The Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholars and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council were pleased to host a discussion on Mexico’s upcoming mid-term elections, during which experts provided insights into what’s at stake and what we can expect.
On June 6, Mexicans will participate in the largest election in the country’s history where they will choose candidates for over 21,000 offices. The election marks the halfway point in President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s term and is widely referred to as a referendum on his first three years in office. The outcome of this election will determine the extent to which López Obrador can implement his agenda and national reforms. With a weak and divided opposition, López Obrador’s ruling party, Morena, is expected to maintain control in Congress.
The Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council were pleased to host a presentation of the latest polling data, followed by expert commentary on what to expect on June 6 and the implications for the López Obrador government.
“All elections are important, and each is described as more important, more consequential than the last. But, at the risk of following that hyperbole, I would argue that this election is indeed the most important and consequential in Mexico’s relatively brief democratic history, with significant political power at stake.”
“We expect Morena to advance significantly in the number of states that they govern… At least 8 or 9 of the 15 states are looking like serious wins for Morena… But, the majority in congress for Morena is uncertain. I think that both voters and the election rules have something to do here. How voters behave but also how the rules of translating votes into legislative seats are applied.”
“Many in Mexico hope that López Obrador’s government is going to produce, eventually, politics and an economy that are genuinely more inclusive. But others fear that he is pushing the country backward by resurrecting dominant party rule, increasing presidential power, and stoking nationalism. As Alejandro’s data shows, a polarized Mexico is caught between two forces: anger with those who have governed so badly in the past and hope mixed with trepidation regarding those who appear to be abusing their power now.”
“Many believe that [President López Obrador] is enacting change in a country that is clamoring for social justice for many and less concentration of privileges for the few. But, for scholars, activists, and members of civil society that fought to dismantle the hegemony of the PRI and promote the transition to democracy, I think we are viewing current trends with greater trepidation because Mexico was touted as an example of a peaceful voted transition from authoritarian rule in Latin America.”
“What is this election about? It is about two political forces. One, of course, is AMLO’s project, the Morena project, with all its limitations and strengths that we will talk about later. And, also, the groups that try to restore the previous regime – the regime that López Obrador called the neoliberal regime – which, you know, has to do with a certain form of developing the country connected with the transnational companies, energy reform, and all the policies that were connected with the previously called Washington Consensus, and the establishment that López Obrador very successfully has been able to criticize, of course generating big tensions with certain elites, the previous elites, but, at the same time, generating support from his political base which is something very important. ”
“I don’t think that the United States understands the complexity of Mexico today. And why is this? Because when I read some of the statements, for example, in terms of security or energy, it’s if as in the United States there is this idea that we are in the 1990s or we are in the first decade of the twenty-first century and we’re not like that. ”
“Already, today, Morena’s representation in the congress has, of course, been crucial for advancing many of the initiatives of the 4T (4th transformation) movement. In the last few weeks, Morena has advanced bills and legislative proposals on the labor front, telecommunications, railroads, reducing salaries of public officeholders.”
Morena, a danger to democracy
“Beware of anyone who wants to use democracy to come to power and then abolish it.”
The main danger for democracy is in a false and misunderstood idealism. No one could be more intolerant and ruthless than an ignorant or mistaken ruler; or worse still, that he may believe that he is acting with justice; Beware of those who intend to use democracy to come to power and then abolish it.
As much as the candidates and officials say they know, it is impossible for them to know everything. Let’s analyze everything they tell us before we believe them. It is impossible to obtain any benefit as a country, with philosophies that contradict our own experience and the experience of other peoples.
It is prudent to flee from the imposture of the candidates. This is what is called superstition in religion, arrogance in wisdom, and anarchy in politics. And if we insist on believing something, let’s try to make our beliefs coincide with reality. Let’s put our feet on solid ground. There is a huge gulf between the dreams of some who believe they are enlightened and the facts that many of us know.
Some politicians, like some sports participants, who get worse every day with practice, have repeated their mistakes for so long that they have made them perfect. They cannot understand that social progress is never the fruit of the skill or wisdom of a single man, of a single party, or of a single economic and social philosophy, but in all those in whom social strength resides: citizens. . The thought that no one is right but them, is what drives the sane and the already unbalanced crazy, turns them into raging and power-hungry madmen. These attitudes are what turn a democracy into a dictatorship.
A society where its citizens, workers, and producers, are not listened to when making the laws that they themselves have to obey, is not a democracy, but a dictatorship.
Those who pretend that the government is of men and not of the laws, in reality, want to be oppressed, since everything is subject to the state of mind, to whims, to greed, to the arrogance of the ruler in turn. Through fear and hatred, they turn citizens into vile slaves, who are either sycophants or are drowned in hunger or in blood.
The candidate or the ruler who wants to know better than we do how to educate our children, heal our sick, cultivate our fields, take care of our old people, run our businesses; that it tries to finish with the farmers, is nothing but disgrace for the country.
The only way to remedy injustices is to resolutely oppose them. It is useless only to be outraged and comment on it in coffee meetings. If we are to be outraged, at least we are doing it with union and action.
“MARIO GONGORA HERNANDEZ”