Back in 2016, a wealthy New Yorker got into a crowded presidential race and was immediately dismissed. Virtually nobody actually liked the candidate, polls showed, and there were also questions about how serious he was about the whole thing. Then that candidate won.
Could it happen again in 2020? The results of the Iowa caucuses have fed speculation that former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg might actually have a shot at the Democratic nomination.
He wasn't on the ballot, mind you, but the results - with a Democratic socialist senator and the young, former mayor of a relatively small American city finishing in the top two slots - seem to have cracked the door ajar to a wild card.
Couple that with the "gut punch" suffered by the leading "establishment" candidate - Joe Biden's fourth-place finish - and it's not unreasonable to think a lane could open for Bloomberg.
It's anything but likely, but it's hardly the punchline it once was. Let's break it down.
First is what happened in Iowa and what it means.
It has been abundantly clear throughout this process that the Democratic Party is terrified of picking the wrong candidate, only to see them lose to President Donald Trump.
Iowa Democrats liked Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg so much they combined for more than half the vote, but it's not difficult to see voters confronting the reality of those two actually facing Trump and, rightly or wrongly, suddenly getting skittish.
And that goes double now Mr Trump's numbers are creeping up. There was a time when Democrats seemed to have the luxury of picking any number of hopefuls who would be favoured against Trump, because they all led him in the polls. That's not so clearly the case any more.
Mr Trump's approval rating has hit or tied new highs in several new polls in recent weeks - including 49pc in the latest Gallup poll - and the general election match-ups are suddenly tight. In other words, a party that has long said electability is priority number one may move even further in that direction and really think hard about its options once the front-runners solidify.
The answer for those voters, throughout the race, has been consistent: Joe Biden. But not only did he fare poorly in Iowa, he's been an unsteady candidate.
Mr Biden is hardly sunk, but if the long-time top candidate in this race can't notch a win in the first three contests before he gets to the South Carolina primary, you wonder how much of an option he'll be in the fourth.
Which brings us to Super Tuesday, on March 3. That's the first date on which Mr Bloomberg will actually be on ballots, thanks to his late entry into the 2020 race and his unorthodox strategy of spurning the first four states.
He has gambled that he doesn't need the "momentum" that candidates covet from those early states, perhaps in part because his lavishly self-funded campaign doesn't need the money that usually comes with it. He's also betting that not even trying in those four states will help him avoid the kind of potentially negative narrative that Mr Biden is confronting.
It's a novel strategy, but if anyone could pull it off, it would be a mega-billionaire like Mr Bloomberg.
So can he? Super Tuesday will be make-or-break for Mr Bloomberg, no doubt - as it will be pretty much for everyone else.
That's because 14 states are holding contests, and about one out of every three delegates is at stake.
As the other candidates have focused on Iowa and New Hampshire, Mr Bloomberg has blanketed these other states with ads and hired unheard-of amounts of staff in them.
The combined investment so far is more than $250m (€228m). And there are signs that it's working - at least somewhat.
There are very few polls in the Super Tuesday states, but the few we have suggest he's a player. To wit, some recent polls:
He's done worse in California, which is by far Super Tuesday's biggest delegate prize, but he's making huge investments there now.
Beyond that, we haven't seen many Super Tuesday polls. But if you look at states in the two weeks that follow, the trend holds. In the March 10 mini-Super Tuesday:
By that point, more than three out of every five delegates will have been selected. And pretty much every poll suggests he's at least on voters' radars in most of these states.
If the contest is still open after the first four states and/or the party starts to wonder about a front-runner like Mr Sanders or Mr Buttigieg being able to win, Mr Bloomberg has set himself up as an option.
There's a lot of what-ifs built into the case for Mr Bloomberg, but there remain a lot of questions about the 2020 Democratic field, and the party's unquenchable thirst for getting Trump out of the Oval Office could make for a unique campaign. (© The Washington Post)