Sure, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is, on average, roughly 40 percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in national polls, but that doesn’t mean Team Hillary isn’t taking him seriously as a competitor.
“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri said Monday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
“It's to be expected that Sanders would do well in a Democratic primary, and he’s going to do well in Iowa in the Democratic caucus.”
A new Quinnipiac University poll released last week found he doubled his share of Democratic supporters in Iowa in just seven weeks. Some polls in New Hampshire show Sanders less than 10 points behind Clinton.
Palmieri said Sanders's rise won't prompt a shift toward negative campaigning and that Sanders's strong crowds only underscore the differences in the campaigning tactics between the two campaigns.
“We don’t need to attack each other. He'll run his campaign, we'll run ours. The imperatives for us are different. We think what works for her, particularly in Iowa, is doing a lot of small events, staying a long time, being one of the last people, if not the last person, to leave the room. That works better for us right now,” she said.
While Sanders, as The Hill notes, has closed the margin a bit in recent polls—even beating Clinton among Democratic men in a June Granite State survey, she will most likely still be the Democrats’ nominee for president. Regardless, any competition she faces from the left will only help Republican contenders in the months ahead.