I'll go with a prediction that Clinton does not sweep the first two contests, in Iowa and New Hampshire. They are both very close, and it seems more likely that either Edwards or Obama take home a win in either state, or both. The next contest after New Hampshire on the 8th is Michigan on the 15th.
For some reason I never got to the bottom of, Obama & Edwards both made the bone-headed idea of dropping out of the Michigan primary-- why, does anyone know?
So instead, for Michigan:
The four 2008 Democratic nominees are Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich. Additional nominees Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson have removed themselves from the Michigan primary ballot, cited throughout the media as calling the state's primary a "beauty contest" without the delegate significance of the other 48 primary elections.
Those not on the ballot will have to wind up seeing their support either go to one of the candidates on the ballot, or get their support elsewhere:
Democratic voters will also have the option of voting for "Uncommitted," as is suggested for those favoring Biden, Edwards, Obama or Richardson, or a "Write-in" candidate.
The net effect of the DNC's banning Michigan's 156 delegates from participating in next summer's presidential nomination process will be a penalty that is not enforced:
"I don't think it'll affect much of anything. All of the nominees said they'd seat delegates. We'll have delegates in August. (The exclusion) is not expected to be enforced," DeRoche said, noting it would reflect poorly on the candidates during the presidential election in November if they were not to allow the votes of two states as sizable as Michigan and Florida during the primary process.
Yes, it would be a disaster. Since all the candidates are apparently already on the record for allowing Michigan's delegates to the convention, that makes the Jan 15th contest there much more than a "beauty contest" as there are going to be 156 delegates that are chosen.
If either Obama or Edwards wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, their campaign choosing to skip out of Michigan will be looked back on as the most stupid strategic move of the election. Instead of having the opportunity to put Clinton away, not only will they be letting Clinton claim a win, but we'll also see the contest shift from 'who won' each state to 'who has the most delegates' for the nomination-- very favorable to Clinton.