“cannot preclude their use in situations where they are appropriate.”
Agree. The problem is that they are frequently used in situations where they are not appropriate or proportional.
“ Is the proposal to use these terms more carefully, or in a more well qualified manner in situations where there is ambiguity?”
“ I’m not sure the left can or should co-ordinate this mass self-censorship.”
‘Self-censorship’ is not the term I’d use. ‘Don’t be ridiculous’ is more the spirit.
“ What should the Left have done instead?”
Not blamed the electorate for failing to support their deeply flawed candidate. Talked about vision and ideas instead of trying to shame and silence others. Stopped playing identity politics.
“ I’d argue that the damage was from the media being late to take Trump and his views seriously, to laugh off…”
Yes, that was part of it, for sure. Part of the way in which Trump was laughed off was of course to dismiss his supporters as racist, sexist lunatics.
“ The controversial views of Trump, Bannon and the rest, either implied or explicit, must be highlighted, questioned and not allowed to be accepted or normal or acceptable behaviour.”
Sure. But I refer you to my first answer. And when tackling Trump et al, it would be better if the Left dealt with the arguments, rather than the imagined motives. For example, wanting to tackle illegal immigration might be the product of irrational, racist motives, or it might be the product of reasonable analysis. If you are going to call someone a racist, the burden of proof is on you to establish racist intent.