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What is the Overton Window?

The Overton Window – the title of Glenn Beck’s new political thriller novel – is a concept of political theory developed by a scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Joseph Overton.

From Mackinac:

Joseph Overton observed that when public policies in a given area, such as education, are arranged from freest to least free, only a relatively narrow window of options will be considered politically acceptable.

This window of politically acceptable policies is not defined primarily by what politicians would prefer; rather, it is defined by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. Hence, the window shifts to include new policies or exclude old ones not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them.

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Yankee Institute is a 501(c)(3) research and citizen education organization that does not accept government funding. Yankee Institute develops and advances free-market, limited-government solutions in Connecticut. As one of America’s oldest state-based think tanks, Yankee is a leading advocate for smart, limited government; fairness for taxpayers; and an open road to opportunity.

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