typologies of pressure groups: USA

Insider and outsider groups

Insider groups have strong connections with the government or with one or both of the main two political parties. Examples of such groups include the American Medical Association, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the NRA. They might have substantial funding and invest heavily in lobbying and election campaigns, or have particular professional knowledge that guarantees policymakers pay attention to them.

Outsider groups lack strong connections to the political establishment and seek to sway politicians by mobilizing public pressure, often through marches or direct action protests. These groups are typically anti-establishment, indicating their fundamental opposition to the current political system. For instance, in 2016, Climate Direct Action conducted 'valve turner' protests during which participants shut off valves responsible for 15% of US crude oil imports for nearly a day. Multiple members were convicted on felony charges, leading the Department of Homeland Security to label the group as 'extremist.'

Promotional groups and public interest groups

Members of these advocacy groups are believed to be motivated by altruism rather than self-interest. Examples include environmental organizations like Greenpeace USA, gun control groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, and civil liberties groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Unions like the AFL-CIO, which aim to enhance the rights, pay, and working conditions of their members Business or trade associations, such as the US Chamber of Commerce Professional organizations, for instance, the American Bar Association Groups that advocate for individuals from specific social backgrounds, like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) representing African-Americans Religious organizations, such as the Christian Coalition of America In US politics, the term 'interest group' is sometimes used to refer to large corporations when they engage in lobbying the government and financing election campaigns similar to advocacy groups.

civil liberties 

Interpretations & debates of the US Supreme Court & civil rights 

Social movements

In addition to traditional pressure groups, which are structured organizations with a clear hierarchy and formal membership, an alternative model of issue-based participation exists. Social movements are much less formalized than pressure groups but play an important role in politics. Traditional social movements began in the nineteenth century and campaigned for political and economic change, often making significant gains in the twentieth century. They include the women's movement, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement. Social movements that developed from the 1960s onwards have been described as new social movements and include the environment movement and the anti-nuclear movement. In the twenty-first century, social movements have proliferated, largely due to the invention of social media. Movements can be generated from a simple Twitter hashtag, and activists use social media to organize and recruit supporters at little or no cost. This has allowed start-up social movements to mobilize large numbers of people and dominate the political agenda within months of being founded, a process that would previously have taken years or decades of painstaking campaigning and fundraising. Recent examples of social movements include the Occupy movement, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, March For Our Lives, and the youth climate movement.