People are starting to realize that minority voters can vote in the Republican party. Barry Goldwater was part of this. I see Barry Goldwater as kind of part of the Ancien Regime, so he may be old fashioned. This is ok, but some things seem to take longer with the Ancien Regime than usual.
He may not have been the only leading person in the movement towards conservatism but did play a major role. He was an extremist and held many rallying political statements to put his point across which reached and influenced a lot of people. He is no different from any other activist who put time and reputation on the line in order to spark progress.
While Barry Goldwater's famous rallying call, 'Extremism is the defense of liberty is no vice...moderation in the pursuit of justice no virtue!', may not have won him the 1964 election, it inspired a new generation of conservative activists who would eventually go on to partake in the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s. Thus Goldwater is largely responsible for the later conservative movement.
In 20 years, the faces of American politics will be totally different than they are today. Republicans will no longer be the party of "old white men" because most of the baby boomers that elect the GOP will be dead. Barry Goldwater isn't responsible for the resurgence of conservatism in the United States. It's because of the Christian Coalition and the elderly who are stuck in their ways.
Barry Goldwater set back rather than strengthened the conservative cause in the United States. He lost the presidency to Johnson in a historical landslide. It took until 1980 for a conservative to win a presidential election and reoccupy the White House. Goldwater may have been very influential within the conservative movement, but he did not do much to spread conservative beliefs outside the fold of the true believers.