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Rarely pure and never simple: Part II

11 March 2012

In Part I, I speculated that Maquito Jr.s entry into the Presidential race (or the enthusiasm for his candidacy shown by unusual sources like Cronica del Hoy) might be prompted by growing concern among the political class that López Obrador is starting to win over the business class… not that they will, as a group, support him, but that they won’t oppose him.

Given that in 2006, in a five candidate race, he captured a third of the vote (or possibly a little bit more), despite high negatives from the business community, this is extremely important. López Obrador was always going to have high negatives with a faction of the voters. Anthing that reduces the negatives before the opening bell of the campaign season is all to the good for him, especially if (as I expect) support for Peña Nieto starts to plummet once the PRI candidate starts actually having to present himself to voters.

Working with a coalition (and all the major parties are, more or less, coalitions of competing interests), the organization, MoReNa is going to have to make strategic choices. PAN’s choice of a “piety wing” candidate may have cost them some pragmatists (especially if Manuel Clouthier Carrillo is allowed to run), and Peña Nieto’s transparent bid for clerical support will eat into the traditional PRI anti-clerical votes.

Not how elections are won.

López Obrador, being — like Barack Obama in the United States — not the perfect choice, but the better choice for the left of center, may have to jettison or disappoint some of his party purists if he is to garner enough support from the middle to win election.  The PRD candidate, is the candidate of the disunited left, and … perhaps  the only alternative for those who reject  politics as usual, but haven’t given up on electoral politics.

Although a traditional pol, he’s always enjoyed major support from the fringe — but, with both a voter abstention campaign AND traditional rivals to deal with, a move towards the center (if only rhetorically… I think he’s always been a pragmatic leftist rather than an ideologue) and concentrate on traditional ballot-box oriented citizens if he is to win (and he could) this election. That requires some messy compromises.

Aguachile, who makes the PRD his academic specialty (and skewering AMLO his hobby) is appalled that the “AMLOistas” are supporting the very guy who made PRD necessary in the first place:

PRD was founded on the back of the July 6, 1988 fraud. One man greatly responsible for the election outcome was Interior Secretary Manuel Bartlett, who then also doubled as head of the commission organizing the election (if there ever was a fitting fox-guarding-the-hen house analogy, that’s the one). Now, however, in an irony of ironies – I really don’t know how to express this – AMLO’s Morena movement is putting forth Bartlett to head its senator formula from Puebla. That’s right. The man responsible for the 1988 fraud that soon gave birth to the PRD, will now run as its candidate.

That was then, this is now. All true what Aguachile says about Bartlett, but AMLO defends Bartlett’s candidacy for the Senate on a MoReNa ticket (even if Bartlett himself remains a PRI member) on the basis of his continued defense of PEMEX as a national institution.

And, you have to remember that in 2006, Bartlett backed AMLO over his own party’s hapless Roberto Madrazo. I don’t see this really costing AMLO all that many votes, even among the far left, given that for the far left preventing foreign infiltration of the state oil company is more in line with their ideology than a theoretical concern for the history of party politics.

And, for a lot of the near left, the center, and even some on the right, a defense of the nation’s control of natural resources isn’t seen as a bad thing at all. Bartlett, while widely despised as one of the more wily and devious of PRI pols, is admired for the same skill-set.

López Obrador may be running a campaign based on Love and Respect, but Obama ran one on Hope and Change… which are lofty and worthwhile goals, but getting there sometimes is messy and dirty and nasty work.

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