Probably, for the right candidate.
William Jennings Bryan was the Democratic nominee in the election of 1896, and was 36 years old–the youngest major party candidate to ever run. He was then and maybe even in some views is today controversial, and a man who doesn’t easily map to modern concepts of liberal/conservative.
He was deeply religious, and opposed to vice throughout his political career. After serving two terms in the U.S. House representing Nebraska and broadly representing agrarian interests and conservative social values, he took a more populist turn. He started giving speeches advocating bimetallism and the resumption of minting of silver coinage, designed to increase the supply of money and lead to inflation. This was something very popular with the West/plains and parts of the midwest and South, farmers who were often in debt very much liked the idea of money getting cheaper as it would make it easier to pay their debts. The wealthy bankers of the northeast were deeply opposed to it, and advocated for continued minting of new coinage exclusively in gold or “sound money.” Bryan gave fiery speeches around the country blasting the bankers, large corporations, railroads etc, saying they were crushing the common man.
While young, he was seen as a rising star for an important wing of the Democratic party and was considered for some post at the 1896 convention like Convention Chair (a prominent but largely ceremonial role.) Instead his populist support lead to him wining the nomination. He also was nominated by the Free Silver Republican Party and the Populist Party (although not always with the same running mate, so depending on which ticket you voted for your vote would count for Bryan either way but not necessarily his Democratic running mate.) He was campaigned against heavily in the Midwest, Bimetallism was extremely popular in the plains states and the West, and the Democrats were still guaranteed the South at this time. The Republicans were guaranteed the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, so the Midwest was the real battleground. While bimetallism was very popular there, there were also large industrial interests in the region that were strongly against it. McKinley was backed by a better funded and better operated political machine–and in fact Bryan was actively opposed by a large portion of his own party. Some elements of the party had tried to get Grover Cleveland to run again as a third party candidate to undo Bryan, he declined interest in a third term, but he also didn’t endorse Bryan. Almost no Democrat newspapers anywhere in the country endorse him either. In the end this schism in the party and the better organized Republicans won the midwest and the electoral college by about 100 votes, although in some key states the popular vote was close enough that if things had been only a little different, Bryan would’ve been President.
Interestingly Bryan in many people’s minds is not remembered as a pseudo-populist, anti-corporate Democrat of the late 19th century. Instead he is remembered more for his very conservative religious beliefs, and his involvement in the Scopes Monkey Trial. After running for President a few more times, Bryan eventually was Secretary of State for a time and later became very involved in campaigning against evolution. Believe it or not evolution was taught as scientific fact throughout the United States public schools in the early 20th century. Using the same kind of stupid and ignorant rhetoric often found today (and ridiculed by men of learning and reason of his time) Bryan gave speeches across the country to receptive state legislatures asking for the teaching of evolution in schools to be banned. Several states in the South responded in the affirmative to these entreaties, which lead directly to the Scopes trial.
Bryan was called in to prosecute for the Scopes trial against Clarence Darrow. Even taking the stand at one point and being made to look extremely stupid by Darrow when he indicated a global flood had occurred some 4300 years prior, Darrow asked him if he was aware that recorded history in China goes back further, and that they make no mention of a flood (Bryan responded he was not aware of that, but considered the bible more reliable than Chinese histories and archaeology.) Under the simple facts of the law, teaching evolution was illegal, and Scopes had taught evolution, so despite being prosecuted by a vastly inferior lawyer to Darrow, Scopes was convicted–but he won in the court of public opinion and the Tennessee supreme court overturned the conviction on appeal on a legal technicality. Interestingly I think today Bryan’s arguments and actions might find a wider audience than back in the early 20th century–because largely public opinion moved strongly against criminalizing the teaching of evolution, and in many ways the teaching of evolution became a somewhat “settled issue” until the Religious Right prominently resurrected it in the 80s.
It is worth noting that in one area Bryan’s stance on evolution was extremely appropriate–while he was wrong to disagree with the science of Darwin’s theories, he was most concerned with social Darwinism and eugenics. He believed (correctly, as it were) that Darwin’s theories were being used to justify the concept that some races are superior to others, and were underpinning the eugenics movement. Unfortunately while Bryan was scientifically illiterate, he was right about the Western world of his time–eugenics was extremely accepted by many leading minds of the day, and lead to all sorts of terrible things, from the forced sterilization of “the incompetent” to even worse things in Germany.