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MSNBC Panel: When People Can’t Express Their Opinions Without Being Called Bigots, They Find an Outlet

On Wednesday’s “MSNBC Live,” anchor Stephanie Ruhle, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, and journalist Tina Brown discussed the 2016 election and political correctness, and during that discussion, Ruhle wondered if political correctness has prevented people from saying things that are important, and Bruni and Brown concluded that when people feel they’ll be attacked for speaking their minds, they find an outlet like President-Elect Donald Trump.

Ruhle asked, “Did we over-simplify things? Did we believe that Hillary Clinton and this all-inclusive global citizen message does represent the United States, and thought that this base that Donald Trump had really was just in this narrow nationalist vertical? When many of the initiatives that represent Obama…many people could say transgender bathrooms in high schools, how many people is that going to impact in this country? Not so many.”

Bruni stated that the Democratic Party has become a “collection of boutique issues,” and that doing so leads a lot of the country to feel ignored. He added that the Democratic Party has to “do some big soul-searching here.”

Bruni also said, “She was not a candidate that fit this moment at all. They were trying to sell a product at the wrong time, and they refused to see that, or they just couldn’t find a way around her, and here we are with Donald Trump over your shoulder.”

Ruhle then wondered if the polls were wrong “because so many of us are afraid to say what matters. I mean, in terms of political correctness, if you run a small business, and I mean a lawyer, an architect, when you say, guess what, I can’t afford to give the five people who work for me — if they’re women, I can’t afford to give them 20 weeks maternity leave. Or, Obamacare might help the rest of the country, but in my business, if I have 20 people who are working for me, it might put me out of business. Were we afraid to admit that we can’t afford to help everyone?”

Brown responded that the problem is people are afraid to discuss issues like that “because of the velocity of social media attack when you really try to have a conversation about anything like that. I mean, I’ve often said, actually as an employer myself, that nobody really wants to talk about, well then, how do we manage all of this time off for people?” And that while there is a solution to this, it needs to be discussed.

Bruni added that “when people are silenced, when they feel like simply saying, I don’t agree with Obamacare, or I don’t agree with transgender bathrooms, but, if they feel like saying that, it immediately gets them branded, whether it’s on social media, or whether it’s by people talking in a studio, it gets them branded a bigot, a deplorable. They’re going to seeth, and they’re going to find some sort of outlet for that seething, and the outlet is Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States.”

Brown agreed that it was similar with Brexit, where there was a “secret conversation” about immigration anxiety. “If you raise that conversation in any way publicly, you were a racist. You were a xenophobe. And if you can’t have a conversation, it boils underneath and then it explodes. It’s very dangerous.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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