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Mexico’s real election is for Congress

2 June 2018

Noel Mauer’s “The Power and the Money” looks at the likelihood of a leftist Congressional majority (read it in full, then come back):

The AMLO three-party alliance will almost certainly win the house and has a one-third chance of winning the Senate. But it is exceedingly unlikely to win a supermajority.

Does that mean that we can forget about left-wing control of Congress?

No, because AMLO can win support from outside his formal coalition.

Mexican party alliances are purely transactional. Consider AMLO’s alliance. It includes the Social Encounter Party, a reactionary beast opposed to abortion and marriage equality. These are not AMLO’s positions, although he can be squishy. But Social Encounter is happy to turn left on economics because it will win more seats as part of the coalition. AMLO, in turn, will win low-information voters who might have otherwise voted PAN. In other words, the coalition is transactional, not ideological.

The main opposition alliance is equally transactional, marrying the conservative PAN to the social democratic PRD and Citizen’s Movement. Once AMLO wins, there is nothing stopping PRD and Citizen’s Movement legislators from voting for AMLO’s legislation should they so choose.

Will AMLO be able to cobble together a supermajority with support from the other left parties?

Will AMLO be able to cobble together a supermajority? Probably not, although, as has been suggested to me before, some PRI Deputies are likely to defect to the Morena coalition not only because they want to remain politically relevant, but because at least a good part of the PRI has never been comfortable with the change from an authoritarian and paternalistic leftist party to an authoritarian neo-liberal one. Social Encounter is more interested in social issues (or rather in halting reforms in areas like abortion and LGBTTI rights) and less interest in economic issues… upholding “traditional values” like US Conservatives, but with the difference that Mexican traditional values are more communitarian than individualistic. In other words, Social Encounter is likely to back PAN on social issues, but the left in economic ones (that, some would argue, ARE social issues). And, of course, within the Morena family, there are a significant number of “grillos” (politicians that shift their party allegiance depending on what way the wind is blowing), looking out for their own personal interests.

I would expect any major legislation to be the result of compromise, not satisfying everyone, but peeling away enough from whatever opposition that eventually forms, from blocs within the (vaguely and formerly leftist) PRD, as well as some PAN legislators: PAN, like Social Encounter, supposedly being more attuned to preserving tradition than preserving economic models.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 3 June 2018 2:47 pm

    I continue to enjoy your election coverage.


    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where primaries for Congress and a host of local elections take place in the coming week.

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