Friday, September 04, 2015

Bachelet's Second Term Blues

Javiera Quiroga at Bloomberg has a story on Michelle Bachelet's faltering second term. The economy is slow, the commodity boom is over, there are corruption scandals hanging around her, she's having a difficult time fulfilling her promises, and she's unpopular.

If she's in a glass half full mood, here's what she has:

First, everyone is unpopular these days. We've Latin American presidents all over the place implicated in corruption scandals, but even ones not touched by them are hurting. Only a few, like Evo Morales, are unscathed. As is usually the case, popularity also has no correlation with ideology.

Second, as has been the case for a long time, the Chilean opposition is also unpopular so it's not just about her. There is a whiff of the United States here, because President Obama's approval rating is about 46% (of course, still much higher than Bachelet) while Congress' is 14% and the Republican Party is 32%. This is cold comfort, but still.

Something I've written about a few times as well is the lesson that it's hard to avoid Grover Cleveland Syndrome, whereby the success of your first term falls apart when you win a second nonconsecutive term as president. The magic just isn't there.


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