While she still has a sizable lead in early polls, Hillary Clinton is losing ground to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the only other Democratic presidential candidate to announce so far. And her campaign isn’t taking that for granted.
Former Gov. Howard Dean, an adviser to the Clinton campaign, recently told Vermont Public Radio:
I have counseled the Clinton folks to take him very seriously.
He still supports the former Secretary of State, who he endorsed in December 2014, but recognizes the strength of the independent-turned-Democrat from his home state of Vermont. And that strength is Sanders’ public stances on issues that matter most to voters at the moment, Dean said.
It turns out that economic justice is probably the largest domestic issue that we’re facing right now. Underlined by the riots in Baltimore, underlined by the polls, which tell us that 80 percent of the American people don’t think the economy is working for them anymore, and so Bernie’s sort of in the right place at the right time.
Economic issues are the foundation of Sanders’ platform. Speaking at the South Carolina Democratic Party’s annual convention last month, Sanders promised to address an increase in minimum wage, expansion of Social Security, and creation of a federal jobs program.
Dean believes the general subject of economy will become a focal point to many voters, and advised the Clinton campaign to prepare for that subject in presidential debates, too.
You have to confront the issue of income inequality if Bernie Sanders is up there. He’s a good debater. He doesn’t get personal and make personal attacks. He sticks to the issues.
Clinton leads primary polls with significant margin at the moment, but Sanders has made substantial improvement. In a mid-March poll conducted by CNN, Sanders took fourth place with only three percent to Clinton’s 62. Following his April 30 campaign announcement, however, he moved to second place in polls of two primary states, and with substantial gain – 15 percent to Clinton’s 60 in an Iowa poll, and 18 to 62 in New Hampshire.