As Chait describes, the small-government patriotism of the Trump party is a never-was fantasy:
The Republican Party fashions itself as the party of Lincoln, and when its national leaders have used race as a wedge, they have buried it beneath the language of race neutrality. The official party history holds that Barry Goldwater’s rejection of the 1964 Civil Rights Act was merely an overzealous interpretation of constitutional principle, and the mass influx of white Southerners that followed an unrelated coincidence. Those who don’t closely follow conservative rhetoric may not appreciate how deeply the right has invested itself in these fantasies of racial innocence.
And so, even though Trump has sprung naturally from the conservative fertile soil of racism, anti-intellectualism, and authoritarianism, his nomination is truly a sea change.