Loony Latino politics

I’VE VOTED IN every Mexican presidential election since I became a citizen in 2005. The first election after that was in 2006. The presidential elections happen every six years, so I’ve only voted in two so far.

Another is coming this summer.

In 2006, things were pretty clear-cut. There were three major parties: PAN (National Action Party, right-wing), PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution, left-wing) and the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party, self-serving).

The PRI came into existence in 1929 and rigged elections to keep its presidents in power till the system failed in 2000 and the loudmouth Vicente Fox (PAN) was elected. Following him in 2006 was Felipe Calderón (PAN) and in 2012 we got Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI again). I voted for both Calderón and Peña Nieto.

So I’m batting 1,000.

I’m thinking Mexicans, after electing two PAN presidents and not seeing manna falling from heaven, decided to give PRI another chance, a chance most have regretted. I saw a poll recently in which about 65 percent of all Mexicans said they would never, ever vote for a PRI candidate again, and I cannot blame them.

During this back and forth between PRI and PAN has been the phenomenon of a nincompoop named Andrés Manuel López Obrador who goes by the initials AMLO. He almost won in 2006 and again in 2012 as the candidate of the PRD.

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AMLO

In 2006, AMLO lost by just 0.58 percent of the vote. He’s not a good loser, so he caused lots of demonstrations, especially in Mexico City, for a fair spell after the election. He roamed the nation, calling himself the “legitimate president.”

The bozo ran again in 2012 as the candidate of a political coalition headed by the PRD. After losing again, he and the PRD parted ways, and two years later he formed his own party, the National Regeneration Movement which goes by the initials MORENA, a flagrantly racist come-on.

Morena or its masculine form, Moreno, is Spanish for brown-skinned person, and since 90 percent of Mexicans are brown-skinned people, the none-too-subtle message here is “We are your party!” Forget the issues, vote your skin color.

Yes, American thinking has moved over the Rio Bravo. Just freaking great. Ironically, AMLO is not moreno. He’s just another of those old white guys.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. — H.L. Mencken

After Mexicans voted twice for the PAN and not seeing manna fall from heaven, and then returning to the Devil They Knew, and seeing general corruption get even worse than normal, and that’s saying something, they’re ready for a change.

MORENA is that change, and AMLO currently leads in the polls. Unfortunately, the Mexican system does not require a majority of the votes to be president. You just have to get more votes than any other guy. You can become president with, say, 35 percent of the vote, with 65 percent wishing you’d take a hike.

There are no runoffs of the two top candidates. This is dumb, of course.

AMLO has opposed most every national reform of recent years. Education, Energy, Law. He doesn’t like gas stations from other countries here. He’s one with troublesome teacher unions. He’s a man of “the people,” if you know what I mean.

To quote H.L. Mencken: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

* * * *

Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns

Campaigns to get people registered to vote and to inspire them to vote because it’s their civic responsibility … Lord, what a lousy idea.

We’re seeing a lot of that here.

People who must be pushed to vote should not vote because they lack information and are easily manipulated. Not only should people not be encouraged to vote, the right to vote should be restricted in a number of ways. Universal suffrage is an insufferable notion.

By the way, we have voter-ID cards. No card, no vote. And absolutely no one thinks that getting one is an outrageous imposition.

* * * *

I just wanna license to steal job!

Over the past few years in Mexico, a disturbing trend has emerged. Coalitions of political parties. Back in the olden days, if someone was, say, a PAN candidate you could, with some degree of certainty, know that person was a conservative. If someone was a candidate of the Workers Party (read communist), you could pretty much be assured the person was a nincompoop.

Now, however, there are coalitions of parties that put up a single candidate, and the coalition can include both the conservative PAN and the left-wing PRD, even the commie Workers Party (PT). This is ridiculous.

I read a news story recently of a woman candidate who has been on the ticket of all the major parties and most of the fringe parties as well. She is now a candidate for MORENA, of course. What does she believe in? Getting a political post, and nothing more. It can be a cash cow. (See note at bottom.)

* * * *

Election day

We will vote for our next president on July 1. AMLO likely will be ahead in the polls. My vote will go to whomever is No. 2. Alas, there are five candidates on the ballot, and AMLO only has to win more than any one of the others.

With two candidates, he would lose. Five presents a problem. Three of the five are affiliated with major parties. Two are independents. This race is the first time that independents have been allowed to run.

If AMLO loses again, he might become Mexico’s Hillary, touring the nation and world to weep, moan, groan and say it’s just not fair. He’ll blame his loss on deplorable, uneducated peons (Mexican rednecks) who should have known better, and women who couldn’t stand up to their husbands.

With luck, my perfect batting average in elections here will continue.

Let us pray so.

* * * *

(Note 1: AMLO is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Together We Will Make History.” It includes MORENA, the Workers Party, i.e. communists, and something called the Social Encounter Party. Ricardo Anaya, currently No. 2 in the polling, is the candidate of a coalition known as the “Front for Mexico,” which includes the right-wing PAN, the left-wing PRD and a party called the Citizen Movement. José Antonio Meade is the candidate of a coalition called “Everyone for Mexico.” It is made up of the PRI, the Greens, which is a right-wing party in Mexico (Go figger!) and a fringe party called the New Alliance. All of this is pure nuts.)

(Note 2: Candidates in Mexico are legally restricted to three months of campaigning. It started this month. Contrast that to the United States where people can kick off campaigns, officially or not, years in advance. I prefer our system.)

30 thoughts on “Loony Latino politics

  1. Felipe,

    I’m seeing a lot of PAN banners hanging from houses here in my neck of the woods. Didn’t know anything about Mexican political parties before your post. Thanks for educating me.

    Regards,
    Troy

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    1. PS: Actually, the best of the running bunch is Meade. No hint of corruption surrounds him (unlike Anaya, the PAN candidate). Alas, he’s the PRI candidate, although a relatively new arrival to PRI. Before, he was a PANista.

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    1. Patzman: It’s calming a bit to remember he was mayor of Mexico City, and it did not turn into Hanoi. Actually, he did some pretty good things there. Also, just one term allowed, plus the senators and deputies will provide, one hopes, some braking on him.

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  2. Interesting stuff to us old Gringos NOB. You have undoubtedly described in accurate terms the political situation you live in. And a pretty entertaining story it is.

    As you know, we have the Gringo version(s) up here. I was once hopeful that our Republic might survive another 200 years, not so much now, looking at the last 50 years.

    I could be wrong, but I won’t be here to see the last part of it. As my old pappy used to say, “Who would want to live forever?” He only made it to 98.

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    1. Ricardo: In my opinion, the political and social problems (related, of course) that you have up there are considerably worse than what we have down here. And yes, there are some advantages to being old coots. Other, younger, people will face the abysmal consequences. We’ll be pushing up daisies.

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  3. Thinking about it, if all the expatriate Mexicans living in the U.S. could and would vote in the next election, they could form a formidable bloc for change. But, that is not going to happen. Their eyes are focused elsewhere.

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      1. Yes, but would they bother to? In the US, the Democrats see them as a real potential source of power. They think the illegals could be herded to the polls like sheep. I think they are wrong. Not everyone in this world will sell their freedom for a few social welfare benefits. Take those food stamps and shove them.

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        1. Señor Gill: Lots likely would not bother to vote in Mexican elections, but I think your Democrats will do whatever they can to get them registered, legally or not, to vote in U.S. elections. They already do that. And I doubt many will want to take food stamps and shove them. Most would rather get those food stamps and use them.

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      2. Felipe, I was going to ask if dual citizens could vote in both countries, or if some kind of residency is required. To me, a residency requirement makes more sense, since a resident is going to be subject to the consequences of the election. Also, contra to what some of the comments here seem to be saying, noncitizens, legal or otherwise, can’t register to vote in my state, or any other state I’m aware of.

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        1. Creigh: While, I imagine, it’s illegal to vote in most — possibly all — states, if you’re not a citizen, in practice it appears to be different in some places. At times only a drivers’ license is needed to register, and nowadays a number of states — California is one, if memory serves — are knowingly giving DLs to illegals. With the DL alone, you’re in like Flynn. I have also read that some states do ask if one is a citizen on the registration form, but they do not require any proof. You only have to check yes, and that’s it. You get to vote. I have no doubt whatsoever that illegals are voting in the United States. To what extent, who knows? But I’d bet that it’s significant, especially in California.

          As for voting in Mexico and the United States, I do both legally. U.S. citizens outside the country can vote absentee rather easily. And since I’m a Mexican citizen too, I vote here just like any other Mexican. Mexican citizens in the U.S., there legally or not, can vote in Mexican elections absentee too. I think that latter is a relatively new development.

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          1. (I’m assuming you vote in Texas, based on nothing more than a bit of history.) Texas requires that you be a resident of the county you’re registered in. Since you’re not, isn’t that voter fraud?

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            1. Creigh: Texas is correct. Harris County to be specific. All that is required to vote from afar is to let them know my last voting address in Houston, which I did. They send me what I need to cast my vote. It’s totally legal. I am still an upstanding — though severely disappointed — citizen of the United States.

              They dang well better let me vote. They want to tax any earnings I make in Mexico. The United States is the ONLY nation in the world that taxes money its citizens earn out of the country when they live out of the country. That is to say if I live in Mexico and have a business here, the United States thinks it deserves a cut of that business’s profits for no other reason than I’m a U.S. citizen still. It’s beyond absurd, which is the reason not one other nation does such a thing. I don’t have a business here, and I don’t earn money here, but it’s the principle involved.

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            2. P.S. Creigh: By voting from afar, I mean from out of the United States. Of course, anyone who simply moved to another state would not be eligible to vote in Texas. That person would have to vote in his new state. But when you move out of the country, different rules apply. I imagine this crops up most frequently with military personnel stationed overseas. Bottom line is that moving out of the country does not cancel your right to vote. One might make an argument that it should. I might even make that argument, but the rules are what they are.

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                1. Creigh: I pay taxes on my pensions from the United States and other things from the U.S. That makes sense. The other does not. The fact that the U.S. is the sole nation to do it says a lot.

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  4. I’ve seen how elections play out in Quintana Roo. You make all kinds of impossible promises and hand out free T-shirts, much the same as up here, minus the T-shirts. Ten years ago a brand-new hospital was promised, and that was enough to get the candidate elected. As of today the structure is built, but millions of dollars went missing, and the hospital has no doctors, no ER, no equipment and no medications. It has been nicknamed the “Hospital of Death.”

    Anyway, I have not been so lucky with my voting history. No one I have ever voted for has ever been elected. Good luck with your perfect voting record.

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    1. Brent: This is a Canadian hospital of which you speak? Jeez, have you guys imported that many Mexicans into your country?

      As for your never having voted for a winner, do you always vote for fringe candidates? That is very strange unless you have rarely voted. I confess that I cast my first vote at the age of 40. Before that, I was focused on other things, like babes and booze.

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      1. No. That was a hospital in Quintana. Roo. We’re not that bad up north although we now have a pathetic excuse for a PM right now.

        I used to vote with my conscience when I was young and naive. Now I vote strategically, but that hasn’t worked out well either. If I’d been an American I would’ve voted for Trump. I just found out my birth father was an American, so you’d think I’d be eligible to vote there especially with all the illegals voting. But I wouldn’t. A friend of mine who never votes gives this reason: “Don’t vote. It only encourages the bstds.”

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        1. Brent: Okay, that makes more sense. Such shenanigans are not rare down here. Sad. And yes, your prime minister should be an embarrassment to all clear-thinking Canucks. He is a nincompoop.

          Your friend who never votes, if he/she is intelligent, and being your friend, I imagine so, is not doing the right thing. If smart folks do not vote, that just helps the lamebrains get into positions of political power. Pay him/her no mind. Vote.

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          1. I’m hoping that Trudeau will be a one-term failed experiment, but it’s hard to tell.

            As for my friend, he’s an intelligent guy but comes from Doukhobor stock and has a penchant for destroying things. He used to set $5 bills on fire even though he lives as a pauper. He also used to throw handfuls of coins into the garden claiming that was going to be his pension. A good friend but a quirky one!

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            1. Brent: Yeah, and I hoped Weepy Barry Obama would be a one-term failed experiment. Alas, he was a two-term failed experiment.

              I had to look up Doukhobors. Never heard of them before. Both they and your amigo seem to be a bit beyond merely quirky.

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  5. It’s no surprise to those who know me that my vote’s going to Meade. But if AMLO wins, it’s not going to be the end of the world. He was the one who invited Rudy Guiliani to CDMX to fix its safety problems, he’s proposing a lot of what was proposed during the regimes of de la Madrid back in the mid-80s, he’s moved to the center, he’s not the antichrist, and he’s no Hugo Chavez. He won’t be as destructive to Mexico as Obama was to the US, and life will go on. But I’m still with Meade.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: I don’t think AMLO would be as bad as some think, but I think he will be worse than you appear to think. I don’t believe he’s moved to the center at all, not really, but he softened his public tune to improve his chances of winning. He’s a demagogue. But you’re right in that he’s not the antichrist or Hugo Chávez. I hope I’ll be voting for Meade because he appears to be the best of the relatively sorry lot. However, I will vote for whomever appears to be in second place in the polls in the week leading up to the election. Right now, the position seems to be held by Anaya. Voting for anyone other than the No. 2 is just helping AMLO, not a lick different than voting for Jill Stein or not voting at all in the last U.S. election was helping Hillary, pure and simple. Trump was the only sensible choice. The week before July 1, candidate No. 2 will be the only sensible choice.

      Whether AMLO won’t be as destructive to Mexico as Weepy Barry was to the U.S. is, in my opinion, not currently known. We will see, or not. Not, I hope.

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  6. Nice summary. Like our friend, I have been amused by AMLO’s moves to assuage the fears of the middle class — the group he lost in his last run for the presidency. He is a very clever politician. Even though he is not a Hugo Chavez, he is a Hugo Chavez admirer. And that is worrisome.

    I suspect, though, we are going to have an opportunity to see if the AMLO has really changed its spites.

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  7. I think Jennifer put it very well. AMLO isn’t going to be nearly as bad as some think. And I’d add that my CDMX landlord, an ardent capitalist, is a big AMLO supporter, claiming that corruption in CDMX was lower under him than under any other mayor. Also remember that AMLO constructed the periférico, a definitely non-leftist project. I’d also note that the USD/MXN peso exchange rate has been on a tear higher all year. Now certainly some of that is due to the increasing realization that Trump isn’t going to exit NAFTA, and that the negotiations seem to be going reasonably well. But part of it has to be business recognizing that AMLO isn’t going to be a threat to prosperity either. At least I hope that’s what it means.

    And if AMLO can do anything about the persistent corruption in Mexican politics, it will be worth paying a price in terms of non-ideal policies.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Redding, CA
    Where our local congressmen is a right-wing, so-called “free trader” who lives on farming subsidies.

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