Sound and fury: In-Decisíon 2010, Desmadre 2012
I think I was wise not to make any predictions about this latest election. None of them… and all of them… are proving true. Signifying???
Violence depressed voter turnout?
This was a popular theme , but then again, voter turnout has been dropping for years, and this was a by-election. As it is, no one seems to remember that a good third to half of the electorate in the last Presidential election initially believed that either the candidate who was “selected” did so by fraud, or that the election itself was rigged, or that their votes were not counted… and have been turned off by the whole process.
Add too, and this is one I haven’t seen any comment on, is the VOTO NULO campaign… something all the “reformist” types were praising a few months back. Nor, for that matter, has anyone mentioned the Zapatista “other campaign” which rejects the whole idea of electoral democracy. And, frankly, in a lot of places the candidates sucked. People didn’t vote for all kinds of reasons.
A set-back for democracy?
I’ll give George Grayson credit for recognizing that the democratic opening in Mexico was stealing the 1988 election from Cuautémoc Cardenás, not Vincente Fox’s 2000 presidential victory, but Grayson goes off on a tangent, carping about state election commissions — somehow coming to the conclusion that a centralized elections commission is “democratic” and running state elections within the state are somehow a “set-back”. Besides being faulty logic, it’s faulty history. Returning power to the states was considered “democratic” under the Fox Administration (especially those states where PAN expected to do well) and it was the Fox Administration that did its best to politicize the Federal Elections Commission. I remember Martha Sahuguen’s strong-arm tactics in the State of Mexico (driving the state elections commissioner to attempt suicide!) — there’s nothing sacred about the Federal Elections Commission, nor was the Fox Administration a golden age of democratic elections.
I can’t find the link now, but one Mexican commentator though the assassination of a gubernatorial candidate in one state signaled the end of electoral politics. C’mon… candidates die — and sometimes are murdered — all over the globe during elections. The process goes one.
I would have thought the arrest of a candidate was more of a setback, as happened in Quintana Roo (which also depressed voter turnout, though — I suppose — you can call that a drug war effect).
PAN or Felipe Calderon or PRI or Enrique Peña Neito or AMLO won or lost.
This is the fun of spinning… but forgets that ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL. Sure, one can read tea leaves out of PRI’s defeat in Oaxaca and Puebla, but that’s forgetting that the locals just were pissed off at the incumbents and threw the bums out. The bums in Oaxaca were seen as murdering thugs, and the ones in Puebla as child molesters (and thugs). Whether that’s good or bad for Enrique Peña Neito’s presumed PRI presidential campaign in 2012 is impossible to say. All the yakkers seem to have a different spin on it.
Here in Sinaloa, the PAN-PRD-etc. candidate WAS a PRI politico, and… anyway… in Sinaloa, there are heavy-hitting anti-Calderón PANistas like Manuel Clouthier to consider. And, anyway, Sinoala has a history of inter-party fights leading to strange election results. Mazatlán — the second city in the state — elected a PT (Maoist) Presidente Municipal a few years back, mostly because a PRI heavy-weight got into a snit about some hotel development funds and threw his support (and illegal campaign contributions) to the Commies.
As it is, the PAN-PRD candidate in Sinaloa was running as an opponent to the Calderón drug war, and the PRI-Green candidate in favor of the Calderónist option. But, probably a bigger factor in voters minds was that the PAN-PRD-etc. guy was promising to end the state valuation tax on new (and slightly used) automobiles. Or maybe it was something else. Who knows.
I think the most relevant question is whether the PRI has peaked. There’s no question that it today remains the strongest single force in the nation, and Peña Nieto, for all his shortcomings, remains a more attractive candidate than anyone the PRD or the PAN is likely to nominate. But the party seems a lot more vulnerable today than it did after the elections a year ago. Furthermore, the loss in Oaxaca and the likelihood of another alliance in Mexico State next year suggest that Peña Nieto could well fail to hand over his post to another priísta, which the conventional wisdom says would doom his presidential chances. If that happens, we could be looking at a presidential race every bit as wide open as that of 2006.
Which means he’s coming around to my way of thinking… don’t count on a horse race until you know whose in the running. It’s way too early to predict a winner in 2012 (while Fox pioneered the long campaign, it hasn’t worked out that way for others. Santiago Creel was the odds-on PAN candidate in 2004, but in only six short years has become the Harold Stassen of Mexico).
And, although David Agren manages to get in his snark about AMLO (its his job… and he does it well), I wouldn’t count him out either.
It must also be said that any coalition success saves the jobs of PAN president César Nava and PRD president Jesús Ortega – and makes Andrés Manuel López Obrador look like a hypocrite as he has blasted the PRI as a great looming danger, but did his best to scuttle any anti-PRI alliances. (It’s suspected, though, AMLO’s tours through the “Usos y Costumbres” communities of Oaxaca might have paid dividends for the coalitions and the same network that got out the vote for him in Oaxaca in 2006 might have been revived. Many of AMLO’s people were also less intransigent than him and participated in the coalitions.)
It’s not only in the “usos y costumbres” communities where AMLO has a following, but in the alternative media and among the social networking sites as well. The “under the radar” campaign is a “long campaign” and AMLO was running on a party that only polls 20 percent tops in a good year when he probably won the presidency in 2006. Although, as Gancho notes, the PAN-PRD-Convergencia-PT coalitions made sense not in any ideological way (PAN being “confessional” and conservative, the others Social Democratic and post-Communist Marxists), but in the sense of pure, practical politics. PRI is, as it has been since its inception in 1946, a coalition of interest groups (much as both U.S. political parties are). AMLO’s success was also in building coalitions — often ideologically incongruous ones) and — while he’s “intransigent” today, that’s not where he may be in 2012. Assuming he’s going to run… which he may… or may not… against… somebody.
My predictions? I wouldn’t be surprised if Jefe Diego suddenly popped up again… though I’m not betting on that happening. Somebody will run in 2012, probably a lot of people, and somebody will win the presidency. And somebody else will say the fix was in. And the talking heads will come up with simple narratives seeking to explain it all. All more or less right, and all more or less wrong.