Jeet Heer writes that Trump will probably lose the election, but he's already changed a GOP that generally controls all other levels of government and is a bellwether for America's political future.
Yet Trump's enduring impact won't merely be political. "This is a movement," Trump exulted last August during a campaign speech in Nashville, Tennessee. "I don't want it to be about me." He was right about that: Trump may be the icon of the movement he's ignited, but it's gone far beyond his actions or control. And while organized white nationalists are the animating core of the movement, beyond them are the far more numerous Americans who harbor racist attitudes and economic resentments but have no links to the likes of David Duke. For decades, this cohort has had to grapple with the fact that public expressions of racism were becoming taboo. When politicians tried to win over these voters, they had to use code words and dog whistles. Trump has changed all that: The dog whistle has given way to the air horn.