When Dick Gephardt eked out a win in the 1988 Iowa caucuses, no one was under the illusion that the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination was over. Nor was it over in 1992 when Iowans chose favorite son Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE and Paul Tsongas won in New Hampshire, both defeating eventual nominee Bill ClintonBill ClintonChelsea Clinton dismisses rumors she'll run for public office: report Trump seeks to stop lawsuit from ‘Apprentice’ contestant Trump asks why Clintons' ties to Russia aren't under investigation MOREJohn McCainJohn McCainOvernight Finance: Senate Dems call for investigation of acting SEC chairman | Wyden: Russia probe should focus on Trump financial ties | Dems seek more money for IRS Overnight Defense: Pentagon considers more troops for Afghanistan | McCain, Graham won't back short-term funding | GOP defends Trump rules of engagement McCain and Graham: We won't back short-term government funding bill MORE found that a lopsided New Hampshire win was not enough to survive the awaiting Bush 2000 machine.

But in 2004, John KerryJohn KerryFBI Director Comey sought to reveal Russian election meddling last summer: report Congress, Trump need a united front to face down Iran One year ago today we declared ISIS atrocities as genocide MORE went from single digits to a surprise win in Iowa in what seemed like the blink of an eye, and by the time voters had rubbed their eyes and refocused, Kerry was already the presumptive nominee. His Iowa glow carried into a win in New Hampshire, and the campaign was effectively over long before the alleged “super Tuesday

The most important job interview: Presidential primaries ideally are a national vetting process in which voters within the parties can take a careful look at  their potential standard bearers via speeches, debates, and personal interaction. They want a good sense of a candidate’s grasp of the issues, ability to handle adversity, and even their regional strengths.  They also can take this chance to fully debate the potential future direction of their party, which is more “in play