Political actor is a general term that refers to people or organizations which have acquired political status and have the power to shape decision making in an economy. Sometimes referred to as economic movers and shakers, they have great influence in policies and decisions made within an economy that may end up impacting others positively or negatively. In certain instances, national decision influence by political actors may result into conflicts especially with regards to their differing interests.Wolfsfeld (2015), in his article dubbed “Political actors”, asserts that, political actors include buy and large political parties, elected political leaders, political candidates running for a particular office, occupational policy makers, influential personnel, the media, economically stable organizations, retired political leaders, lobby groups, among others. Entirely, all have individualistic interests that through their bargains, depending on who has a greater bargaining power (a winner takes all society) wins the day.
The variance in the interests of such a society usually poses threats to policy formulation in an economy which most often than not result into conflicts. Majority however will always have their way. A case study of Trump’s attempts to repeal the Obama health care package is met with defeat when pressure from the democrats and the conservatives pose imminent threat to the Republicans who fear for their loss in Medicaid, loss of insurance and revolt from voters in their areas.
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This is a classic case of protection of interest by the republican swing districts and other democrat states. Political party as a political body, in its capacity has its own interests. As an agent to its affiliates, the party provides an organizational structure that suits the interests of the subscribers of its ideologies. Party leaders and elected leaders take center stage in steering party goals.
This is seen in Trump’s fight to repeal the Obama medical care. Courts of law also form part of political actors. Their interest when acting in spirit of the law is to protect the laws as stipulated in the constitution and also to give directions on policy formulations before passed into law. This is evident in the courts super majority decision to water down ban on firearms. The court ruled that such amendment would violate the already existing Second amendment to bear firearms.
Judges in their unanimous decision, ruled against Trump’s travel ban on Muslim nationals to US stating that the head of state had not produced sufficient evidence to prove his case. These two examples clearly show the protection of the law by the courts as political actor. The media is a case of organization that in one or another shape the political landscape. This is done in such manners as campaign contributions to particular political candidate, through direct lobbying and doing other favors such as interviews programs and running of programs that are in away a campaign tool which gives one candidate an upper edge in running for an office.
Benjamin (1996) asserts that the media is a wild force behind policy formulation using their broadcast and publications that influence the population directly by changing their way of thinking or view on a particular occurrence at the time. The mentioned case studies above portray governments’ inside workings in different ways. The government and its agencies tend to be authoritative in its dealings showing its competitive advantage in bargaining power. Trump for instance as head of state mentions that the courts have no authority over presidential assessment of security. This portrays the government to be a body that is not bound to regulations.
The legislature arm of the government also displays a group that is concerned about protecting their interests and the interests of their respective areas of legislation. The republican legislatures for example who are overcome by fear of losing the electorate, insurance and their Medicaid choose to abandon their support for the abolishment of the Obama care. The judiciary on the other hand represents the protectors of the rule of law. In a democracy like the US, respect to the rule of law and upholding the spirit of constitution is an oath taken by all law practitioners. This is an arm of government that despite the authoritative showdown by the head of state, stand firm in protecting the interest of the people they represent and upholding the oath of the office they hold in accordance with the constitution and other laws. In a democracy characterized by elections and strict adherence to the laws that govern such processes, conflicts due to political interests are bound to happen.
Every group wants to represent its interest and the interest of the likeminded in a society. In my view, positional standoff represents democracy in which everybody’s opinion counts but the majority will have their way. So, the cases cited give a clear operation of the US political culture characterized by conflicting political actors all of whom have a duty to the society and their intrinsic interest to satisfy. The outcome of a particular regulation or policy is always felt by the net effect on the average citizen who in most cases have insignificant role in formulating such polices (Gilens., et al, 2014). The good/bad that come with an adoption of certain policy will benefit or damage the population depending on which side of the political actor you are in.
For instance, the abolishment of the cheap Obama medical care package would disadvantage many citizens who cannot afford proper medical care despite satisfying the head of state’s interest. Secondly, the proposed travel ban on Muslim nationals to the US was a victimization approach to the Muslim society in the face of terrorism. US nationals of Muslim origin felt profiled as eminent threat to national security hence discriminated against. The ripple effect of this approach is racial discrimination which does not go well with United Nation’s recommendation for racial integration and humanitarian preservation. Last but not least, firearm ban in Washington was both a positive and a negative move.
Reckless usage of firearms poses threat to innocent human lives. An act of negligence by the government to give a deaf ear to this rampage would amount to disregard to human life, a right the government in place swears to protect. On the other hand, banning firearms in its totality would contravene the laws in place especially the Second amendment. This move would also encourage victimization and profiling of all firearm bearers as reckless and infringe into rights governed by and protected by law.