I was so "triggered" by this sentence...
They have disrupted and destroyed institutional constraints on what can be said, when and where it can be said and who can say it.
...that I had to read the entire piece.
The author, Thomas B. Edsall, clearly believes that extralegal means of preventing people from exercising the full scope of their free speech rights are not only good, but essential to preserving his notion of democracy -- one in which everyone has a voice, but can only use it in approved ways.
He blames the internet for the breakdown of political parties, but the seeds of the present mess go back much further than that. I saw signs of it, I'm sure nowhere near the earliest, in the 1980s as student activists marched through college campuses chanting, "Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!"
When you deprive your citizenry of a logical grounding in the history and meaning of the body of laws under which they live, you make inevitable an electorate that believes wholeheartedly that it is illegal to question the morality of political correctness; that threatening to jail people who openly disagree with a chosen clique of scientists is virtuous; that if you don't like the outcome of a presidential election you can declare it illegitimate and demand a do-over.
It doesn't help when the body of laws is itself a rat's nest of picayune and contradictory regulation incapable of rational enforcement.
Edsall's perspective on said mess is betrayed in the lead paragraph, even before the sentence that I've quoted above:
As the forces of reaction outpace movements predicated on the ideal of progress...
Of course, "reaction" is the pejorative term leftists throw at efforts to prevent, mitigate, or repair the damage they do in the name of their idea of "progress," which has as much to do with improving civilization and the human condition as their idea of democracy has to do with ensuring every citizen's voice is heard and heeded. After all, the marchers decrying Western Civ were part of a movement predicated on "the ideal of progress."