There are some ghostly similarities, Michael Winship writes, between the American election of 1968 and this year's election. 1968 was the year that Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. It was the year there were riots in the streets of Chicago during the Democratic convention. And it marked the ascension of Richard Nixon at the Republican convention. It was also the year that George Wallace ran as a third party candidate.
New York Times columnist Russell Baker described Wallace's campaign:
Wallace’s crude animal reaction to the complexities of American society found a sympathetic hearing that summer among millions baffled by the speed at which the future was hurtling upon them and frustrated by their individual impotence against the tyranny of vast computerized organizations spreading through American life. With his snake-oil miracle cures, Wallace satisfied a deep public yearning to be deluded with promises of easy solutions.
Wallace's daughter recently pulled no punches when she compared Donald Trump to her father:
George Wallace’s own daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, recently told National Public Radio that both men have played to our basest instincts. “Trump and my father say out loud what people are thinking but don’t have the courage to say,” she said. “They both were able to adopt the notion that fear and hate are the two greatest motivators of voters that feel alienated from government.”
Winship reminds his readers of Mark Twain's notion of history. "History," Twain wrote, "doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
However, it takes more than rhyme to make poetry.