In the unlikely case that neither Clinton nor Obama win an outright majority through the primary process, the party leaders will broker the nomination (though almost certainly before the convention).
I say “unlikely” because, with only two candidates, the split would have to be very close for neither to have an outright majority.
But if the margin of victory is close, seating Michigan and Florida could give Clinton a first-ballot victory. Delegates could vote to seat even if pledged to another candidate, which they might prefer to do.
Indeed they can do this even if bound to vote for Obama on the first ballot. You can imagine for yourself some reasons why some might chose to do so.
The delegates card, though by no means a foregone conclusion, is another arrow in Clinton’s quiver. It will remain an option, though a messier one, even if Floria or Michigan decide to hold nominating caucuses to select delegates under DNC rules.
I’m guessing that Obama, whose organization does well in caucuses, might be revving up to convince the Michigan and Florida state committees to do exactly that.
This could put the Clinton camps in those states as being against a process that would seat delegates under the existing rules, even as Clinton herself calls for seating the delegates from the primary to avoid the injustice of disenfranchising those voters.
Finally, since having legal, caucus-based delegations would complicate any effort to seat the excluded ones, the fate of the nomination (if not the election) may hang on what the Florida and
Michigan state committees decide to do.
If we find ourselves treated to high-blown rhetoric about following the rules and/or enfranchising voters, this will be why.