“I never thought I’d see the day where illegal immigration was included in a presidential candidate’s top three issues,” Mr. Gilchrist, a supporter of Donald J. Trump, said. “For me personally, my mission has been accomplished.”
While Mr. Trump seems likely to lose the election, many of his most extreme supporters say they believe that they have already won. Whether the subject is immigration, military intervention, the news media or federal government corruption — and even the entire democratic process — their views, long thought to be well outside the political mainstream, have been given a voice inside it. And that voice belongs to the presidential nominee of a major political party.
Of course, Mr. Trump’s populist candidacy has energized ordinary Americans across the country who previously felt alienated from the political system, but it has also emboldened extremist groups that say he has validated their agendas.
It is unclear how much legitimacy these organizations can realistically expect to gain, given the extreme nature of their views to most Americans. But if they are able to maintain even a measure of influence on the right after the election, this could be Mr. Trump’s most enduring legacy.
“Trump has shown that our message is healthy, normal and organic — and millions of Americans agree with us,” said Matthew M. Heimbach, a co-founder of the Traditionalist Youth Network, a white nationalist group that claims to support the interests of working-class whites. It also advocates the separation of the races.
Whatever happens on Nov. 8, Mr. Trump’s candidacy has brought groups like Mr. Heimbach’s out of the shadows, and they say they have no intention of returning.
“For racists in this country, this campaign has been a complete affirmation of their fears, worries, dreams and hopes,” said Ryan Lenz, the editor of the Hatewatch blog at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such groups from its headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. “Most things they believe have been legitimized, or have been given the stamp of approval, by mainstream American politics to the point now where it’s no longer shameful to be a racist.”
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the true legacy of Trump and the GOP in 2016: Making Racism Acceptable Again. Acceptable enough that 60 million people are going to vote for the guy tomorrow, minimum.
Not that it ever wasn't acceptable, mind you. But Obama winning made them tired of covering for it, and that's why Trump won the primaries.
Pretty awesome, huh.