The remaining candidates all speak to the middle class, but they have shown little appetite for Reformicon ideas; there are no hints among them of Rubio's targeted child tax credits, Bush's overhaul of higher education or Rick Perry's plans to regulate the financial sector.
Ted Cruz is running a "rising tide lifts all boats" economic message straight out of the Arthur Laffer playbook, including an aggressive tax plan that would slash income tax rates, especially for the rich, and institute a consumption tax. John Kasich is pitching a throwback plan of fiscal discipline, which promises workers that balanced budgets are the ticket to shared prosperity.
The GOP front-runner, the man who stole Bush and Rubio and so many other candidate's thunder, is running a populist campaign that upends at least a half-century of conservative orthodoxy. Donald Trump is many things in this election, but "free people, free markets" he is not. He has threatened tariffs on China and Mexico and the deportation of millions of immigrants who entered the United States illegally. His tax plan would be an even greater boon for the wealthy than Cruz's, but he also proposes to hike some rates on hedge-fund managers. He boasts of his love for the government's ability to seize land, with compensation of course.
He tells Americans the economy is a series of deals negotiated by their leaders in Washington, and those deals have been very bad for workers, and that he will renegotiate them, favorably.
Trump's supporters include a lot of less-educated, lower-income white voters who have seen their wages stagnate or fall throughout this century - exactly the folks Reformicons were trying to reach. His success has flummoxed some of them and inspired others to revamp their policy pitch. "The GOP can no longer survive as the party of tax cuts for the rich," Reihan Salam wrote last month in Slate. "It must reinvent itself as the champion of America’s working- and middle-class families."
The question for the reform crowd is whether such a reinvention is compatible with policies they believe would actually help workers.
In an interview last month, Abby McCloskey, a conservative, middle-class-focused economist who advised Perry and Bush in their bids, worried openly that Trump is selling voters a set of solutions that won't change their fortunes very much.
“I can understand why people are very upset," she said. "The part that surprised me is how it appears, on the right, to have manifested on immigration and keeping Muslims out. I understand the anger, but it seems like the solutions do really nothing to solve the problem, except maybe venting the anger in a real tangible way.”
None of the reform candidates succeeded in harnessing that anger. More importantly, none of them sold their promises nearly as well as Trump sold his. Wherever Reformicons go from here, that will be their first challenge: to convince beleaguered workers that their plans are big and bold enough to make workers' lives better.
Or, some reform economists argue, they might not need to adapt at all.
"As an empirical matter, I don't think that the fate of those candidates tells us anything much about reform ideas themselves --- they just weren't a central feature of the election or of those candidates' campaigns," said Michael Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "The GOP primary contest simply hasn't been a choice-contest over competing visions for domestic and economic policy."