"Whether Trump wins, loses or loses big, he has empowered fascists, racists and bigots. He did not create them, but he has legitimized them by becoming the nominee and openly expressing their heinous, hateful beliefs."
I think Trump legitimizing these people is the second step of a two-step process in recent times. The first step I believe was the advent of what has been referred to as hate-talk radio. AM radio stations used to mostly play music but then it became mostly talk as music moved to FM. The AM radio stations found that hate talk produced high ratings and it became a staple. Hateful things about various groups that were previously said only in private were now being said in public. More recently hate speech has found a home on the Internet. George Wallace won several state running as an independent with a campaign based on racism and bigotry but it was Trump who really did legitimize this vile stuff by winning the Republican nomination. This campaign has woken people up to the possibility that the US could go fascist via the electoral system. A coup is not necessary, a fascist could be elected president. The one obstacle to preventing that, which was the party regulars choosing the nominee, has largely been eliminated. With the people now basically choosing the nominees of the major parties it clearly could happen, and could still happen next month if somehow Trump wins the election.