Win or lose, Trump 
has made
his mark

Even if, as most polls predict, he loses today's US presidential election, Mr Donald Trump's populist charge will leave its mark on the American body politic.

The 70-year-old is the Republican flag-bearer even though part of the Grand Old Party's establishment has rejected him and others are voting for him while holding their noses.

But Mr Trump has managed to craft his own political brand, building a movement among the party's disaffected rank-and-file.

As the presidential race comes down to the wire and the right faces the prospect of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the White House, some party leaders are coming back to the fold.

But Mr Trump has divided the party with his brash style and by overturning conservative orthodoxy with his opposition to free trade, isolationist foreign policy and flexible stance on welfare and deficits.

"The Republican leadership hates Trump," Columbia University's political science professor Robert Shapiro told AFP.

"They would like his supporters but his supporters are attached to Trump," he warned, predicting that the phenomenon Mr Trump calls his "movement" will continue even after Election Day.

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