Trump’s Win Smashed the ‘Overton Window’

Article subtitle: 
Post-2016 election liberal elites no longer control the terms of the American political debate
Article author: 
Edmund Kozak
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
2 December 2016
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

The Overton Window is a term that describes the range of discourse and ideas the public finds acceptable. It is named for Joseph P. Overton, former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, who claimed that the political viability of an idea, belief, or policy rests mainly on whether it falls in this window of acceptable discourse — and not the logic or effectiveness of said ideas.

The Overton Window that until a few weeks ago defined American political discourse was relatively small, framed by a set of liberal constraints that have dominated American society and stifled intellectual debate for at least the last five decades.

    “They use terms like racist and xenophobic to scare people toward the Left. Then, white-flag Republicans believe the media and go as far Left as they can.”

“Expanding the Overton Window is what left-wing agitators have been doing for ages,” explained Eddie Zipperer, assistant political science professor at Georgia Military College. “They adopt insane fringe positions and systematically move the whole country left,” he added.

Trump’s victory in the presidential election, however, smashed that window with the ferocity of brick hurled from the hands of a Black Lives Matter protester.

“All of a sudden, Trump came along and now the Democrats are on defense. Nobody even knows how to deal with it because it’s so rare,” said Zipperer.

Until Trump's successful campaign, any politician or pundit who dared to peek beyond the Overton Window was quickly dragged back inside by the all-too familiar cries of "racist" or "bigot" or "homophobe."

Indeed, the Overton Window was the central reason so many pundits discounted Trump's chances for so long. What those pundits hadn't realized is that for large swathes of the population, the direction of the country had become so unsatisfactory that, desperate to change course, the range of ideas those parts of the public will accept is widening.

Remarkably, many left-leaning media outlets and journalists still haven't quite figured out what's happened...