Most people don’t really understand how to shift public opinion because they have a tough time grasping the concept of leverage.
It’s easier to think about influence at the sub-Dunbar level, even with all the tools available now for even impoverished people with an internet connection to reach millions. To handle influence at scale, you have to think in terms of abstractions rather than in terms of individuals.
The typical response to a radical proposal is that “it will never work” because of inertia. While it’s possible that it will never work, the point is not necessarily to achieve the radical proposal, but to establish it as a gravitational center, and then to pull and push attention & conversation to that center.
An example of such a proposal is “Restore the Stuarts.” Saying this absolutely po-faced on Fox News would probably not do the trick on any meaningful timeline. That doesn’t really matter all that much, because by doing that, you’re establishing a new boundary that more timid opinion-nudgers can define themselves against.
The timid person might want to be more radical, but they know that it wouldn’t be practical. But by appearing more radical than the timid person, you make it possible for the sissy with a larger audience to shuffle several steps to the right. The larger and more powerful that you can make the gravitation on the outer right, the stronger the pull is felt by the timid ones who minister to the masses, who in democracy only care about the consensus, safe opinion.
The timid editor or TV producer acts like the basic political science model of rational election-winning positioning. Their whole function is just to look at the scale of public opinion, and then to plunk themselves down at the center to maximize their appeal to their market. By forcing more weight onto the right side of the scale, you can shove around the timid people who react predictably with little in the way of meaningful agency.
This is why in politics, the intellectuals are more powerful than the populists — the populists only react to the frame set by the leading thinkers. Crushing the opposing side’s thinkers enables you to re-set the field that the little shiny spokespeople must reconfigure their positions to react to the changed field of public opinion.
This works better if you really do want to achieve something like “Restore the Stuarts” or “Return France to the Bourbon Monarchy” or “Reinstate the Articles of Confederation” or “We Demand Texan Independence,” and behave as if you believe that it’s possible with absolute certainty. It’s the low-ball or high-ball offer that you don’t necessarily expect to get in the first round, but might be able to get through successive rounds of aggressive bargaining.