A Danger for the PRI
The phrase "a danger for Mexico" directed at López Obrador has long ceased to be effective. The passing of years and the lead in the polls show that AMLO has lost the ability to frighten.
However, his persistent messianic spirit, self-oriented and anti-institutional vocation do represent a threat to our fragile democracy.
This is why the so-called “pact” between the PRI and Morena or the government and AMLO draws attention: simply put, if the “pact” occurs, the worst affected will be the Mexican people for at least three reasons.
1. The forgiveness of “sins.” AMLO's generous nod towards the PRI leadership is totally implausible. How to reconcile his promise to end corruption without touching those he has called part of the “mafia of power”? "I do not seek revenge," he incessantly repeats, deliberately mixing the concepts of revenge with justice. Yet justice for López Obrador is not done through autonomous prosecutors or the judiciary branch. AMLO’s justice is subject to popular verdict. So, what will happen when a crowd asks for the head of some notorious member of the PRI? Will the wise people win?
2. The six-year legacy. It is urgent to defend the structural reforms carried during the administration of President Enrique Peña. They can be perfectible and revisable concerning their implementation. However, undoubtedly, they have put the country on the right path to get out of the mediocre economic development we have had for decades. Some have already had tangible effects, such as the telecommunications reform, and others will bear fruit (as has been said) in the years to come.
Until now, the closest advisors of López Obrador signal specific points that could be modified. Still, this good sense will be affected by the performance of Morena and its allies in the Federal Congress and local legislatures. If they have the majority (or voting plurality), it would be difficult to contain the temptations of radical personalities and that of AMLO himself, who insist on reversing reforms, particularly regarding energy and education— even more so if they gain the necessary votes of aligned legislatures from other parties.
3. Survival. Finally, but no less important, a potential triumph by AMLO and his coalition is an imminent danger to the PRI. As with what occurred in the moment with the PRD, Morena would be like a magnet for the aggrieved bases or those disenchanted throughout the campaign.
The disappearance of the PRI, which did not happen when they lost the presidency against Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderón, could occur this time around. The damage would not only be to the party, but also to necessary counterweights that the divided vote has generated since 1997. The democratic plurality, which has created the case for national heterogeneity, would end.
The history of 2018 could be sealed by a turn to “imperial presidentialism” and to the single-party hegemony which took so many years to overcome.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author.
About the Author
The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute. Read more