The Coming Campaign
Six years ago, just like today, the campaign started with a leading candidate, positioned as the main competitor since at least the middle-of-the-road election, with a representative of the ruling party who could not match cards with the opposition, and another contender that offered a different form of alternation. The AMLO of today was Peña Nieto back then, and it is José Antonio Meade, who finds himself in third place, occupied by Josefina Vasquez Mota six years ago.
The similarities end there. On that occasion, the parting government enjoyed the approval of half the population, and the current government less than one-fourth. More importantly, the leader back then, had a modest advantage in the most reliable polls, and offered a moderate change for voters. Something like “the same thing, but governing well.” We saw, by the way, what that means: not that they know how to decide and coordinate, but that they have no shame in governing through corruption and threats, rather than in a genuinely democratic way. Thus, the results, and with it, the imminent electoral debacle.
The important thing now is what the kick-off scenario implies, as it is unprecedented in our country. Andrés Manuel López Obrador proposes radical change and leads the polls by no less than ten or fifteen points. We have only three months to go until the presidential elections. With the numbers currently available, it is not impossible to suppose that AMLO could have something close to a majority in both houses. With it, he could boost his agenda of rejection of the economic and social policies that have been implemented in Mexico in the last 30-35 years. This is no small thing.
More than being expected, this seems healthy to me. I know there will be some who complain about the lack of proposals, and even more, who claim an alleged witch-hunt. However, if we do not give our democracy the opportunity to scrutinize its possible leadership, then we trust the voters very little. I do not necessarily predict a successful strategy for AMLO’s opponents. Frequently, the attacks demotivate the undecided voters and promote arrogance among the opponent’s followers. I simply warn of what is coming, and yes, I welcome the contrast that will be offered to the one who must decide, the citizen.
At the heart of democracy is, even above the enthusiasm for a candidate, criticism and rejection of the opponent's proposals. This strengthens, as a valid orientation and power limitation exercise, our civic life. It is essential to determine implications and future prospects. May it be welcome starting tomorrow. And let the people judge.
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