...as ideologues sometimes forget, many voters simply don't conceive electoral politics as a contest between liberal and conservative philosophies of government, but primarily as a choice between individuals who may be personally competent or incompetent, trustworthy or corrupt. Among these voters, Mr Andres suggests, the problem is not (as moderates aver) that the party is seen as too extreme or (as conservatives insist) that Republicans need to more clearly distinguish themselves from Democrats, but that the current set of Republican standard bearers are seen as venal and inept. That's awkward for party leadership if true: An ideological problem can be fixed by moving to the right or the centre as needed; a personnel problem can only be solved by moving out. Which, one imagines, strengthens the incentive for them to conclude there's no problem.
This angle isn't wrong as such but telling the GOP's rump that ideological rigidity is a feature and not a bug probably isn't going to help win elections anytime soon. And fresh faces with exhausted policies won't help much either. What you have to do is base new policies on old principles: like, say, tax simplification as an extension of lower taxes and more accountable government. DiA notes:
...populist movements often develop explanations for why the volk aren't rallying more enthusiastically to the cause. For old school Marxists, it was our old friend "false consciousness". More recently, Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" posited cultural issues as the opiate of the masses, used by plutocrats to dupe blue-collar workers into voting against their own (supposedly more authentic) economic interests. For modern conservatives, the narrative of the liberal media seems to play much the same role.