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Political coloration

7 March 2010

About a week ago, the Mex Files started receiving an unusual number of hits from New Zealand — one or two a day being about the norm, eight was unusual.  Curious what set off the exponential explosion of Kiwis, I looked up the site where the automatic link came from, Home Paddock:  “news and views from a rural perspective, with a blue tint, that might also include musings on other matters which interest, entertain, amuse or irritate me”.

We both share a minor interest (or find entertaining, amusing or irritating)  in the most recent dust-up between Great Britain and Argentina over the Malvinas/Falklands, but — from our differing political and geographical positions, are adding our own “color commentary” to our posts.

As Home Paddock’s writer, Ele Ludermann, kindly explained,  that  “blue tint” refers to Ele’s role as a regional chair of the National Party, the more conservative of New Zealand’s two major parties.   For some reason, blue in the United States refers to the less conservative of the two main (and, for all practical purposes, only) political parties.  The blueness of the Democratic Party may have to do with a fear of being even slightly considered left-wing.  Usually it’s the Communists that are the “reds”, but in the upside down world of U.S. politics the “reds” are the conservatives — a website on the extreme right (which would be the Fascists — “black” in normal countries)  calling itself “Red State”.  And, anyway, in any other country, the Democratic Party probably would be the conservative party.

In New Zealand, as with the rest of the planet, the conservatives are blue.  Mexican politics, like Mexico, is relatively normal — just a bit more colorful.

Our conservatives aren’t just “blue”, they’re the “white and blues” in the press:  albiazules.  Incidentally, the blue in the white-and-blue is dark blue. PAN originally had a blue-green logo, but that’s the color of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s robes, and was a little too close to using religious symbolism in politics to pass muster by electoral officials.

The largest party, PRI, supposedly socialist (at least a member party of Socialist International), but more just the mainstream party (or the perpetual ruling party, as many say) uses the national colors, but “green-white-red” is a mouthful, so they’re just the tricolores in headlines (confusing, since we also refer to the national futbol team that way.

The “leftiest” of the major parties, PRD, is NOT red, or even pink (although it incorporated several parties that used to run under the “rose” coalition) are the “yellows” — amarillistas.  Or, because the party logo is a black Aztec sun symbol on a yellow background, the solaztecas.

Of course, there are also Reds (PT, the Workers’ Party) and the Greens.  And, if the color palette isn’t full enough, Convergencia is the orange party (maybe because they do relatively well in the fruit-growing regions).  The other minor national parties, PANAL (New Alliance party), is usually a PAN ally, and perhaps they can be the baby blues, but so far, no one’s come up with a colorful nickname for them.

We have a crayola box full of political choices, which is where the fun begins…

The Greens have never made any secret of being allied with Tricolor… but green already is one of the three colors, so nothing clashes there.  And PANAL (Nueva Alianza) is just a whiter shade of blue, so working with the white-and-blue PAN seems natural.  The yellows, reds and oranges are all found on the same side of your crayola box, and on the left side of the political spectrum, so everything is logical (and color coordinated) so far.

But, on the one hand there’s a reform the legislature, which — like New Zealand’s — includes district seats and party seats selected by proportional representation.  The reforms would limit or eliminate the proportional seats, raising the threshold for minor party participation.  That  would somewhat return Mexico to the situation it was in for many years where a single party (PRI) dominated all political positions, and within the Party, only a handful of leaders controlled the agenda.  While there is, as in most countries, a “political class” that controls the parties, at least with minority parties and a multi-party system, there are alternatives for the voters.

And, make the political landscape much less colorful.  In the meantime, both because the minor parties are desperate to gain support, and because both the albiazules and the amarillistas have been wracked by internal dissentions and did poorly against the tricolores in the 2006 elections, we’re getting some very weird color combinations.

In several states, the tricolor overwhelms — or is expected to overwhelm — everyone else.  So, in Oaxaca, a former tricolor, now an orange is running as a blue-and-white-and-yellow-and-red-and-orange.  Here in Sinaloa, a dissident tricolor wants to be blue-and-white, but will be the official candidate of the yellows, also running as a blue-and-white-and-yellow-and-red-and-orange.  In other states, the baby-blues are trying to somehow not clash with the green-white-reds, while a new scandal has erupted with the resignation of Secretarío de Gobernacion, Fernando Gómez-Mont Urueta from the blue-and-white team over its decision to play nice with the yellow-red-oranges… and, in the process, revealing the secret agreement between the green-white-reds to cooperate with the blue-and-whites in return for a not competing against each other in several state elections.

It’s been said that our political leaders act like a bunch of kindergarteners.  They haven’t mastered coloring within the lines!

Mexican political theory

5 Comments leave one →
  1. coyoteville permalink
    7 March 2010 11:34 am

    The Democratic party in the US is “blue” because of the aftermath of the “election” in 2000. Before then, the TV networks used to alternate the parties between red and blue (look for coverage of the 1996 election to see the switch) but, since we spent weeks and weeks on the Florida recount, with the Republicans being blue and the Democrats being red, the colors remained fixed after that.

  2. 7 March 2010 11:46 am

    Of course, here in Honduras the two main parties are the Azules- the blues, the National Party – and the colorados – the reds, the Liberal Party.

  3. Charles Downes permalink
    7 March 2010 2:01 pm

    You are confusing me Coyoteville.

  4. coyoteville permalink
    8 March 2010 12:12 pm

    Charles Downs,

    I’ll try again and hope that I’m clearer. Before 2000, the networks used to alternate which party was blue and which was red. However, in late 2000, we spent weeks and weeks with the Dems. as blue and the Repubs. as red until the Supreme Court decided the election. Ever since then the colors haven’t changed.

    Does that help?


  1. Political coloration « The Mex Files | Headlines Today

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