MEXICO is consolidating a centralist, capricious and authoritarian regime determined to destroy the advances of the now defunct transition process in order to consolidate a long-term quasi-dictatorship, where lives and estates are subject to the more or less generous whim of the president and his party.
Four years ago, López Obrador not only won the Presidency because of his charisma and political marketing, but also because he understood that society was fed up with the arrogance and corruption of previous governments: the administrations of Salinas, Zedillo, Fox, Calderón and Peña Nieto had undoubted successes in modernizing institutions and opening Mexico to the 21st century, but they failed to make ordinary people feel part of that process, designed by and for the elites. Their arrogance made them odious; their notorious corruption made them intolerable.
Having all of that in mind, López Obrador simply fed and channeled the repudiation that already existed in a good part of society:
- That of the PRI’s opponents, who rightly felt betrayed by the lack of forcefulness and effectiveness of the PAN governments.
- The resentment of the old PRI members, who felt displaced by the technocrats.
- The yearning for revenge of those who felt they had been harmed by the country’s modernization process, because their company had gone bankrupt in the face of foreign competition or their government post had lost benefits.
- The ambition of social leaders who sought to enjoy the sweetness of government, and that of the old politicians who had been left out of the traditional parties and sought to return to the game.
López Obrador took this salad of grudges, structured it from a narrative of national reconquest and gave it the shape of a political alliance powerful enough to take him to the Presidency with more than 30 million votes, very comfortable majorities in the Congress of the Union and the local congresses. Against many predictions, once in power, he has had the intelligence to keep this uneven salad reasonably united consolidating a structure of local support that has allowed him to count on allied governors in more than 2/3 of the states throughout the country.
…something the opposition does not understand
More than four years after their defeat in the 2018 elections, the opposition parties continue without acknowledging receipt, without understanding why the people reject them, without correcting their mistakes and, even worse, without developing competitive leadership.
At most, the party bureaucracies of the opposition alliance have been able to ally among themselves and operate jointly. The result is Va por México, which managed to integrate the PRI, PAN and PRD under a single electoral coalition for preventing López Obrador from obtaining qualified majorities in Congress, an important but insufficient triumph. After all, the President’s allies swept the governorships and maintained the absolute majorities necessary to pass laws and budgets at the federal level.
To go no further: the fact, cruel, clear and conclusive, is that the opposition structure is not enough to win in 2024. Regardless of which is the official candidate and which is the opposition candidate, the presidential elections are basically resolved, whoever López Obrador says will win.
Why? Because in spite of a disastrous government in terms of results, the president maintains a popularity rate close to 60%, and because López Obrador has the support of more and more governors who carry votes using local structures, complementing the operation of the federal government. In addition to that, pro-government candidates tend to be better known and more appreciated than potential opposition candidates; since barely 2 % of the people have a “very good” opinion of the PAN. Adding that the opposition has not understood that people hate them, having them valid reasons to do so; there is no opposition leader who realizes that.
Therefore, if there is no drastic change, if the opposition does not immediately correct its approach and discourse by 180° and if a leader with real impact does not emerge as a true holy miracle, inertia will impose itself, and the inertial route is very clear: in the next two years Morena will win the Presidency, will maintain and probably expand its majorities in the Congress of the Union, conquering almost all the governorships that remain in opposition hands, gaining absolute control of the country on the first Monday of July 2024.
The closer we get to 2024, the stronger this inertia will become and the more difficult it will be to reverse it. How to prevent it? To begin with, by changing the opposition narrative, as I explained in a previous article. There is also the hope that the struggle within the ruling party will be so fierce that it will collapse, even in spite of the ability of President López Obrador; there is, once again, the possibility of a miracle. However, if nothing changes, if the opposition parties do not correct themselves and their leaders keep making the same mistakes that led them to lose in 2018, then the election in 2024 will be a pure formality. The opposition will die for nothing, and Mexico will pay the consequences.
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”