Wednesday, August 31, 2016

the last book I ever read (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson, excerpt ten)

from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 by Hunter S. Thompson:

George Wallace is one of the worst charlatans in politics, but there is no denying his talent for converting frustration into energy. What McGovern sensed in Florida, however—while Wallace was stomping him, along with all the others—was the possibility that Wallace appealed instinctively to a lot more people than would actually vote for him. He was stirring up more anger than he knew how to channel. The frustration was there, and it was easy enough to convert it—but what then? If Wallace had taken himself seriously as a presidential candidate—as a Democrat or anything else—he might have put together the kind of organization that would have made him a genuine threat in the primaries, instead of just a spoiler.

McGovern, on the other hand, had put together a fantastic organization—but until he went into Wisconsin he had never tried to tap the kind of energy that seemed to be flowing, perhaps by default, to Wallace. He had given it some thought while campaigning in New Hampshire, but it was only after he beat Muskie in two blue-collar, hardhat wards in the middle of Manchester that he saw the possibility of a really mind-bending coalition: a weird mix of peace freaks and hard-hats, farmers and film stars, along with urban blacks, rural Chicanos, the “youth vote” . . . a coalition that could elect almost anybody.

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