Politics is a branch of social science that deals with the action of governments. It refers to the established systems and structures through which the government executes its governing role and the process that create these structures. Politics will dominate in political entities such a nation. The process through which a country elects its government is political in nature. Moreover, the government runs on certain policies that govern its actions. These policies are often unwritten but they affect the whole public under the jurisdiction of the government. The intersection between public policy and the study of politics happens in two ways. Foremost, the institutions that establish and implement public policy are political in nature. Additionally, the process of instituting and effecting public policy is also political (Campbell, 2002). Secondly, the political nature of public nature makes it prone to influence from political figures. This explains why certain public policies echo a politician’s sentiments rather than the public’s opinion. Public policy is henceforth deeply ingrained within the study of politics.
The term politics, in this context, refers to the means and methods through which public policy is formulated, implemented, and evaluated. A simple analogical description of politics would be the engine of public policy. Without politics, public policy will stall and where it doesn’t only a few members of the public would be included in the policy rather than the whole public.
Making public policy without politics can be likened to making a car run without an engine. It can work but not sustainable and effective. A good example is in dictatorial regimes where public policy is not public at all but the opinions of a select few. To enjoy the complete benefits of public policy, it is required that it be made within the confines of politics. This position is based on the fact that the public policy process is political in nature. This process involves policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation (Makinde). Policy formulation is the process through which public policy is made and gazetted. The process resulting in policy formulation involves several political players like the judiciary, legislature, and the executive. Each plays a vital role in ensuring that the policy is in tandem with the public’s desires. Making public policy without politics would mean ignoring any of these political players which would be detrimental.
The second stage in the public policy process is policy implementation. This involves tasking the relevant bodies with appropriate instructions, powers, and authorities with which to effect the public policy. This process is equally political since it involves clearly outlining the authority structure and the distribution of powers. Politics also defines the end goal of the implementation process. Politics will also ensure that the process is well scrutinized to ensure that all relevant opinions are inclusive.
Lastly, upon completion of the implementation phase, the policy evaluation stage sets in. Policy evaluation is concerned with ensuring that the outcome of the implementation process suits the public’s requirements before the institution of the policy. At this juncture, an independent body is tasked with ensuring that misuse and mismanagement were absent during the implementation stage and that the results are both acceptable and sustainable. This is probably the most vital phase of the public policy process since it’s the most anticipated stage by the public. Excluding politics from this stage would be pointless since it means excluding the cause of the problem from the solution to the problem.
Campbell, J. L. (2002). Ideas, politics, and public policy. Annual review of sociology, 28(1), 21-38.
Makinde, T. Interface between Politics and Public Policy: A Relationship of Inseparableness.