USA 1896 Presidential Elections
The USA 1896 Presidential Election is worth a revisit due to the surge-in populism. This is a mirror image of the Donald Trump presidential campaigns. In this year under focus, there was a face-off between a Republican candidate William McKinley vs a Democrats candidate (William Jennings Bryan) who was a complete political outsider like Donald Trump. The Democrats settled on Bryan because they wanted to take advantage of the “populist revolt” of workers and farmers who felt that their poor economic conditions was as a result of actions of wealthy businessmen, corporations and Eastern Bankers. William Jennings Bryan adopted unconventional campaign methods. He preferred to communicate directly to the electorate hence by-passing the traditional media. This is the same strategies Trump used recently in his campaigns. Bryan made great speeches in defense of common people. That way he appealed to Democrats as well as populists. It’s unfortunate that despite the spirited fight Bryan was defeated by the Republicans. The USA elections of 1896 indicated that there were divisions between Catholics and Evangelicals as well as between urban and rural populations.
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