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  In the Mexican Labyrinth: The Elections, the Left, and the Fight for the Mexican Soul
Parent(s) Race 
ContributorNew Jerusalem 
Last EditedNew Jerusalem  Apr 15, 2007 12:37pm
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News DateSunday, April 15, 2007 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionAt the beginning of 2006, López Obrador’s campaign seemed to be unbeatable. The polls gave his party an average lead of 8 percent. People from across the social spectrum were visiting his campaign headquarters in México City to greet the man they believed would be the next president. The candidate boasted that not even a coalition made up of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI) and the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN)—the other two big Mexican parties—would prevent him from winning the election. The talk of the town was the imminent, first-time-in-history victory of the Mexican left. How did López Obrador manage to lose such a clear advantage? What are the reasons for his defeat?

At least three reasons have been offered. First, some argue that the election was marred by fraud: the IFE and Vicente Fox’s administration maneuvered successfully to deprive the PRD of the victory it actually earned. Second, there are those who contend that even if there was no fraud in the election proper, the IFE permitted a radically unfair electoral process. According to this view, a long series of inequities vitiated the political campaign from start to finish, beginning with Fox’s and private corporations’ illegal backing of Calderón, the PAN candidate. Third, there is the view that López Obrador’s overconfidence and hubris led him to an unexpected defeat.

In what follows I will suggest that the first two reasons were never proved to be true and that the third does not sufficiently account for López Obrador’s defeat. I will propose an alternative interpretation—that the authoritarian and populist left he represents was rejected by a modern and complex citizenry rising in México today.
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