While interest groups have long been at the center of the study of American politics, most explorations of their influence have tended to dwell on lobbying. When political scientists do look at groups' electoral activities, they tend to study contribution activity by political action committees. But a whole world of political activity has emerged that is not confined to PAC contributions. Activities such as issue advocacy, independent expenditures, and voter mobilization go well beyond the limits set by federal law. More Than Money is the first attempt to understand this world of interest group action in a theoretical fashion. It links data gathered through ten case studies to broader ideas about interest groups, political parties, and congressional elections. It examines what resources groups possess for political action, how they are linked to the incentives groups offer to members, and how groups can apply those resources effectively. It also looks at how groups adapt to changing political and legal contexts, and provides a better understanding of the relationship between interest groups and political parties. More Than Money does all this in a clear, accessible style and with numerous quotations from top players at interest groups such as NARAL and the NRA.
Rich in empirical detail, framed by interesting theoretical questions, and crisply written, More Than Money is political science at its best. From the AFL-CIO to the AARP, from the NRA to NARAL, the book paints a vivid portrait of the role of interest groups in congressional elections. Skinner's thoughtful analysis will be a valuable resource for both scholars and practitioners and a perfect fit for a range of upper level undergraduate courses in American politics.
Richard Skinner’s new book combines the theoretical insights of a political scientist with the practical insights of interest group activists to provide a compelling portrait of the myriad ways that groups are active in elections. The book will be of interest to political scientists and sociologists who study interest groups and social movements, and would make a fine textbook for many undergraduate courses as well.
Richard M. Skinner is visiting assistant professor of political science at Williams College. He previously served as a research analyst at the Campaign Finance Institute. He has also taught at Hamilton College, SUNY-Geneseo, the University of Virginia, and Bowdoin college. His work has been published in the Journal of Politics and the Forum.
Part 1 Part I: The Perspective Chapter 1 Groups and Parties in the Political World Part 2 Part II: The Groups Chapter 2 Studying Groups through Case Studies Part 3 Material Giants: The AFL-CIO and AARP Chapter 3 Purposive Power: The NRA, Sierra Club, EMILY's List, NARAL, and the National Right to Life Committee Chapter 4 Part III: The Resources Part 4 Professional Politics: The NFIB, ATLA, and AMA Chapter 5 Money Chapter 6 Membership Chapter 7 Expertise Chapter 8 Part IV: The Context Chapter 9 Group's Relationships with Political Parties Chapter 10 Changes in Context Chapter 11 Theoretical Conclusion