Without the Bush Campaign literally bashing Bob Dole in South Carolina in 1988 and doing things like accusing Mr. Dole of fathering African-American babies which I guess was considered a sin for Caucasian men to do at least back then, Bob Dole probably wins the Republican nomination for President. The story would've been that the ranking Republican Leader in Congress, the highest ranking Republican in Congress beats the Vice President of the Untied States the 2nd highest ranking officer in the Federal Government and the 2nd ranking officer in the Republican Party. At the time Bob Dole was the Republican Leader in the Senate as Minority Leader. George H.W. Bush was Vice President of the United States.
Because of course George Bush was going to win New Hampshire. He's a Northeastern Republican a Yankee if you will against Bob Dole who's from Kansas that looks a lot like the deep South culturally and perhaps even politically. So Dole was probably in better position to beat Bush in South Carolina just for those reasons alone. Plus the fact with Dole's long conservative record in Congress not just as Minority Leader, but Leader and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Republicans in the South and Midwest back then tended to trust Bob Dole over a Yankee Northeastern Republican like George H.W. Bush.
So Bob Dole did what he had to do in Iowa which was win the caucus in 1988. Knowing that George Bush was probably going to win New Hampshire and the real test for both and the primary that would give either one real momentum going forward with an opportunity to win several states after that was South Carolina. The Bush Campaign swung for the fences and put in everything they could to beat Dole in South Carolina, including lying about Dole's record in Congress and they succeeded. With the Dole Campaign apparently unprepared for the Bush attacks.