Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Wallace, Trump, and Violence

In Defying the Odds, we trace Trump's outsiderism to earlier figures.   The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  In the book, we write of an important precursor:
In 1968, former Alabama governor George Wallace carried several Southern states under the banner of the American Independent Party.  A few years earlier, he had literally stood in the schoolhouse door as federal officials arrived to integrate the University of Alabama. Now he was running as a fighter for the little guy, attacking the “pseudo-intellectuals and the theoreticians and some professors and some newspaper editors and some judges and some preachers” who looked down on “the pipe-fitter, the communications worker, the fireman, the policeman, the barber, the white-collar worker.”   Wallace boasted that he would run over demonstrators who tried to lie down in front of his car.  Though he never did any such thing, his supporters cheered the threat.  Columnist David Broder wrote: “When Wallace has finished his harangue, the emotion is closer to that of a lynch mob -- a pack of angry, frustrated men and women, who see his cause, not just as a chance for victory but as a guarantee of vengeance against all who have affronted them for so long.” 
Kevin Kruse at NYT:
This leads us to the significant difference between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Trump. Mr. Wallace’s targets were, for the most part, presented in the abstract. Though he denounced broad categories of generic enemies — “agitators,” “anarchists” and “communists” — he rarely went after an individual by name.
Mr. Trump, in pointed contrast, has used his rallies to single out specific enemies. During the 2016 campaign, he demonized his political opponents in the primaries and the general election, and also denounced private individuals, from Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News anchor, to the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and the federal judge Gonzalo Curiel.
At recent rallies, he has targeted four Democratic House members who have criticized him and his administration — Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.
Participants at Mr. Trump’s rallies have been moved to attack individuals he’s singled out. For most rally participants, the attacks have been confined to ominous but nevertheless nonviolent chants — from the 2016 cries of “Lock her up!” to the recent refrain of “Send her back!” But a handful have gone further, targeting the individuals named by the president with death threats and even attempts at violence.

Now he is going further, saying that black political leaders are racist: