Re Trump’s seemingly abrupt collapse and Warren’s inexorable rise–it’s not what people believe about a political figure; it’s how they make them feel. Warren feels fresher and livelier than the people who are supposed to be more broadly appealing, just as Trump did three years ago as compared to Jeb Bush. Advertisers know this–it’s really hard to get people excited about a product that they’re not mostly sold on already. Just as Bush or Hillary Clinton did in 2015, Kamala Harris seemed market-ready on paper, but she failed to launch. Even without Trump’s international rat-fucking, Biden was already faltering. It happens.
I mean, you can say you’re strong 1000 times a day with ruthless message discipline and broadcast it in 100 well-made ads a minute and that will get you somewhere to be sure, but if you actually ARE strong, that will get you further. Trump seemed not just strong but invincible to the people who didn’t hate him three years ago. He still does to some of them, but if you weren’t all in before, you’re probably seeing him differently now that he’s acting like a loser. It’s a whole lot harder to convince people that you are winning when you are having a big tantrum.
As for the mystery of how so many people could have NOT hated him–well, that I can’t fathom, but I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with ideology, policy, or principles of any kind. As conservatives used to say, it probably has a lot to do with people’s characters.