Aides say that Sanders is envisioning himself in the Oval Office, which has been guiding his decisions on both campaign operations and policy positions. Their assessment is that Americans want Medicare for all, but are just anxious that Sanders wouldn’t be able to manage that or any of the other big changes he’s promising. They believe that a tightly run campaign would demonstrate that he could run the country, too. (That’s a huge shift from his last run, which, even as it caught fire in the primaries, never reached a level beyond joking about making his 2016 campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, the ambassador to the Vatican). They’re also hoping that the intensity of the campaign counters the three main weaknesses they’ve identified: that Sanders is too old, that people are scared off by the prospect of “socialism,” and that they hold not being a Democrat against him…

Doubters suspect a Sanders nomination could be the one sure way to give Trump a second term, but Sanders’s thinking is that he could get the same Democratic and anti-Trump votes as other nominees, plus all the people who would only vote for him. Over at the campaign’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, they love the video from Sanders’s October 2017 CNN debate with Ted Cruz, when he convinced an antagonistic questioner that higher taxes to match those of European countries make sense. After Monday night’s town hall on Fox News, they have even more moments like that, including when Sanders surprised the anchors by getting the crowd to whoop for government-run health care.