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The choose-your-own-adventure primary

I’ve already weighed in on what I think would have happened in Michigan based on the results of similar congressional districts in other states. Michigan looks like it would have been a toss-up, perhaps leaning slightly to Obama. But this analysis did not consider the timing of the elections, and how that might have played out in terms of momentum and campaign strategy. What if the DNC had said to Michigan and Florida: “go right ahead!”, and they held officially-sanctioned early primaries just as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina did?

There are two possibilities that I find interesting to contemplate. First, if Florida and Michigan were on the calendar, might the Clinton campaign have skipped Iowa, as it was thinking about doing last summer? And secondly, with another state (Michigan) with a relatively large African-American population on the calendar, might the Clinton campaign have been a little more delicate in the way that it handled the race issue? If Clinton had held on to one-third of the black vote, the nomination would very probably have been hers.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.