July 05, 2006

Amazing Coincidence

So, as soon as it's clear that conservative candidate Calderón has been elected president in Mexico, (despite AMLO's Sore Loserman act) Bush hints that enforcement-first immigration legislation might be OK with him after all. Rather supports the theory that he had been hard-lining the amnesty position primarily in response to the State Department's Mexico experts.

By the way, during the 2000 Florida hoohaw, we heard a lot about how the Electoral College system was so inferior to direct election. But direct election of their president doesn't seem to be helping Mexico right now.

Posted by James C. Bennett at July 5, 2006 02:15 PM
Comments

It looks like the future of the Mexican election will be like the Bush/Gore 2000 election. If the Left loses, they will not accept the loss claiming the election was fixed. The Leftist voters have vowed to take their claim on the throne to the streets until they get what they want. An inability to accept loss seems to be a very Leftie thing.

However, the one thing Obrador is doing that Gore, in hindsight, says he should have done is ask for a whole country recount which is guaranteed under the election rules. Had Gore asked for the whole state of Florida be recounted, instead of just a couple of counties, he would have lost by an even bigger margin as the press investigation and re-re-recount showed.

Posted by: Indigo Red at July 5, 2006 09:41 PM

Indigo:
Under Mexican electoral law, Obrador can't ask for a recount. However, I suspect that the court might allow it due to the exceptional circumstances as well to assuage any doubts.
James:
Maybeso but let's be satisfied that elections were free and fair under Mexican conditions. That's the major point we need to remember

xavier

Posted by: xavier at July 6, 2006 09:01 PM

Mexico is a very interesting case in which a nominally democratic state actually became effectively democratic through the gradual transformation of sham institutions (e.g., "elections") into real institutions. It's a useful example for some other developing-world nations.

Posted by: Jim Bennett at July 6, 2006 09:18 PM

Yes, this is another argument for retaining a modified electoral college for choosing presidents. The modification I would make is to follow Maine in awarding one vote for each congressional district taken, and two votes for each state. The current system of winner-take-all just replicates the national popular vote problems on the level of large states such as Florida and Ohio.

The interesting thing about Mexico is that each of the two leading candidates got only about 37% of the vote because there was a PRI candidate who managed to capture the votes of some remnants of the machine. Neither AMLO nor Calderon could claim a mandate or pretend that a national recount finding a few votes here and there would justify major changes in Mexico's government and economy. I have not seen the data, but would not be surprised to see that one candidate or the other might have won a majority of congresssional districts or states. In that case, his legitimacy as president-elect would be well-established.

As far as I know, PRI dominates the Mexican Congress. The new president will have to work with PRI if he wants to accomplish anything. He might have more clout with individual PRI representatives if they focus on the president's vote margin in their districts. Making the tally in individual districts reinforces that focus. OTOH knowing that the president did not carry one's district would reinforce opposition to his policies. So what?

Posted by: jimbo at July 8, 2006 02:57 AM

Jimbo:
Actually the fact that neither Obrador nor Calderon have a mandate is actually a blessing in disguise. It'll compel the ultimate winner to become very modest, prudent cautious. In sum the antiChavez/ant-Morales. In fact, the way too close to call election will finally break the populist leader on horseback, seductive orator from the balacony temptation that Latin America s

My hope is that the winner (a) be inspired by the example Andrés Bello Chile's first president and cited model of a Latin American presient should behave (b) the revival of Thomasian political pruedence and the wisdom of the Salamanca school that'll develop democracy in tune with Latin American mores and temperment (c) incorporate the democratic elements from the old Spanish colonial laws (d) implement the much needed social and economic reforms (damn tough but if the Mexican winner follows a-c; the reforms will succeed albeit slowly)
In any case, indirect election in Latin America are currently unfeasible given the strong desire for direct accountability- we voted; you're now hired but you'd better still listen to us.

xavier

Posted by: xavier at July 9, 2006 08:25 PM

I wouldn't call the mexican system much more "direct" than the american. It's just as clouded as to what the real intentions of the voters are.

With most countries that directly elect their president (practically all countries where a president is as powerful as in mexico), only a majority vote can win. In this case there would have to be second round.

Effectivly, your vote becomes a lottery like this. Do you vote Obrador or Calderon instead of Madrazo (who got almost 22%) in fear of one of the other candidates winning?

A system like this also encourages fraud, or for that matter allegations of fraud, because the margins are much smaller with so many contenders.

Posted by: llama at July 10, 2006 10:42 AM

Xavier: A hopeful scenario. Let's see what happens.


Llama: In the Mexican case, it's likely that most of the PRI vote was cast by peple in a direct client relationship to the old PRI machine, particularly state employees in states governed by the PRI. A runoff would most likely then permit the PRI to, in effect, sell its vote bloc to the highest bidder. Perhaps this would be OK in a mature civil society, but it wouldn't be a good outcome in Mexico -- it would just delay the advance of badly-needed transparency. Better an infomral coalition of PAN and the Cardenas-leaning half of PRD, which is what seems likely to happen.

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