Hillary finishes significantly behind Obama in Iowa. Then she sneaks ahead and steals New Hampshire by 3 percent. So what's next? Like most people, I don't keep the primary schedule tattooed on my arm so I have to use another tool. I think this one is rather nice.
New York Times Primary Election Guide
With this guide you see not only when each primary/caucus is being held, but you also see the number of delegates that are at stake that day. I say "that day" because as you will see, Super Tuesday is right around the corner.
On February 5, 22 states will be holding their primaries and that means roughly half of the delegates needed to get the Democratic nomination are up for grabs.
Before we get to that day, the Democratic candidates still in the race have to go through Nevada and South Carolina. (Technically, Michigan and Florida are in there as well, but they tried to move their primaries ahead of Feb. 5 against the National Democratic Party's wishes and were stripped of their delegates. But that is a whole other story for another day.) Since we have what appears to be a robust and competitive race, those races in Nevada and South Carolina are going to take on real importance moving into Super Tuesday.
The Democratic voter, perhaps more than ever before, is focused on electability. If you are looking at the issues of the war, health care, schooling, the economy, regardless of past voting, all of the D's are pretty close to each other. I know that the various candidate's camps would argue the differences, but in the global scheme of things, they are more similar than not and they are all very different than the current administration and the Republican party.
When you combine that with the nearly unprecedented loathing the voters have for the current administration, I believe that Democratic primary voters are walking into the booth with one over-riding thought in mind:
Which of these candidates is most likely to defeat a Republican opponent?
That is why Obama, in his Iowa acceptance speech, spent the first few minutes telling everyone that his campaign had done what "they" said couldn't be done. A black man won in Iowa. By doing that, he was telling the country not to fear voting for a black man because if a black man can win in Iowa, he can win just about anywhere.
That is why Hillary makes experience such a cornerstone of her campaign because she wants the Democratic voters to fear Obama's inexperience. She wants them to think the rest of the country won't vote for someone without a longer, more impressive track record.
So, as you look forward to South Carolina and Nevada, listen to their messages and see if anyone can grab Ol' Man Momentum by the twig and berries and have an edge going into Super Tuesday. If you run the table that day, if you can put your opponent down for the count that day, you can ride into Denver for a coronation instead of a convention.