Historian Arthur Herman for National Review Online reminds us that there was a fourth candidate in the 1948 presidential election, the pro-Communist Henry Wallace, who ran as a “Progressive.” In my first blog about Trent Lott, I studiously avoided including Wallace in my list of candidates who were clearly better choices than Thurmond. Herman’s piece demonstrates what a dangerous candidate Wallace was. Wallace opposed the Berlin airlift and ran on a pro-Stalinist platform developed by the secret Communist, Lee Pressman. Herman’s piece also reminds us of the heroic role played by Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey in relation to both Thurmond and Wallace. Humphrey’s tough speech on civil rights at the 1948 Democratic convention helped cause Thurmond to walk out and form his own party. Humphrey’s tough stance against Communism led him and others to attempt to purge the Democratic Party of Wallace’s influence. But not with total success. Indeed, Herman notes that Wallace’s reputation among some Democrats remains high. For example, Wallace received high praise from prominent Democrats in 1999, when a room at the Department of Agriculture was dedicated to him. None of these Democrats was called to account for this, as Lott rightly has been for his comments in praise of Thurmond.
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