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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The relationships between interest groups, political parties, and elections have always been dynamic, but in recent years change has accelerated in ways that have favored some interests over others. This chapter considers these developments as the result of a variety of factors, the most critical of which are the growth of polarization, a new legal landscape for campaign finance, and new organizational forms. The chapter goes on to suggest, that as bipartisanship has ebbed, elections have become winner-take-all affairs and interest groups are pushed to choose sides. The chapter further suggests that the rise of super PACs is especially notable as wealthy individuals have become increasingly important, single sources of campaign money, supplanting in part traditional interest groups, especially conventional PACs. It concludes that even as sums spent by super PACs and other interest groups have skyrocketed, the impact of their direct spending on persuading voters remains uncertain.

Keywords: interest groups, elections, super PACs, campaign finance, polarization, political parties, PACs

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