Sanders starts out indisputably ahead. Bolstered by the grassroots army he amassed in 2016, the Vermont senator easily outraised Warren in the first 24 hours of their campaigns. He’s far ahead of her in the polls, too, trailing only former Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn’t announced whether he’ll run.
Sanders’ camp is treating Warren accordingly. He and his aides are avoiding any whiff of public criticism of Warren. They declined even to respond when her allies argued last week that Sanders entering the race would benefit her.
Warren’s team downplays the metrics surrounding their campaign launches, instead taking the long view. If Sanders falters after weeks or months as a front-runner — he is guaranteed to draw more scrutiny now than he did in 2016, given his strength from the outset — the Massachusetts senator wants to be seen as a more viable alternative to beat Donald Trump in a general election.