Political Parties vs Interest Groups
The difference between political parties and interest groups stems from the purposes of each. Political parties stand in the elections and try to win the votes cast by the people and represent them in the councils, parliament, or any other governing body of the state or country. On the other hand, interest groups do not stand in the elections. They do not aspire for the votes from the public too. This is the main difference between political parties and interest groups. There are some other interesting facts also about each of these groups that we will discuss in this article before we come to the differences between political parties and interest groups.
What is a Political Party?
A political party is a group of people who have come together to achieve common goals by acquiring political power and using it. As you can see, the way of political parties achieving their common goals is through gaining political power and using it. Political parties that have ultimately won the elections rule the country amidst challenges from the opposition parties and interest groups that may not agree with their stands on various issues. It is thus understood that political parties can be challenged by interest groups too.
The organization of political parties is normally well-knit as, without a good organization, a political party cannot function. A political party usually has a proper constitution that explains why they have come together, the functions of their party, roles of the members, etc. They are very organized.
When it comes to common good, political parties tend to work much more in unison than the interest groups who seem to work for specific interests as their name suggests.
What is an Interest Group?
Interest group is a group of people who try to influence policymakers in order to achieve their common goals. Interest groups normally work for the interest of the public. They work either to support a decision taken by the ruling party or to oppose it with great force. Sometimes, they have nothing to do with any party but are focused on achieving a goal, an issue, that they believe is worth fighting for.
Interest groups force the government or the elected political party to implement a favorable decision for the welfare of the society or a particular section of the society. Another important difference between political parties and interest groups is that interest groups do not position their representatives in the government. That is because they are not interested in ruling a country. They are only interested in achieving their goals. They take on the challenges themselves without having representatives. However, they will support candidates from political parties if those candidates share the same view they have about a certain issue.
The nature of organization of interest groups differs from that of political parties. In other words, the organization of interest groups is somewhat loose. They are a group of people working for a common goal. That does not necessarily mean that they should have a constitution and so on for their work.
What is the difference between Political Parties and Interest Groups?
• Definition of Political Party and Interest Group:
• Interest group is a group of people who try to influence policymakers in order to achieve their common goals. They do not seek to achieve the political power in a country.
• Political party is a group of people who have come together to win the governing power of a state or a country in order to achieve their common goals.
• Representatives in the Government:
• Interest groups do not position their representatives in the government.
• On the other hand, political parties directly position their representatives in the government. This is a big difference between political parties and interest groups.
The nature of organization of interest groups differs from that of political parties.
• The organization of interest groups is somewhat loose when compared to that of political parties.
• The organization of political parties is normally well-knit.
• Internal Politics:
• Internal politics of interest groups is not that flexible as they cannot change their stand without changing who they are.
• Internal politics of political parties are much more flexible.
• Political Party and Interest Group:
• An interest group can arise inside a political party as members of the political party can have different opinions on different issues.
• An interest group cannot have more sub-factions inside it. If an interest group has sub-factions that is no longer an interest group.
These are the differences between the two terms, namely, political parties and interest groups.
- Workers prepare political party badges by Al Jazeera English (CC BY-SA 2.0)
- American Society of International Law Women’s Interest Group by CC BY-SA 4.0)
Matheus Grunt says
I think you are using a mental model that political parties and interest groups shall no overlap.
I see the Green Party as both a political party and an interest group working both inside and outside the political system in non-traditional ways as we advocate and work for a Green Society.