Now the pressure is on to do it again. There would be pressure no matter what — that's the price of success — but this year, Silver has the added burden of trying to redeem his failure to forecast Donald Trump's victory in the Republican primary. In May, Silver wrote 5,000 words under the headline "How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump."
One other thing: Silver has a rival prognosticator this time. His name is Carl Diggler.
Diggler is not a real person. He is the creation of Cafe writers Felix Biederman and Virgil Texas, who wrote on the PostEverything blog in May that they conceived him as a way to "satirize all that is vacuous, elitist and ridiculous about the media class."
By "media class," they mostly mean Silver — or "Nathaniel Bronze," as the Diggler character called him in a column on Monday.
"Even in your weak body, there is kingly blood that cannot resist a challenge," Diggler wrote, throwing down the gauntlet. "Face me, Nathan. We have walked the earth till we have reached this point with each other in our respective paths. One must step aside. I am building my map. I suggest you build yours. May the best pundit win."
On Election Day, the final predictions are out. Here's how Silver and Diggler match up in key battlegrounds.
The only difference between Diggler's prediction and Silver's is Ohio. Silver gives Trump about a 64 percent chance to win the Buckeye State, while Diggler is calling Clinton in an upset. Both maps project a Clinton victory overall.
So the contest between Silver and his trolling arch nemesis will come down to a single state. If Diggler is right, Silver might never hear the end of it — he will have lost to a fake pundit, after all.
But even if Silver hits every state (again), Diggler will be able to say his predictions were 95 percent accurate. That will probably be good enough for him to keep up the mockery until 2020.