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The can-openers.

17 April 2023

It used to be said that Mexico was a democracy… every day EXCEPT Election Day. From Calles in the 1920s to Ernesto Zedillo in the 1990s, even with changes in party label and ideology…the winner in the presidential election was a foregone conclusion… whomever the outgoing administration decided was their guy for the next administration. There was some suspense in trying to figure out who exactly the president, in the waning days of his administration would select.. the most likely being called “corchaladas”… can-openers… as in the CANdidate waiting to be”opened” by the president.

The 2000 election… although Vicente Fox was a terrible president… did mean a change in the system. Not that the PAN candidate’s ideology would be all that different from his PRI rival (or his PRI predecesor) but that he was unable to coronate his sucessor. Fox’s preferences were ignored, and… while his party continued to hold the presidency and the neo-liberal path, Felipe Calderón sold himself to the party faithful as an opponent of Fox and his backers.

Never mind that Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador … running on a coalition of his own Mexico City based PRD and a few smaller, leftist parties… probably won the election. Making the “error” of contesting the results, he was quickly written off by the pundit-class as a has-been. Perhaps, but AMLO tried again, with the same coalition (and the same results… a likely stolen election) in the 2012 election, this time with Calderon’s chosen sucessor rejected for what promised to be a “new” face, the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto.

Peña Nieto’s term was a disaster, but did accomplish one thing. It melded the rival mainstream parties into a broad neo-liberal coalition, which … in large part thanks to the President’s ineptitude and open corruption… left open the way for a broad front of the dissident, the dissatisfied, the disenfranchized: MORENA (National Movement for Regeneration) While it had been around, less as a party than as a “social movement” since 2011, after the 2012 election it registered as a party and by 2018 was the majority party, having united Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, the poor, union workers, environmentalists, Indigenous, Afro-Mexican and LGBTQ communities, “good government” types… and even some Evangelicals (although he professes to be Roman Cathoic, it’s well known that AMLO is rather abstentious, reads the Bible, and has attended Evangelical and Pentacostal services).

All of which… without going into the relative sucessess of his adminstration, has put AMLO back in the position of those presidents of the past whose chosen sucessor could be assumed to be the next president. Yes there is that opposition… though the PRI-PAN-PRD coalition (contempuously referred to as “PRIAND”) doesn’t seem to have any viable candidate, and the only other party outside the MORENA and friends (Workers Party and the Greens) … the Citizens’ Movement… at best could run a candidate simply to garner enough votes to qualify it to maintain its national registration.

So… who will AMLO choose? He claims no one… that it will be decided by polling the party members. If so, and given the four most likely … and all but officially declared candidates for MORENA’s nomination, we may already have the answer:

None of these candidates have quite the pizazzz as AMLO, and his “coattails” only go so far… absent the entire opposition able to field a single viable candidate. and able to capitalize on anti-Semitism, sexism, and (not to be discounted) US interferance (my sense is that IF the US accepts that MORENA is the only real choice, they’d rather have Ebrard, the present foreign minister, being more used to his style, and just more familiar with him)… then maybe it’s time to get used to Presidenta Sheinbaum:

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