|George Wallace was the most complex politician the white south produced until Bill Clinton came onto the scene. They shared a reformers zeal, working class backgrounds, populism, the Southern Baptist Church, a sure footedness on race politics, and ambitious wives. And they both had blazing ambitions to be national figures.
In 1970, Wallace's wife, Lurleen, was Governor of Alabama. She had been placed there by George who couldn't succeed himself as Governor. In less than a year, Wallace, who won the Governor's race, would be a cripple, the victim of an assassination attempt as he campaigned in Maryland for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Wallace had already polled very heavily in primaries throughout the United States, especially the upper midwest.
In 1976 Jimmy Carter, who shared Wallace's Southern Baptist faith, grabbed the Presidency with the help of southern electors.
In 1992 Bill Clinton achieved his ambition.
Rally for George Wallace in the Alabama Governor's race, Arab, Alabama © D. Gorton 1970