By RICARDO CASTILLO
Mexico’s third and final presidential electoral debates on Tuesday, June 12, only served to confirm the until-then prevailing trend shown in the polls all along, and they were a repeat of the previous two debates. In short, neither candidates Ricardo Anaya nor José Antonio Meade managed to impose themselves sufficiently to earn a not-so-glorious second place in voter preference, while frontrunner Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) swam unnoticed and flawlessly against the tidal waves his two contenders tried to provoke to throw him off guard.
Next day commentaries summed up to an acknowledgement that the debate left more doubts than answers from the three candidates.
And to ultimately deflate all hopes of a true competition, just a few hours prior to the debate the Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex) presented the results of a poll once again confirming what previous polls had concluded: AMLO leads the voter preference rankings by 41.7 percent, while Ricardo Anaya is in second place, with 21.5 percent, and President Enrique Peña Nieto’s candidate Meade is running third, with 13.6 percent, while independent candidate Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez is trailing, with 2.3 percent. The poll – because it comes from AMLO’s reticent critics – only confirms that in the race for Mexican president, the chips are down.
There were, however, several intense moments during the debate, particularly created by Anaya, who once again warned Meade – hence Peña Nieto – that if elected president, he was going to bring members of the current administration to trial to explain the allegedly rampant corruption they allowed.
Both Anaya and Meade also tried to bring back memories of AMLO’s very poor administration as Mexico City mayor during 2000 and 2005. The problem with these “accusations” is that he Mexican people in general don’t know what they are talking about, first, because he was only responsible for Mexico City, not the rest of this humongous nation, and, second, because Anaya and Meade had made these charges before with very little positive or negative results. For the inhabitants of Mexico City – who nowadays are blockading streets demanding running water – that’s not an issue.
The general conclusion, however, among several both inside and outside observers was that, as a whole, Anaya looked mad as hell because he is being charged with corruption he alleges does not exist, Meade finally seemed to accept the idea that his campaign is now an unfulfilled dream, and AMLO stuck to his libretto, saying that the one and only problem Mexico is facing is official corruption, which he said is “a cancer that is destroying us” with all of the nation’s surplus monies “going down the drain.”
Once again, AMLO promised to do away with Peña Nieto’s “Education Reform,” which was put into effect in order to “punish” teachers, most of whom, of course, make meager wages. He will do away with it the legal way, through Congress.
Incidentally, while the Coparmex’s new poll left no doubt that AMLO has every likelihood of winning the election, his three party coalition that’s running under the “Together We Will Make History” slogan will not win Congress.
This is probably a hint to all political parties to focus on Mexico’s congressional races in the little over two weeks left between now and election day on July 1.