The HUGE difference between Donald Trump and George Wallace.
In a nutshell: the HUGE difference is that Donald Trump can actually win the Presidency. At present, Trump is poised to win the nomination for one of the two major political parties.
Even in what is perceived to have been a far more racist and hateful America, George Wallace was not considered main stream enough to carry a major party. He was certainly popular with what was considered the “radical right”. But in 1964, he ran in the Democratic Primaries, and failed to win any states.
In subsequent Presidential races, Wallace ran under the banner of the American Independent Party and proved even more popular. Eerily similar to Trump, Wallace’s rallies packed stadiums and attracted thousands of opposing protestors. And like Trump, Wallace used violent rhetoric to undermine his protestors.
In the general election, Wallace won just under 10 million votes, almost 14% of all votes cast nationally. He won five southern states — Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. And he proved particularly popular with blue collar workers throughout the country.
In today’s upcoming general election, Trump is poised to win many more votes than Wallace. That has become obvious. There is nothing ground breaking in what I’m saying. But it IS scary. Racism in the U.S. has always been obvious to me, and I’m not someone who ever thought we lived in a post-racial society. However, I didn’t know it was this bad, this widespread. I didn’t know a candidate like Donald Trump could get so many votes. It means his supporters might be people I work with, folks I do business with, people I know. It’s… queasy.
And when I think about my three year old son, it’s… [far worse than queasy, but I don’t have the words]. So, I hug him hard and pray.
It appears, unfortunately, that I [we] may have over-estimated the evolution of the American people over the past 44 years — since “George Wallace for President” was a thing. The personal challenge for me? Accept this truth; but don’t allow it to dishearten or embitter. Rather, rise above… somehow.