groups are not interested in running the government, political parties are focused towards being at the helm of political power. In addition, interest parties do not sponsor candidates for political office. However, they at certain level, support candidates who are aligned to their interests and are willing to provide the necessary assistance once elected. Another area of divergence between the two entities is that unlike interest groups which are focused on achieving a specified goal, a political party may have different views on a particular issue and even blur their positions on such issues. This owes to the fact that political parties want to appeal to a wider society and attract as many voters as possible. Therefore, they will not consider making statements or supporting a diversity of opinions rather than the interest of certain people (Baroni, 2014). This mode of operation is quite different from that of interest groups who harbor a tendency of sharpening specific matters for the purpose of promoting a specific issue or position, which may be regulation of abortion, banning of homo-sexuality, gun control or eradicating poverty.

Interest groups have in recent years grown tremendously as it pertains to policy making process. In the American perspective, there is a long history of specific individual or groups of individuals joining together to achieve a given purpose. It is not surprising then that America’s political system is largely influence by a wide range of interest groups. Apparently, there is no definite classification of interest groups. Instead, there are a myriad of interest groups which represents different interests within the political system (Wilcox and Berry, 2008:90). This better explains why interest groups employ equally different strategies and tactics owing to the fact that they represent a divergence of interests in achieving their course.

As already stated, interest groups employ various approaches in influencing government policy. Among these include rallying members of the public to vote for particular individuals or groups, lobbying the government to consider their interests or undertake specific measures, and educating the public on their rights or how they can achieve their goals. Furthermore, the groups may resort to mobilizing the public to engage in such activities as demonstrating, or contacting their political leaders to address their plight among other ways (Wilcox and Berry, 2008:115). Some groups utilize electioneering strategies such as giving donations to political candidates, or endorsing those who support their goals, or rallying people to vote for particular party/individuals.

Different types of interest groups exist in the society. For instance, there are trade associations, which offer a representation to a particular aspect of the economy (for instance, teachers, traders, lawyers, plantation workers, among others). Each of this group takes a stand on a divergence of policy matter. There is also Citizen Action Groups, another form of interest group which is focused on a diverse range of public issues. These issues may include environmental condition, corruption, injustices, discrimination among others. There are also non-membership groups serving specific economic interests. Corporations, Universities, local and state governments are categorized in this group. Majority of interest groups keep a close contact with former government players (such as former cabinet ministers, members of congress, and military officers. They then use these people on their behalf as lobbyists owing to their knowledge, experience, and connection in the government and policy making-process (Annenberg Foundation, 2017). The representatives of the interest group are then expected to generate policy outcomes that benefit members of the society.

Political parties are united on one objective, electing public officials. In other words, the interest is on gaining political authority. This is also one main area that differentiates it from interest groups. The Republicans and Democrats, the two key political groupings in the U.S work in a different manner from each other. However, both of them endeavor to achieve the same political goal. In most cases, the two key political affiliations in the US adapt their ideologies geographically, and over time in order to conform to a specific political environment. This may explain the reason why third parties have always found a hard time to establish their bases. Parties may be involved in facilitating citizenship, promoting democratic government, as well as serving the interests of politicians, coordinating elections, facilitating collective political action, as well as in coordinating the processes involved in policy-and legislation processes (Hershey, 2010). However, unlike interest groups whose participation is indirect, the political party’s involvement in policy-process may be done directly, especially by those who are in control of the political system.


Key differences between political parties and interest groups have been duly analyzed. The paper has noted that while the existence of an interest group is for the purposes of promoting a position on a given issue, a political party is formed with the sole purpose of gaining government control. Furthermore, a political party may not be static about a given issue, but rather can be flexible to appeal varied interests from a diverse number of voters. In other words, they are dealing with a wide range of issue while interest groups are addressing only one single issue. Concerning members, interest group members are not necessarily aligned to any specific political party or political candidate. Instead, they are ready to support any party or candidates who are willing to support their course. This is unlike members of a political party who are expected to support only their particular party.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)