Her father was one of the most polarizing figures in American politics in the 960s. And now, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, daughter to former segregationist Gov. George Wallace, says she’s seeing a lot of what was witnessed back then in today’s politics.
Speaking to a group of educators in her home state last week, Wallace Kennedy made clear that her father’s dangerous rhetoric and campaign style is making an unwanted comeback. She urged a different direction.
“We cannot go backward. We have to go forward,” she said, per reporting from AL.com.
She also recalled that the current president’s tactics are eerily familiar, though she never actually mentioned President Donald Trump by name in her warnings.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. I saw daddy a lot in 2016,” Wallace Kennedy said.
It’s hard to imagine who else she may be talking about, however: Trump’s and Wallace’s styles are very much the same, Wallace Kennedy suggested. “The two greatest motivators at (Dad’s) rallies were fear and hate. There was no policy solution, just white middle-class anger,” she explained.
— Kyle Whitmire (@WarOnDumb) July 31, 2019
Much of George Wallace’s presidential campaign relied upon stoking racial hatred in the south and elsewhere, as the governor was a staunch proponent of keeping segregation intact.
It’s possible that many from that era see similarities, too, between Trump and Wallace, especially in light of the former’s statements over the past week.
Trump has seemingly sowed divisions based on race due to his attacks against four congresswomen of color who have opposed his administration’s policies and actions. Trump told those women in a tweet two Sundays ago to “go back” to their countries of origin, a racist trope in the United States for centuries, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com.
Trump also last weekend made attacks against House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings, calling his mostly-black congressional district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live,” per reporting from Newsweek.
Trump has defended his comments, arguing they aren’t racist. Fifty-one percent of respondents in a Quinnipiac University poll believe that the president is, in fact, a racist — a number that is higher than Wallace’s ratings as he ran for president, when Americans were asked the same question about him in September 1968, CNN reported. Back then, just 41 percent said Wallace was a racist.