How 2016 Moves the Overton Window

Trump has vastly changed the range of what can be talked about - and so have the Dems.

The most amazing effect of this bizarre election cycle has been the utter smashing of the longstanding Overton Window.

As we explained in 2010, the Overton Window is a clarification of Bismark's observation that "Politics is the art of the possible."  The Window represents the range of political actions that are possible or can be discussed at any given moment, but it shifts around over time as politicians and other influencers yank on it.

As Hillary found out in the 90's, Hillarycare simply wasn't possible given the Overton Window at the time.  A decade or two of stretching the Window to the left plus a little election fraud made Obamacare possible, to our hurt.

The Window moves in response to public opinion.  In 1789, for example, it was politically impossible to ban slavery in the colonies.  The only two possibilities were a Constitution that permitted slavery or no Constitution at all.  John Adams, despite loathing slavery with all his heart, went with the former choice.  It took most of the following century to move the Window far enough to be able to talk about abolition, then to forbid the importation of slaves, and then to finally abolish slavery by means of the the Civil War.

When we had a problem with illegal immigrants during the Eisenhower administration, the President simply decreed "Operation Wetback" and sent them home, to nearly no dissent.  By the time Muslims murdered more than 3,000 Americans on 9/11, the Overton Window didn't permit anyone to link the word "terrorist" with the word "Muslim" much less to deport members of a group which had proven itself far more deadly than Eisenhower's illegals ever were.

Anyone who spoke of not welcoming as many illegals as could find their way here or mentioned crimes committed by illegals was vehemently labeled a racist bigot.  Leftist cities competed with one another to offer illegals "free stuff" and help them avoid arrest.  The right edge of the Overton Window in 2002 was far to the left of where the left edge had been in 1950.

Our 2010 article about the Window pointed out that during WWII, Winston Churchill cared nothing for what was politically possible: he moved the Window where it needed to be by the main force of his rhetoric, then dragged his entire nation through it.  We pointed out that we needed a similarly uncompromising approach to the two existential threats to our nation: illegal immigrants and excess spending.

Mr. Trump Moving the Window

In 2016, we observed that Mr. Trump's unpredictability erased part of the Overton window's frame and made it possible, finally, to discuss barring undesirables from entering our country.  As he put it, "Nobody would be talking about immigration at all if it weren't for me."

As one would expect, the mainstream media tried to bury him with charges of racism, completely ignoring the fact that President Carter had used a longstanding law to ban all Iranians from entering the United States.  At the time, the MSM understood that since the Iranians were occupying our embassy and holding Americans hostage, it was reasonable to keep Iranians out of our country.  The vilification of Mr. Trump for advocating something that Mr. Carter had already done shows how far the Window has moved since 1979.

ISIS' attacks on Europeans and Americans gruesomely illustrated the utter foolishness of not being more careful about admitting terrorists to the US.  The MSM criticizes Mr. Trump for his "racist" remarks about building a wall, but he has moved the Overton Window enough that a serious immigration policy has become a matter of national public discourse.  This is all to the good.

Democrats Moving the Window

To our surprise and delight, and perhaps without even realizing it, the 2016 Democrats have also moved the Window.  For years and decades, conservatives have complained about media bias and the media have responded with shocked claims of objectivity.  This time, without even being pushed into it, the New York Times wrote that the prospect of Mr. Trump's winning the presidency was so horrific that all media would have to give up journalistic objectivity and trash him to the best of their ability.

They'd been trashing conservatives unfairly all along, of course, but once the Times moved the Window by admitting the truth, other "journalists" wrote more and more vehemently about their duty to abandon objectivity and destroy Mr. Trump by any means.  Most readers now know that the media's longstanding pretense of objective truth-telling is and always was a lie.

Now that they've publicly admitted bias, a Republican can instantly use Mr. Reagan's favorite phrase, "There you go again," when unjustly criticized - and, indeed, the media can do nothing to rebut this contempt, because they've already admitted their malfeasance in print for all to see.

The MSM also made it reasonable to discuss election fraud, despite their horrified protests when Mr. Trump did so at the final debate.  Not that election fraud itself is remotely new, of course: Chicago politics have been so foul for so long that "Cook County" where Chicago is found was known as "Crook County" back in the 1930's.

The first "October Surprise" was when JFK's operatives burgled Mr. Nixon's lawyer's office and stole papers which could be presented in a way that was unfavorable to the Republican.  Despite knowing that it was stolen property, Democrat-friendly newspapers seized upon this "leak."  Their slant on the news along with Mayor Daley's fraudulent votes helped defeat Mr. Nixon in 1960.

Ever since, Democrats have won just about all our close elections, often by means of absentee ballots that are "found" long after the election and other such chicanery.  The MSM didn't want these frauds discussed, however, so such stories went nowhere.

It was OK with the Obama administration when someone broke into the federal personnel system and stole information about millions of federal employees including holders of security clearances, but when someone hacked into the DNC email system and embarrassed Democrats, the administration started talking about retaliation.

But then the Democrats and their MSM allies took just one step too far and fell off a cliff: They started warning Americans that the Russians were trying to steal the election for Mr. Trump.

We've pointed out how hard it would be for the Russians to steal the election and explained how easily Democrats have been doing it for a long time.  We got no traction at the time, but once Democrats started warning everyone about election fraud, stories about vote fraud were everywhere.  Most of them blame Democrats, because almost all election fraud is undertaken by or on behalf of Democrats.

Now that Time, the New York Times, and the DNC have unwisely moved the Window, anyone can talk about vote fraud, including Mr. Trump.

Democrats also legitimized Wikileaks.  When the first batch of Hillary's Goldman speeches surfaced, Democrats took the lofty position that they didn't have time even to read such obvious falsehoods, they had better things to do.  When the Ecuadorian embassy cut Wikileaks' founder off from the Internet at John Kerry's request, however, that was all the proof anyone needed that the leaks were legitimate.  If they were such obvious falsehoods, why did Democrats weaponize yet another federal agency, the Department of State, to quash them?

Thanks to none other than Hillary's own successor, we can now discuss Hillary's emails, her bribe-taking, her obsequious speeches to Wall Street, her campaign's illegal collaboration with her PAC, and her other wrongdoings with full knowledge that high-level Democrats have confirmed the source by unjustly using the force of government to attack it.

Possibly even worse, the Democrats and their media allies have also made it possible to discuss sexual abuse by Democrats.  For decades on end, the MSM refused to cover JFK's sexual escapades or sexual assaults by his brother Ted and would have ignored Bill Clinton's zipper problems if they hadn't been forced to cover it by the Drudge Report.

Hillary accused Mr. Trump of being a sexual predator during the primaries.  To her shock, he was able to force the the MSM to discuss her husband's long-ago, and, she thought, forgotten rape accusations.  The Washington Post even printed a handy list of the women who claimed he'd abused them.

It was no surprise that the MSM would give a huge play to the 10-year-old tape recording of Mr. Trump's locker room talk.  It was no surprise that three weeks before a national election, many women suddenly "remembered" Mr. Trump mistreating them decades before.  We thought the media had reverted to type until the National Enquirer started talking about a much deeper vein of Democrats behaving badly.

Both we and the MSM remember that the Enquirer broke the story of Jonathan Edwards' "love child," conceived with a campaign worker while his wife was dying of cancer.  To their eventual embarrassment, the MSM ignored the story as long as they could because at the time, Mr. Edwards was in contention for the Democratic nomination for President.  It will be interesting to see if they once again follow where the Enquirer has led, at the expense of yet another vile Democratic presidential candidate.

Will Mr. Trump Make Another Move?

For years, the media have pretended that the Republican and Democrat parties are bitter rivals for power.  It's become more and more obvious to all America, however, that both parties are working together to steal money and power from us.

Mr. Trump thought that the Republican establishment had agreed to support him after he won their primary.  He is, after all, accustomed to dealing with other parties who squeeze every possible penny out of a deal but follow through on whatever they agree to do after they shake hands and sign the contract.

To his shock, the Republicans abandoned him and turned on him after pledging support.  He's now furiously asserting that both parties are hopelessly corrupt and talks about "draining the swamp" in Washington - something we have maintained for ages but, alas, without his billions or his fame to carry our message.  This fits in well with what the far Left knows to be true, again thanks to Wikileaks: the DNC lied, cheated, and stole to prevent their own insurgent, Bernie Sanders, from carrying the day as he probably would otherwise have done.

If Donald Trump manages to move the Window far enough that people start talking about the fact that the Republicans and Democrats are members of a totally self-centered elite and are competing with each other only in ripping us off in different ways, he will have done us a great service indeed.

Whatever happens, political discourse will never be the same.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

"A decade or two of stretching the Window to the left plus a little election fraud made Obamacare possible, to our hurt"

1) There was no election fraud in either of Obama's two wins that made a difference enough for him to have lost. Both approached "landslide" territory based on electoral vote definitions. The allegations you're referring to, like the Ohio one, not only are based on very facile evidence but were on a very small scale relative to what would have been needed to change electoral votes.

2) Obamacare was a carbon copy of what REPUBLICANS pushed for in '94 and '96 and what REPUBLICAN state administrations implemented (like Romneycare in MA). It was not what Hillary originally called for in '92, nor what she wanted while Obama was even in office. She called for single payer and/or wanted Medicare to take over.

3) Bush paved the wave for Obama's executive orders and big gov. expansion, moving The Window to the center and left. Nobody could must a libertarian debate on the matter because it was business as usual by the time 2008/2009 came around.

Misguided hyperbole like this stopped me from reading any further.

October 21, 2016 12:05 PM

Had to keep reading just to see how revisionist it would get...

", after all, accustomed to dealing with other parties who squeeze every possible penny out of a deal but follow through on whatever they agree to do after they shake hands and sign the contract."

You mean except for himself? The unpaid vendors? The creditors who lost billions? The IPO investors who lost 1.4 billion? The students who were duped by his "university" certification?

Yeah sure, Trump is all about keeping his word! (Remind his first 2 wives of that while you're at it)

"To his shock, the Republicans abandoned him and turned on him after pledging support"

HA! Trump himself was the first one to claim The Pledge no longer meant anything back when Cruz was still in the running. Later, when asked if Cruz would support him, Trump said he didn't want Cruz's support. "Shocked" right.

Ah, the smell of hyperbole and false outrage in the morning...

October 21, 2016 12:14 PM

And finally, at the very last sentence, we get to the first real truth in this article:

"Whatever happens, political discourse will never be the same."

Yes. Trump has moved the Overton Window on that for sure.

October 21, 2016 12:15 PM

Who said anything about Obama's election being fraudulent? As Scragged has bemoaned multiple times, he won fair and square.

It is a matter of clear fact, however, that ObamaCARE the law was passed as the result of election fraud. Recall that it passed by one vote in the Senate; even one less, and it would have failed.

First, Sen. Ted Stevens was defeated in 2008, after being indicted the summer before the election. Of course the voters chose to throw out a man they assumed was a criminal. We only found out later that the prosecutors had hard evidence that Sen. Stevens was innocent, which they intentionally concealed. Without question, that is an election fraud.

If this fraud had not taken place, Obamacare would not have passed.

Here's another 2008 Senate fraud: Al Franken's stolen victory in Minnesota. At the first count, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman had a tiny lead, triggering a recount. Oddly enough, every time they recounted they found more forgotten ballots that - surprise surprise! raised the Democrat total. Franken was finally credited wtih a win by 312 votes. It was later proven that almost 400 felons voted illegally in the election (having been disenfranchised by MN law); wonder who they voted for, and why none of them were ever prosecuted?

Again: Without this electoral fraud, there would have been no Obamacare.

Yes, it is sadly true that the Stupid Party promoted many of the ideas found in Obamacare. It's become abundantly clear that most Republican politicos are just as anti-Constitutional as the Dems, only less dangerous because they are so much more incompetent and lazy. I don't think we've sung the praises of the GOP in general in a very long time, if ever.

And you are right to blame Bush for moving the Overton window to the left, no arguments there.

But seriously, when have we EVER said that we trust Trump? Over and over again we say that we don't. The trouble is, we DO trust Hillary to do exactly as she promises, which will destroy this country. Trump may do the same - but there does remain the possibility, however small, that he'll actually keep his promises and at least buy us some time. Of the two dire choices, that one is preferable.

October 21, 2016 5:45 PM

Ok, the Minn. Senate race fraud. I'm with you now. But you still can't leap from there to saying that there would have been no Obamacare. After all, the Senate was able to pass the second part of Obamacare under a "budget reconciliation" rule that didn't require a super-majority (60 votes). The second part passed (as the "budget recon" rule) by a vote of 55 votes or so. Al Franken losing wouldn't have stopped anything.

October 21, 2016 6:38 PM

You're right about the second vote, the reconciliation. But there would have been no first vote if they hadn't had 60 votes for it, which thanks to election fraud, they did.

"Whoever takes the credit or the blame, the Senate approved the law in December 2009 on a vote of 60-39, the minimum necessary to avoid a GOP filibuster."

October 21, 2016 9:06 PM

Had the GOP even filibustered (even that is doubtful) that would have led to a vote for cloture, or rewriting of rules, then another round of negotiations. Don't fool yourself; it would have passed. Or it could have simply been added to a another budget vote at a different time. Constitutional conservatism has died. The Constitution is a living document and has been for a long time. Rules don't matter; intent doesn't matter. The only thing we can do now is make the case for individualism versus collectivism - nobody will understand or care about anything else

October 22, 2016 8:25 PM

Thank you for an outstanding piece.

November 5, 2016 6:59 PM
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