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Wallace supporters – 1968

Recently my personal research took me to the October 24, 1968 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. On page 57, was an article about supporters of the then presidential candidate of Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace was in a three-way race with Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Wallace was a poor third place against Nixon and Humphrey; however, he did manage to keep Nixon and Humphrey in a statistical tie with each failing to receive more than fifty percent of the vote.

What is interesting about the article is the quotes by Wallace supporters, and the uncanny similarity in tone to today’s Trump supporter. For example:

Regarding Wallace:

Now I keep hearin’ about an old Nixon and a new Nixon, and an old Humphrey and a new Humphrey, Now I don’t know which is which, but I can tell you there is no old Wallace or new Wallace. He’s sayin’ and believin’ the same things as when he ran for governor. And he’ll be sayin’ and believin’ the same things as President.”

Dick Smith, October 1968

“We’ve already given Democratic and Republican presidents a chance and they can’t straighten things out. Let’s give somebody new a try. We don’t have anything to lose.”

Bob Miller, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

The other politicians are controlled by their handlers. He’s not.”

Vern Engel, Kansas City, August 2015

“I backed Trump from the beginning. Because he calls things out. He does not allow lies to live. He just exposes things. Pastors sometimes need to be politically correct, and Donald Trump is not politically correct, and I love that about him”

Crystal Myers, California, May 2016

Regarding Wallace:

I’m a racist, but that’s not the reason I’m supporting Wallace. I’m behind him because he’s the most patriotic man I know. I just can’t stomach these liberals. I think they’re scum.”

William Napier, October 1968

“I’ve moved twice because of Negroes moving in. All that loud rock and roll music.”

Elmer Genie, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

I was actually sitting in the chow hall (in Qatar) when they announced the results (when Obama won in 2008,) and he gave his speech,” he says. “I saw such a division at that time. Every black member of the military was cheering. Everybody else was sitting there mute. Like stunned.”

Former Marine, June 2016

“….these people, that are from other countries, non-speaking—I’m not biased, I have no reason to be—but . . . I’m seeing them getting cash, getting their bills paid, and, as a taxpaying citizen, I don’t get anything. And so the border thing really resonated with me.”

Stephanie from Minnesota, June 2016

Ideologically, there is no difference between the 1968 George Wallace supporter, and the 2017 Trump supporter. Both act on emotion and opinion with few facts to support their position. They are unified in the opinion that non-whites are, at least in part, the cause of their problems. They are also completely deaf to any idea or fact that doesn’t support their position, and ignorant of how corporations and the wealthy have manipulated them into making decisions that go against their own interests.

Our country’s problems aren’t caused by bad politicians. They are caused by uneducated and unintelligent voters who don’t have the ability to understand what they are doing…and never will.

Quotes were taken from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (24 October 1968,) BBC News (9 November 2016,) The New Yorker (11/18 June 2016)