When it comes to Donald Trump, comparisons to former Presidential candidate George Wallace are nothing new (check out Rachel Maddow’s recent take, or a powerful submission from one of our own advocates here).
Those comparisons have now been validated as Wallace’s daughter and former staffers have all but proclaimed Trump as the Second Coming of the infamous segregationist.
Segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace’s daughter and two of his former top aides said in interviews this week that candidate Donald Trump is squarely in Wallace’s racist, populist tradition.
“There are a great deal of similarities as it relates to their style and political strategies,” said Wallace’s daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy. “The two of them, they have adopted the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters. Those voters that feel alienated from the government. Those voters tend to make decisions based on an emotional level rather than intellectual.”
“They both understood, my father and Donald Trump, that low-information voters, they tend to feed off of the threats to their livelihood and safety without really considering what that threat really is, or even if it’s real,” she continued. “So daddy and Trump have this magnificent personality, a brave put-ons that the average American wants in a leader.
Wallace’s former 1968 campaign staffers agreed with the comparison, noting Trump’s attacks on Mexicans.
But during a pretty cringeworthy moment in the Buzzfeed piece, one of the staffers said that back in the day he used to call Mexicans the derogatory “wetback.” Awkward pause aside, it’s important to note this because while Trump won’t say the word itself, he’s a huge fan of the “Operation Wetback” mass-deportation plan, going so far as to publicly praise it during Republican Presidential debates.
I mean, you know it’s bad for the GOP when even former segregationists have seemingly moved on from that awful word, but your leading Republican candidate for President hasn’t.
Anyway, back to the story:
“He’s very similar to George Wallace in a lot of ways,” said Wallace’s 1968 campaign executive director Tom Turnipseed. “Both of them use a lot of the same kind of scare tactics and fear.”
“He appeals to the fear,” continued Turnipseed, who describes himself as a “reformed racist” (he became a civil rights lawyer and, at one point, sued the Ku Klux Klan). “That’s why he pushed the Mexican thing, and now he’s throwing the Chinese in there too. He uses that same kind of thing, that fear thing that Wallace did…. As far as the tactics they use, the scare thing, is a lot alike to be honest with you. The way they use the scare thing. In Trump’s thing it’s the Mexicans, the wetbacks that we used to call them, the Chinese too a little bit. Back in Wallace’s time it was African-American people.”
Turnipseed’s wife, Judy, who also worked for Wallace noted the similarity in his and Trump’s presentation.
“Their style is a lot alike,” she said. “They’re both very charismatic. Their rhetoric is really powerful, and they don’t really talk that much about solutions, but the fear and anxiety.”
Wallace ran his multiple failed campaigns for President by “galvanizing white, southern voters behind his opposition to integration and his attacks on Blacks.”