What Is An Overton Window?

Another sad thing about US politics is something called the Overton Window. The Republicans have been moving this window farther to the right with each passing year. The Overton Window is “the window of possibility.” When you move the Overton Window to the right, things that had once seemed so crazy as to be beyond the realm of sensible politics start to seem reasonable, sane, decent and respectable.
For example, 38% of Americans now think it is a perfectly rational idea to wipe Medicare off the face of the Earth. Previously, that idea was considered so crazy and as to be beyond the realm of sensible US politics. Now it’s just another perfectly reasonable idea. The Republicans have been trying very hard to move the window so wiping out Social Security is seen as a sensible, reasonable, rational, no big deal thing to do.
This is what is so frightening about Romney and Ryan. Their project is so fanatical and extreme that it would have been unthinkable only a few years ago (Ryan’s budget for example). Now up to 47% of Americans think that Ryan’s ultraradical, rightwing extremist budget is so cool that they are willing to vote for it. The Overton Window just moved over again.

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0 thoughts on “What Is An Overton Window?”

  1. From a British perspective, I would say your partisan news channels have a lot to answer for. People believe all that shite on the tele. Thank fuck our television news broadcasters have to be non-partisan and therefore non hysteria inducing.

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