What happens is, you provide people with some space to get into where they can say, "That guy is a racist xenophobe. That guy is just so crazy that we can take a more moderate stance.
....I have to set the bar as high as I can. I'm being completely candid with you. If I had actually set out to become president, then of course it would be ludicrous for me to do it in the way I'm doing it. I don't have that as my goal; I never have. The only way I can get on that plane and go to Iowa or New Hampshire and spend night after night in hotels in places you've never even heard of is by saying, "Think about why you're doing this, Tom." It is because the issue is important. You are the person that is advancing it. I have the luxury of saying, "I will set the goalposts as far as I can down the field because then I will have a better chance of getting the game played on my side."
I'm not sure that anyone could sum up conservative politics any better than that. Via Kevin Drum.