The Spoiler Third-party Candidate For President In 1968 Was

Title: The Spoiler Third-Party Candidate for President in 1968 Was: 7 Interesting Facts


The 1968 U.S. presidential election was a turning point in American history, marked by political unrest, social upheaval, and the emergence of an unexpected spoiler third-party candidate. In the midst of this tumultuous time, a relatively unknown politician rose to prominence, forever altering the course of American politics. Let’s delve into seven intriguing facts about this candidate and their impact on the election.

1. The Candidate: George Wallace

George Wallace, the former Governor of Alabama, emerged as the spoiler candidate in the 1968 presidential race. He represented the American Independent Party (AIP), a conservative third-party that sought to challenge the major parties’ status quo.

2. Segregationist Stance

Wallace was known for his staunch segregationist stance, a viewpoint that drew support from white voters in the South who opposed the Civil Rights Movement. His campaign centered around preserving racial segregation and states’ rights, appealing to those who resisted the federal government’s intervention in their state’s affairs.

3. Independent Electoral Success

George Wallace’s candidacy attracted significant support, primarily from Southern states. He won five states in the general election, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and amassed an impressive 46 electoral votes.

4. Impact on the Election

Wallace’s presence in the race had a profound impact on the outcome of the election. His popularity divided the conservative vote, drawing support away from the Republican candidate, Richard Nixon. This allowed the Democratic nominee, Hubert Humphrey, to come closer to victory, but ultimately resulted in Nixon securing the presidency.

5. Campaign Violence

During his campaign, Wallace faced numerous incidents of violence, reflecting the intense emotions surrounding the racial tensions of the time. In May 1972, while campaigning in Maryland, Wallace was shot and paralyzed from the waist down, ending his political career.

6. The Wallace Phenomenon

Wallace’s candidacy tapped into a deep sense of frustration and anger among certain sections of the American population. His populist rhetoric and promises to restore law and order resonated with working-class voters who felt marginalized by the political establishment.

7. Influence on Future Elections

The 1968 election marked a significant turning point in American politics. Wallace’s candidacy highlighted the power of third-party candidates and their potential to disrupt the electoral landscape. This influence would be felt in subsequent elections, with third-party candidates often playing a critical role in shaping political dynamics.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. Was George Wallace a member of a major political party?

No, George Wallace represented the American Independent Party (AIP), a conservative third-party.

2. How many states did George Wallace win in the 1968 election?

George Wallace won five states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

3. Did Wallace’s campaign focus solely on segregation?

While Wallace was known for his segregationist stance, his campaign also emphasized states’ rights and opposition to federal government intervention.

4. How did George Wallace’s candidacy impact the 1968 election?

Wallace’s presence in the race divided the conservative vote, ultimately benefiting Richard Nixon and ensuring his victory over Hubert Humphrey.

5. Did George Wallace face any violence during his campaign?

Yes, Wallace faced several incidents of violence, culminating in an assassination attempt in 1972 that left him paralyzed.

6. What was the significance of Wallace’s campaign in American politics?

Wallace’s candidacy highlighted the potential of third-party candidates to disrupt the political landscape, setting a precedent for future elections.

7. Did Wallace’s campaign have a lasting impact on racial politics?

Wallace’s campaign reflected the deep racial tensions of the era and highlighted the resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, but its lasting impact on racial politics is debatable.

8. Did George Wallace run for president in subsequent elections?

Yes, George Wallace ran for president again in 1972 but faced numerous challenges, including the assassination attempt, that hindered his campaign.

9. How did George Wallace’s campaign resonate with voters?

Wallace’s populist rhetoric and promises to restore law and order appealed to working-class voters who felt marginalized by the political establishment.

10. Did George Wallace ever hold national office?

No, George Wallace never held national office but served as Governor of Alabama for four non-consecutive terms.

11. Did George Wallace’s campaign influence future third-party candidates?

Yes, Wallace’s campaign demonstrated the potential impact of third-party candidates, inspiring future contenders to challenge the two-party system.

12. How did George Wallace’s campaign affect the Civil Rights Movement?

Wallace’s campaign represented a resistance to the Civil Rights Movement, but over time, the movement’s progress prevailed, leading to significant advancements in racial equality.

13. Did George Wallace’s campaign contribute to political polarization?

Yes, Wallace’s campaign exacerbated the existing political polarization by tapping into deep-seated frustrations and divisions within American society.

14. Has there been another spoiler third-party candidate since George Wallace?

There have been several spoiler third-party candidates in subsequent elections, with Ross Perot in 1992 being one of the most notable examples.


George Wallace’s candidacy as a third-party spoiler in the 1968 presidential election was a pivotal moment in American politics. His segregationist agenda and populist appeal left an indelible mark on the nation’s political landscape. While Wallace’s campaign ultimately fell short of securing the presidency, his impact on the election and subsequent political dynamics cannot be understated. The lessons learned from his candidacy continue to shape U.S. elections, reminding us of the power of third-party candidates and the importance of understanding the diverse perspectives that influence American politics.

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