In recent years, Republican politicians have tended to keep heterodox thoughts about policy to private conversations, or not voiced them at all. They thought that they needed to stay within tightly drawn lines to avoid conservative criticism — criticism that could cost them primaries, or depress Republican turnout in general elections.
And those lines kept getting narrower. Propose a replacement for Obamacare that sought to keep millions of people from losing coverage, and you’d meet the accusation of favoring “Obamacare lite.” Some Republicans thought that they could achieve perfect conservative reputations by proposing to put everyone, no matter how poor, on the tax rolls.
Republicans who proposed ideas that did not fit within these lines did so very carefully. Like Trump, Marco Rubio came out with a tax plan that cut taxes in general, helped parents and raised tax rates on some affluent single people. But some conservatives criticized the plan, and he dropped the increased tax rates.
Trump has proved that those fears were overstated or, at least, that they do not apply to him.