A Catholic Runs for President: The Campaign of 1928

By Edmund A. Moore | Go to book overview
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Conclusion

The details of the events of the last few weeks of the campaign need not concern us here. The issue of Smith's Catholicism remained important until election day. The pattern of the campaign within a campaign was fixed long before Smith made his appeal in Oklahoma. For ten days after the Oklahoma City speech, according to the North American Newspaper Alliance, the religious issue led all others in newspaper space. Thereafter it returned increasingly to a covert status.

Smith lost the election by a wide margin, although he polled the largest popular vote any Democratic candidate had yet received. Doubtless the huge vote was chiefly due to those special issues that were symbolized by Al Smith. Unless much circumstantial evidence is meaningless, many cast their ballots more against Smith than for Hoover. The Upper South, together with Florida and Texas, voted Republican, thus breaking the tradition of the Solid South. A combination of factors, so interlaced as to defy complete separation, explain the defection of half the South. For the country as a whole, prosperity was the key issue. The religious factor is of particular importance both for 1928 and for the future course of American history. The concomitant social issues of great importance included Prohibition, the

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