In lockstep with CNN’s Douglas Brinkley, Politico’s Ben Schreckinger links Donald Trump’s rally in Mobile, Alabama to segregationist George Wallace.
MOBILE, Ala. — It was immigration, not segregation, that brought some 20,000 southerners — far fewer than predicted — out for Donald Trump on Friday night, but the ghost of George Wallace loomed large.
Wallace, an avowed segregationist, was the last presidential candidate to win electoral votes as a third-party candidate. The threat of Trump doing so, propelled by a hardline immigration stance that many have condemned as racist, looms over the Republican Party now as it did over the Democratic Party then, even as the enthusiasm of his following, for once, fell far short of expectations.
Wallace carried five Southern states, and Trump, who is leading early national polls in the race for the Republican nomination, touted his leads in Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.
There were also vestiges of Wallace’s Alabama, including on the sample editions of “The First Freedom” newspaper one man handed out to drivers as they entered the parking lot. The paper’s front page included a story about “black-on-white crime in South Carolina” and an editor’s note about German media’s silence about “the actual programs these peaceful ‘neo-nazis’ stand for.”
The vast majority of supporters where white: of over 1,000 people waiting to enter on the east of the Ladd Peebles Stadium at 5 p.m., eight were black.
A black pastor opened the rally with an invocation, asking, “What if we could replace hate with love?” He was followed by an all-black middle school student council that led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
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