The Mexican general election will be held this Sunday, July 2. It will have an enormous impact on America and more specifically California. The two candidates who are believed to have a chance are Felipe Calderón(Spanish) and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Spanish). By the way, those are some spiffy websites. Calderon has a cool soccer game on the top of his. The campaign practically came to a halt for the Mexican soccer matches, but the attention of the Mexican media is squarely on this election after the Mexican squad fell in a thrilling battle with the powerhouse that is the Argentian national squad.
Calderon is the heir apparent to Mexican president Vicente Fox. His PAN Party has steered a moderate course, but has failed to accomplish any significant goals since Fox became president. Lopez Obrador, or AMLO (his initials) as he is commonly known, is the populist/leftist candidate. And Calderon has been trying to tie AMLO to Hugo Chavez, attempting to play the extremist issue. Right now, the polls are neck and neck. Wikipedia has a great English run-down of tons of polls.
Strangely enough, Ruben Navarrette in SacBee says that an AMLO victory could be a pleasant surprise for America. You see, the Mexican government has been going through, since the early 20th century, essentially a 90 year Bush Administration. No government has tackled poverty issues in any meaningful way. And the growing economic disparity between the rich and the poor continues to cause millions of Mexicans to seek jobs in the U.S. Really, isn’t this what the Republicans are doing to our nation? They pillage the government to hand it all of to corporations and the rich. Large tax cuts for the rich, while social services are stagnant. Isn’t this what the Bush Administration wants too? Drowning the government in a bathtub and all?
And that’s what the PRI gave the Mexican people for 71 years. Then along came Vicente Fox, the first president from a party other than the PRI. Expectations were high. The IMF and Bush Administration pulled Fox along the traditional IMF line. And the rich got richer…and the poor got poorer. No Mexican leader has truly challenged the root causes of poverty. The corruption has gotten in the way of any meaningful reform.
AMLO has a unique opportunity, though. He has the initiative to challenge the elites, and hopefully to end the stagnancy in the Mexican economy. Mexican job growth is the real key to any immigration improvement in the U.S. And thus, this populist just might be the best thing for the conservatives in America:
Here’s the irony: While many of the Americans in this camp probably consider themselves conservative, the candidate who is most likely to deliver what they want is a left-leaning populist. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the ex-mayor of Mexico City and candidate representing the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), may just win a contest that is still considered too close to call.
At first glance, you would think that conservatives would cringe at the prospect of a populist on the southern border. But in this case, they’d be wise to take a closer look at Lopez Obrador and his appeal to Mexican voters.
The candidate…doesn’t waste time blaming the United States for Mexico’s woes. AMLO cuts to the chase and blames Mexico, specifically the rich elites who prey upon the poor and then react with indifference when those without options leave home to search for opportunities in the United States. He promises to pump government money into the economy to jump-start it.(SacBee 6/28/06)
The Mexican elections bears watching. An AMLO victory could cause a bit of a worry for the Bush administration, as they’ve never been too friendly with populists. But, in the end, AMLO could provide the valve that cuts the spigot of undocument immigrants to California: a good economy.