Former Alabama Governor George Wallace, the famed segregationist who once ran for president, was apparently Republican, according to GQ Magazine.
In a hilarious op-ed written by author Laura Bassett, Wallace was characterized as a Republican who initially supported abortion rights so that there would be fewer children for the government to support. Just one problem: George Wallace was a Democrat who never switched to become a Republican.
“Before Roe, Republicans and white evangelicals generally supported abortion rights, much in the way libertarians do now, because to them it meant fewer mothers and children dependent on the government for support,” author Laura Bassett wrote. “George Wallace, the longtime Republican governor of Alabama, four-time presidential candidate…”
After severe blowback and mockery online for the historically inaccurate description of Wallace, GQ updated the piece to clarify that he was a Democrat who later became “far-right” while going as far to compare him with President Trump.
“George Wallace, the longtime governor of Alabama, a Democrat who would later join the far-right American Independent Party, four-time presidential candidate, and outspoken segregationist who is often compared to Donald Trump, backed the legalization of abortion in the late 1960s because he claimed black women were ‘breeding children as a cash crop’ and taking advantage of social welfare programs,” the updated piece read, as reported by Fox News.
Conservatives on social media had a field day ripping Bassett’s attempt to whitewash the Democratic Party’s sins of racial injustice, which includes not only supporting racial segregation but also slavery and the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.
“This piece is hilariously awful,” Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro tweeted.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 21, 2020
“LOL at you thinking George Wallace was a Republican and making that the foundation of your entire stupid premise,” tweeted Federalist co-founder Sean Davis.
In response, Laura Bassett said that George Wallace’s actual political party was irrelevant to her piece. “Correcting that error but it’s not remotely the foundation of the piece. As I said, and as many others have noted, this was the strategy of Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, an evangelical and a conservative strategist,” she tweeted.
Correcting that error but it's not remotely the foundation of the piece. As I said, and as many others have noted, this was the strategy of Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, an evangelical and a conservative strategist.
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) May 21, 2020
“Even if this piece weren’t rife with errors and omissions — like, for instance, the fact that white supremacists and racists are actually notoriously pro-abortion — it says a lot that no one actually wants to talk about whether the pro-life case against abortion is correct,” tweeted Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review.
“I literally wrote in the piece that early segregationists supported abortion rights,” responded Bassett.
A historian even came to Bassett’s defense by arguing that Wallace would essentially be a Republican if he were around today.
“People are dunking on this but A) it’s an honest mistake and B) there’s an important point to be made here. My old professor used to say Wallace was a ‘transitional candidate.’ The first time many Southerners didn’t vote for a Democrat was when he ran as an independent,” tweeted Eric Michael Garcia.
People are dunking on this but a) it's an honest mistake and B) there's an important point to be made here. My old professor @ferrelg used to say Wallace was a "transitional candidate." The first time many Southerners didn't vote for a Democrat was when he ran as an independent. https://t.co/6GCmgKQgya
— Eric Michael Garcia (@EricMGarcia) May 21, 2020