What Does It Mean To Be A Lobbyist, And What Are The Different Types Of Lobbyists?

Jim is a politician. Today, he and his colleagues are voting on whether oranges should be held in the same baskets as apples in their county’s supermarkets. The orange business could very well be harmed by having to share shelf space with apples because apples aren’t as nearly as appetizing as their citrus counterparts.

Mary, a lobbyist on behalf of the citrus industry in the town Jim and Mary live in, is paid by the orange business in town to try to persuade Jim not to allow apples and oranges to both be in the supermarket’s baskets at the same time. Mary is paid by the citrus industry because somebody has to do the company’s bidding for them.

And That is an Example of What Lobbying is
According to TripSavvy, a lobbyist is “an activist who seeks to persuade members of the government to enact legislation that would benefit their group.”

Lobbying is extremely prevalent in American politics, unfortunately; Senators and members of the House of Representatives are often paid thousands of dollars – if not even more than that, sometimes in the millions of dollars for just one payout – in an effort to encourage such politicians to stick up for what the special interests – lobbyists – believe in. This political process happens so incredibly frequently that it’s practically an inherent part of politics by now, at least here in the United States.

Different Types Of Lobbyists
Individuals who work as independent contractors for special interest groups are called contract lobbyists. These people do not regularly provide their services. Rather, they only lobby when work is available and convenient.

Subcontracting lobbyists are contracted to perform a specific set of duties for their special interest groups of employers. The only difference between these and the aforementioned contract lobbyists is that subcontracting lobbyists will dole their work out to others, at least in part.

Employee lobbyists are full-time lobbyists who work a lot for the special interest groups interested in swaying the opinions of politicians. These lobbyists have to register with the government.

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Getting The Next Generation Interested In Politics

There is no such thing as the phrase, “I’m not really into politics”. Politics affect everyone, regardless of how little or how much they may notice! Encourage young people to harness their passion and turn it into political power that other generations will take notice of. Below are five ways that the youth can be motivated to kick out the indifference and inspire real change-making involvement:

1. You’ve Got My Vote
Organize to hold voter registration events at local high-schools, colleges, festivals, and fairs. Getting young people registered is just the first step of many, but a critical one in the direction of greater youth involvement. Be sure that those who are running the registration booths are well-briefed on the subject so as to be able to answer questions like “What if I change my address?” or “What’s an absentee ballot?”

2. Know Your Rights
Urge young people to understand the importance of knowing and understanding their rights. From the ins and outs of due process within the Bill of Rights to recognizing the importance of tenants like the 19th amendment (which first began the journey to allowing all women the right to vote), encourage them to have a deeper political literacy should their circumstance ever call for it.

3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Got an issue that you’re wildly passionate about but aren’t quite certain how to get involved? Host a protest party with supplies for creating protest signs/art and stationary for sending postcards to local and state representatives. For signs and art, provide poster board, cardboard, markers, paint, and stencils. For stationary, provide pens, stamps, and postcards, and have a list of your representatives’ names and addresses at the ready. This kind of event is especially relevant if there happens to be a protest or march taking place within the same week as your sign-making/postcard-writing party.

4. Lend a Hand
Encourage young people to get involved with their community or world at large by volunteering! Whether it’s helping at an animal shelter, creating care packages for the homeless, fundraising money for the arts, or some other track, there’s a passionate place for everyone to assist in. Remind young people that all politics begin locally, and volunteering is one of the most tangible ways to see that a difference has been made.

5. Something to Rally Behind
Got an election coming up? Check to see if there are any candidates stopping by a town near you on their campaign tour! Political rallies are exciting and create a sense of unity and urgency that young people should cling to. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to connect with other politically motivated individuals and change-makers.

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The Significance of Politics on Today’s Society

Whether one likes it or not, politics is an important facet to life. How the government manages important policies and laws has a significant impact on the daily lives of every citizen. With elections always around the corner, it is crucial to remember how significant politics plays in contemporary society.

Foreign Affairs
Foreign relations are a key component to all governments. How a country interacts with other nations can improve peace across the world, as well as highlight the national interests of a country on the world stage. Cold relations between countries can hinder cultural communication and trade. If relations deteriorate, there can be an increased chance of turmoil or conflict between countries or regions of the world. How a government manages these relations is essential to maintain peace and reflect the national interests of the citizens of a country.

Defense And Security
Protecting the lives and livelihood of all citizens of a country is one of the most basic tenants of a government. The contemporary era can be seen as a moment of danger. International terrorism, civil wars that create continued violence, and bad blood between countries can cause an outbreak of war, military conflicts, and terrorist attacks. Realizing how important a government manages the reduction of terrorism and commands its armed forces is crucial for the lives of all citizens of a country.

Although the economy acts separately from government intervention, the politics of the day impacts the economic vitality of a country. Labor and class issues, such as wages and wealth, can be solved or exacerbated by government actions. Taxation policies also impact the economy by either improving the general welfare of a country or hindering economic growth of businesses and individuals. Seeing how a government impacts the bottom line of citizens shows the significance of politics today.

Cultural Affairs
The government has a role in spearheading the direction of culture. Massive issues abound across all nations on various issues. Immigration policies, for example, can lead to debates on who can and should become citizens of a country. Health care debates can be highly volatile as to how much health care could be considered a right to all or an economic service. Constitutional issues, like the ownership of guns, also lead to big debates. With this role, politics serves as an important factor to how a nation progresses.

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Reducing Media Bias In Politics

In today’s highly charged and turbulent political climate, it is often hard to find objective reporting of the facts and unbiased coverage of events and people. This is in large part due to the continuing polarization of different political views as well as the rapidly escalating availability of unsourced internet news coverage. Now more than ever, the onus is on the media consumer to sift through the coverage and pull out the objective facts. Here are a few easy and practical ways to avoid media subjectivity so that you can ensure that you are receiving all facts and no bias.

If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably is
First and foremost, it is imperative that discerning readers and viewers learn to trust their gut when presented with information. If what you are reading or hearing sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Learn to listen to your intuition and then take the extra steps to explore the issue further if something seems unbelievable.

Be Diligent in Seeking Out Both Sides of Hot Button Issues
The temptation is strong for those people responsible for disseminating information to spin the truth in the way that best suits their agenda, especially when the issue is something especially controversial. To ensure that no bias is present, it is recommended to make an effort to explore both sides of the issue. Be especially wary of reporters who do not acknowledge the difference between what is fact and what is opinion. Especially in print media, all editorial based writings should be clearly marked as such and not passed off as facts.

Be Purposeful in Gathering Information From a Variety of Sources
By limiting your media to just a few sources, you run the risk of receiving biased coverage. Smart media connoisseurs are proactive about seeking out coverage from a variety of sources that offer different political leanings and views on important issues. By making an effort to engage with varied outlets, readers and viewers are more likely to get the whole picture rather than reporting from one side of the political aisle.

Being conscious of your media consumption can go a long way to ensuring that you get the full story with no bias.

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How Do Politics Affect Philanthropy?

There is no denying that the philanthropy is influenced by the leadership on the political stage. Who is president and what party they are affiliated with can cause significant fluctuations all the way to the core of non-profit organizations. The political party can cause a shift in several ways, including the amount of funding an organization gets. You may be wondering how exactly politics influences philanthropy. Yuri Vanetik discusses how the change in leadership can shift funding for organizations across the nation in the future. 

Different Leadership
When the country is introduced to new leadership, their viewpoints and agendas will likely differ. As a result, this can directly impact non-profit organizations who rely on funding to function. For example, two organizations may share the same vision to reduce the suffering from cancer, with one investing in ongoing cancer research, while the other one provides resources to families navigating a diagnosis. Based on the viewpoints of the leadership, the organization who receives funding can shift, based on the belief that a long-term investment, like cancer research, is a better investment over immediate assistance. While it can be worrisome for organizations when there is new leadership, but there are a couple different strategies that they can use to maintain their funding.

What Organizations Can Do
In order to prevent any potential loss of funding, organizations around the country should ensure they are taking steps to protect that moving forward. All organizations should not only listen to what is going on in the political realm, but should actively work to make Americans aware of what their organization does. Keeping a close eye on politics can keep them prepared for any changes. Additionally, having more support can help an organization retain their current funding.

Secondly, organizations should put together evidence of their success through tangible data. This could come from research that the organization has done that shows that their services are having a positive impact on society. By having data ready, organizations can defend themselves by providing the evidence of their success. Lastly, organizations should maintain, and recruit additional donors. If an organization were to lose a portion of their government funding, they can continue their work through the other donors.

In general, organizations around the country should always keep a close eye on changes in leadership moving forward. In doing so, they can work to get additional funding from other sources, reducing their chance of closing if government funding was taken away. 

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Talking To Your Kids About Politics

It is more important than ever for parents to think about the most appropriate way to explain politics to their kids. The ever-changing political field can make it seem daunting for parents who have never done so, but it remains important to teach your children early. Here are tips that can make the conversation smooth and productive.

Talk to your kids at different ages, and tailor the conversation
According to Care.com, parents should not only begin talking to their children at an early age, but they should tailor the language to the child’s age. Essentially, this means that parents should slowly begin the conversation by covering basic information. An example of this could include a discussion about what a president is, and what he does. Learning about politics can be a confusing process for a child, so patience remains important, particularly in the early phase.

Try to keep the conversation neutral
While politics has been known to bring out passion and emotion during a discussion, but it is important to stay somewhat impartial when entering the conversation. This will oftentimes be the child’s first time discussing the topic, so parents should strive to keep the conversation free of bias. While it is nearly impossible to engage in a discussion without any bias, but the goal should be to keep it the conversation equal. This allows the children to receive a more well-rounded lesson about politics.

Do not focus on the negative parts of politics, but the positive
As we all know, it is very difficult to keep your personal viewpoints out of the conversation, especially if there are a lot of questions. Some of the questions may prompt your desire to begin talking negatively in your answer, but parents should make an effort to keep it positive. This keeps your child’s mind open to differing opinions as they grow up.

Make it a conversation
Children learn when they have the ability to ask questions about a confusing topic. The parents should encourage the child to ask plenty of questions and answer them to the best of their ability. As children ask more questions, they slowly begin to pick up on more complex concepts along the way.

As the children continue to get older, parents should make it a point to discuss politics regularly. This ensures that they are informed about what is going on the world. There are other ways to encourage children to become involved in politics. For example, middle schools have student government that they can get involved in. Giving children the opportunity to learn about politics from different sources will allow them to develop their understanding and involvement in politics.

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How Social Media is Affecting Today’s Voters

Social media has become a driving force in today’s society, with people all over the world logging into social media accounts on a daily basis. As the different platforms have grown in popularity, so has the amount of information that has become available, making social media one of the biggest sources for news.

According to a study from Pew Research Center, 35% of respondents between 18 and 29 disclosed that social media was the most useful source of information during the 2016 election. The information that someone discovers on social media likely influences their viewpoints in everything from sports teams to hobbies. As a result, social media will heavily influence different areas of society, including politics. Yuri Vanetik examines different ways that social media affects voting Americans.

Fake News and Conspiracies
The term fake news has taken on a new and explosive meaning with the 2016 elections, and has only continued to become more common. For example, there are websites like the Onion, that have only post false news posts. People that have never interacted with these types of websites may take the information as true and share it among their social media platforms. This influences your followers on your social media platform, even if the content is inaccurate.

In addition, most news organizations write based on the viewpoint that the organization as a whole has. For example, stories on CNN will tend to lead more liberal, while Fox News leans more on the conservative side. The viewpoint of the outlet will also significantly influence the type of news stories that are released, making it difficult to avoid any bias in the articles.

Friends and Followers Share Similar Viewpoints
The purpose of social media is to allow users stay in contact with friends and family around the world, meaning that many people’s core followers will be friends or family. What makes this an important idea to understand is that, in many cases, a person’s friends and family share incredibly similar viewpoints.

The person will consistently be exposed to news stories and updates that more closely reflect his viewpoints, without examining the other side of the matter. This can decrease a person from receiving a bias-free, well-rounded picture of a news story. What began as an efficient way to stay in contact with friends and family has become a revolving door of information for its users.

Following different news outlets with conflicting viewpoints, conducting research outside of social media, and engaging in conversations with people of different viewpoints are all ways to maintain a well-rounded understanding of politics.

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