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Mexican Opposition Succumbs to Seductions of Socialist López Obrador—Here’s Why

AMLO seduce a la oposición mexicana. Imagen: EFE/Madla Hartz

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The Mexican opposition faces a rather complicated situation. Despite the fact that almost all statistics show that the country is worse off than in 2018, López Obrador maintains popularity levels similar to those he had at the beginning of his government.

Worse still, the president has turned that popular support into political maneuvering room to consolidate comfortable official majorities in the Congress of the Union and in most of the local legislatures. Moreover, in the last 3 years, he has captured 18 of the 32 states of the country for his movement and is in a streak that could get him another 7 governorships to be renewed in 2022 and 2023.

This would allow him to reach the 2024 elections with almost absolute control of the electoral mobilization structures, transforming the inertia of victory into a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, where his expectations of triumph help him to convince businessmen and politicians to get on board the ship of Obradorism, instead of remaining marginalized in defeat.

The Mexican opposition faced with the song of the official promises 

The Mexican opposition is being seduced, and this seduction is having subtle but convincing effects. For example, last week the opposition complained bitterly about López Obrador’s tyrannical tendencies but approved (almost without debate) the president’s proposals for the Supreme Court (on November 23) and the Financial Investigation Unit (on November 25). These were votes where the opposition could contain AMLO’s agenda—but chose not to.

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The effects of this seduction became even clearer on December 1. López Obrador celebrated three years since his inauguration with a political rally in Mexico City’s Zócalo, which gathered some 80,000 supporters, including 4 of the 7 governors of Acción Nacional, the main opposition party. 

Yes, the PAN governors of Yucatán, Chihuahua, Durango, and Quintana Roo not only attended the event to politically support the same president their party has denounced before the OAS, but they also took selfies with the main “presidential candidates” of Obradorismo and showed them off on  Twitter

The reason for so much love

What’s causing so much love? The answers are simple: becuase state budgets depend more and more on the whims of the federal government and because López Obrador has already put on his seducer’s suit, offering positions in his administration to opposition governors who are loyal to him.

First, he announced that he will take the recently ex-governors of Nayarit and Sinaloa (from the PAN and PRI) to the federal government, and on November 17, he offered a similar deal to the PAN Governor of Quintana Roo. AMLO openly stated that he is “very pleased with the work being done by the governor of Quintana Roo, Carlos Joaquín” and once his term is over, he will talk to him “to convince him to continue helping us”.

Obviously, the grateful Carlos Joaquín went to cheer the president on, along with three other governors of his party, who apparently are also looking to López Obrador for budget, refuge and political future.

The great risk of being seduced by López Obrador

The risk is for it to become a vicious circle: the more power AMLO accumulates, the easier it is for him to convince the Mexican opposition to approve his whims, and the more he seduces the opposition, the more powerful he becomes. This translates into a growing asymmetry of force in favor of the consolidating ruling party, which could reach 2024 with its triumph practically guaranteed and the elections converted into a mere formality.

President López Obrador’s bet is that of a regime that will dominate for decades and he is building it, because he keeps adding political successes despite his failures as a government and because those who should be counterbalancing him are too busy negotiating their own escape routes, turning the Mexican opposition into simply being the regime’s frontman, as it was during the 20th century. That is sad.

Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”

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