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My Reasons to Vote Against AMLO

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On June 6, I will vote against AMLO. I will travel over 400 miles and I will enter the polling station with the sole and absolute goal of voting against Andrés Manuel López Obrador, his political project, and his strategy to subject Mexico to an institutional regression that will drag the country back to the worst times of capricious presidentialism and demagogic socialism.

On the ballot, I will mark my support for the National Action candidates because, in the state of Guanajuato, the PAN is the party with the greatest strength to defeat the AMLO alliance. However, with almost identical conviction I would vote this time for the PRI, the PRD, or even Movimiento Ciudadano if such parties were to lead the opposition to Morena (AMLO’s party) in my district.

It is that clear. Perhaps for the first time since I have the right to vote, I will not make a differentiated vote nor will I annul any ballot. I will vote against AMLO, in everything, because it depends on saving the hope of building a viable future for the country. Because, beyond the countless flaws, corruption and problems of the Mexican party system, it is still less terrible than the return to a state party, which is even worse in terms of corruption and incompetence.

And for me, this is the key point. On June 6 we will not vote “for” the PAN, the PRI, the PRD or Movimiento Ciudadano as a sign of unrestricted endorsement of the agendas and actions of those parties, whose mistakes and traditions were enormously influential in bringing the country to the current situation. López Obrador would not have won without the insipid bungling of Fox, the counterproductive bullying of Calderón or the cynical corruption of Peña Nieto.

It is equally true that the party system has systematically refused to correct its underlying problems, and, on the contrary, has built a caste system increasingly closed to the participation even of its own militancy.

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I accept that. The truth is that if the current circumstances were those of a normal election, millions of us would stay home or vote for Batman in a puerile (but understandable) attempt to show our repudiation of the arrogance and failure of the political system.

But this is not a normal election. What is at stake is not the color of our social democratic mafia that will do their dirty businesses to the tune of a standard public policy agenda. What López Obrador intends is much more dramatic and perverse: he wants to control the Chamber of Deputies and local governments to alter the system irreversibly in his favor.

Reasons to vote against AMLO

AMLO does not want a shady contract to build roads and keep 10%, he wants to keep everything. He wants his party to be the party of the state in 2024, 2027, 2030, and for decades to come. He wants to turn his whims into the policy of the state, his flags into the flags of the state and its consequences will become the burden of my people.

AMLO intends to vanish all the advances for which we fought for decades in terms of balance of powers, democracy, transparency and modernization of the government. He wants all decisions to be made by the president and our entire future to depend on his grace or good humor.

This is how Mexico lived during practically its entire history: subjected to a caudillo whose power remained until he was overthrown by the next lout, without us “citizens” having any other option than resign ourselves to a kind of Stockholm syndrome and applaud with a fearful smile the “great” ideas of the president in office, while we read between the lines in the vain hope of finding out in time when the next great economic crisis would come.

That is the Mexico López Obrador wants to return to. To the Mexico that was closed to the world, where there was no freedom to choose a government, nor products beyond those authorized by the regime, where the lack of competition systematized incompetence, where trade unions, “social organizations,” and the “social profiteers” constantly threatened with the next invasion, the next expropriation or the next demand for a new privilege (social conquest) at the expense of everyone else.

To the Mexico where corruption was the only way and the hope of society consisted in getting ahead through a small monopoly (a notary public, a street stall, a cab concession, a fishing cooperative, an ‘ejido’ certificate), because “he who does not compromise does not advance” and “to live outside the budget is to live in error.”

Back to the Mexico of the old PRI, where only the privileged of the regime could enjoy the delights of capitalism that was denied by system, by law and by principle to the rest of the population; where any procedure required months of begging, many pesos of bribes and a pathetic face of gratitude before the merciful official who finally deigned to do his job.

And yes, I know that many parts of that terrible Mexico still remain, because they were not corrected during the transition and corruption became more evident once the press was free to denounce it, making many believe that modern Mexico was more corrupt than the old one, even though that is not true.

Yes, the shift in power was not the magic solution to the country’s problems, and that, engrossed in administering mediocrity and enriching themselves with it, PAN members and other politicians promoted an enormous amount of reforms, works, and demagogic programs for their own benefit.

Votaré contra AMLO, porque es necesario impedir el retroceso autoritario. Imagen: EFE/Sáshenka Gutiérrez
I will vote against AMLO because we need to avoid returning to our authoritarian past (EFE)

Returning to the past would be the worst

It is urgent to understand, once and for all, that the election of June 6 will not be “between the usual bad guys of the PRIAN and the good guys of Morena.” On the contrary, it will be between the mediocre PRIAN and the systematically corrupt, authoritarian and infinitely worse Morena.

It is as clear as that. Even if we take for granted all the accusations that can be launched against the democratic transition, López Obrador and Morena are simply a worsened version of all the defects of the opposition. They are more corrupt, more demagogic, more incompetent and more closed to society. The results are there for all to see, in the economy, in the collapse of the health systems and in the WORST insecurity situation in the modern history of the country.

That is why I will vote against AMLO, aware that even if we win this election against López Obrador that does not mean the end of the nightmare. After all, AMLO will continue to be president at least until 2024, will continue to have a majority in the Senate and will continue to have at his disposal the immense resources of the federal government to build his agenda of destroying institutions, impoverishing the economy and isolating the country.

However, if we beat them on June 6 we will at least have the hope of a balanced competition in the 2024 presidential elections, and for that alone it is worth traveling 700 or even 7,000 kilometers to get to the polling station and vote, in my case, for the PAN.

What comes after June 6?

The next step is to demand the opposition parties to be a real counterweight to AMLO’s whims. We continue to push for the corrupt members in PAN, PRI, PRD and Movimiento Ciudadano to stay out of the candidacies for the next election.

We need to continue promoting an agenda based on the importance of the life, liberty and property of every Mexican.

We must continue to denounce the idiotic and “do-gooder” proposals of the opponents and likewise denounce the demagogic and tyrannical proposals of López Obrador.

So, we continue to make politics. But first, it is time to vote. On June 6, I will vote against AMLO, because everything else for decades to come will depend on the outcome of that election.

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”