At the outset of the 1928 campaign, prohibition and farm relief appear to be the main issues presented for decision by the voters in the forthcoming election - with the Democratic presidential candidate staking his chances of success upon the appeal of his “personal position on prohibition to the voters in normally Republican states of the industrial East, and the appeal of his party's position on farm relief to voters in normally Republican states of the agricultural West.
The prohibition issue grows out of conditions that have developed since the coming into force of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead act in January, 1920, and the farm relief issue out of the spectacular decline a few months later in the prices of agricultural commodities and the long depression that followed in the agricultural regions of the West. The long-standing nature of the grievances complained of under both heads; the fact that neither prohibition nor farm relief has heretofore been made a a major issue between candidates of the dominant parties in a national campaign, and the resulting uncertainty as to the voters' reactions to these issues, render the outcome of the 1928 election doubtful in an unusual number of states
Purchasing Power of the Farmer's Dollar
In their 1924 platforms both parties pledged themselves to restore agriculture to a condition of “economic equality” with other industries. These declarations, as interpreted by the representatives of both parties in the agricultural states, called for a restoration of the pre-war purchasing power of the farmers dollar. At the time these declarations were formulated, the general level of prices for agricultural commodities stood about 20 points below its pre-war relationship with the prices of non-agricultural commodities. The remedy for this situation demanded by farmers' organizations in the corn and wheat belts was the setting up of price-control machinery corresponding to that embodied in the McNary-Haugen bill, which had recently been defeated in the House of Representatives