Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Finding AMLO

Bit by bit, I’ve been putting labels on old posts so that I can have a full list to put on the blog. It reminded me how big the story about López Obrador was last summer, which then made me wonder what he’s been up to.

The answer is that he’s on the road. He was recently in Oaxaca, espousing anti-corruption to the PRD. He is also giving TV addresses and helping to make films about Mexican poverty.

I’m not sure how well his “presidente legítimo” shtick goes over with anyone but his supporters. Regardless, his grassroots approach is heartening for the continuing development of the imperfect process of Mexican democratization. The “massive disruption” approach clearly didn’t work. If I had to bet, I’d say he’s dead politically as a candidate. But as I wrote last year, maybe he can be the Mexican Nixon. This is similar to what Nixon did after losing the gubernatorial election in 1962—he laid low and campaigned tirelessly for his party, waiting for his comeback chance.

AMLO’s post-election actions facilitated a better legislative relationship between the PAN and the PRI, and now Calderón is popular (as Boz notes, he currently has 65% approval), so the PRD has taken a political hit. When Nixon went into the political wilderness, Kennedy and the Democratic Party were also riding high. He waited patiently and obviously the political context changed drastically.


boz 8:27 AM  

Contributing the the political hit taken by the PRD, AMLO's political moves after the election seem to have divided the party. Some in the PRD went with him and continue to oppose the "legitimacy" of the government. Others broke off from AMLO and decided to work their opposition through the political system.

The last poll I saw (granted, it is several months old, probably February) listed AMLO around 17% approval nationwide. I'm sure he still has pockets of support in several states including Oaxaca and Tabasco.

When I was in Mexico City last month, I saw a pro-AMLO protest. There were less than three dozen people there and it looked really tiny compared to the pro- and anti-abortion protests as well as the "sin pantalones" protests over land rights that were occurring that same weekend. It's a far cry from when he took over Reforma and shut down part of the capital last year.

Greg Weeks 1:24 PM  

It's still early, given Calderón really just started his term, so we'll see. Your first point might even be the most relevant--whether the PRD stays together.

boz 6:00 PM  

FYI, new poll out of El Universal today that says Calderon is at 68%, up ten points from when he was inaugurated. This link has more detailed numbers if you're interested.

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