Governor Michael Dukakis looked like the clear Democratic nominee for President as early as the summer of 1987 and was never really seriously challenged for that nomination. Representative Dick Gephardt was supposed to win the Iowa Caucus and that is exactly what he did being from Missouri and having so much support from organized labor and Iowa being a big organized labor state. Mike Dukakis being more of a New Democrat from Massachusetts even, which is probably not very common, who was to the right of Senator Ted Kennedy.
Mike Dukakis was the Democrat that the George H.W. Bush Campaign feared in 1988 and knew he could definitely beat them. And knew that voters especially Independents would probably like Dukakis who had a great personal and family story coming from a Greek immigrant family. Working his way up and making big success in life. Compared with George H.W. who was born to great wealth. And the Bush Campaign set to take Dukakis down as soon as he won the nomination, because they knew Dukakis would probably beat them otherwise.