For better explanation, use AP EXAM THE PAST AND PRESENT book pg. 154

Prior to the election of 1896 party loyalties, which had been rooted in Civil War traditions, were based upon ethnic and religious differences, along with class distinctions. these loyalties were also remarkably strong. However, the election of 1896 saw the emergence of new voting patterns for the first time in American political history.
-the main issue of the election of 1896 was the free coinage of silver
-After the depressions since 1893, many Americans wanted US Mints to coin all silver offered to it
-additional money in circulation would mean more business for everyone

However, the people of the Northeast, the Midwest, and for border states sided with gold and the Republican candidate, William mcKinley. In addition to the silver-gold standard debate, the Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan summoned voters to a traditional America. With the election of 1896 maring a turning point in traditional voter intentions, this appeal failed to resonate with the voters.