By ALEJANDRO ENVILA FISHER
Neither Alejandro Moreno, president of Mexico’s centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), not Marko Cortés, head of its conservative National Acton Party (PAN), are willing to budge from their positions, despite the fact that both parties registered a resounding defeat in the country’s June 6 gubernatorial elections.
That leaves the Mexican people with only one alternative: Break with both of them, break with their partisan alliance that is going nowhere, break with Claudio X. González, the wealthy puppeteer behind that failed political collusion, and build a new citizens’ movement to save the nation by launching its own presidential candidate for 2024.
In order for this to work under the current circumstances, Mexican citizens will require an outsider as a candidate, someone who is not only openly opposed to the leftist National Regeneration Movement’s (Morena) patronizing, authoritarian, divisive and anti-democratic project, but who is also divorced from the old parties and their respective vices.
Under the banner of abolishing all of Mexico’s past political woes and intricately manipulated political parties of the past, this new project would be neither populist nor polarizing, instead, rooted in a citizens’ movement.
There is not much time left before the 2024 campaigns begin, so this new political force would have to have enough muscle to redefine the terms of negotiation and make a pact with a single party — perhaps the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) because it is the most affordable to court and because only one party registration is required.
The agreement with the party that would surrender its registration would, logically, have the final word on who the presidential candidate would be, as well as some 80 percent of all the other candidacies for the race.
All of this would be aimed at ensuring a reconditioning of the party, via the modification of statutes and its directive line, in exchange for keeping the record and giving its few leaders an exit door to the immediate future: a dignified political retirement, if you will. This would leave the modified party with its militants transformed into members and candidates, not leaders, of the Civil Society Party, or of the National Society, or of the Authentic Citizens Party (the name really doesn’t matter), ready to face the 2024 electoral appointment.
In other countries, the way out of a situation similar to the one Mexico is experiencing, that is, under the thumb of a populist government that is out to build a state party system and nullify electoral competition, without any political counterweight in the old, corrupt and discredited traditional parties, would be to create a new party from society, as Emmanuel Macron did in France.
In Mexico, this is not possible because the old parties, as well as Morena, have hijacked the monopoly of power through restrictive electoral legislation that prevents, in fact, both viable independent candidacies and the creation of new parties outside the political sphere and interests of the established parties.
Both the PRI and the PAN continue to cling to the hopeful electoral result of 2021 to exploit, for their own benefit, the chant that Morena is not invincible and López Obrador has already lost half of his 30 million of votes.
The kidnapping of these two old parties by imitations of middling leaders forces society to rethink its alternatives, if it really wants to make its vote count in 2024. But that rethinking must start from an undeniable truth: The majority of voters in Mexico today do not feel represented by any of the current parties, including Morena.
Although the task is not easy, the equation is simple: If society gathers around a single independent candidate, that candidate can beat any alliance of old parties that builds on the discontent of society to return to the past.
On one side there is Morena and the supporters of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) so-called Fourth Transformation (4T), the active members of Morena and the electoral clientele who, with their subsidies disguised as social programs, promote a populist and polarizing oratory. That group is unlikely to decrease significantly unless there is a major split in the ruling party. Its current strength is worth around 16 million votes.
On the other side is Mexico’s huge middle class, verbally attacked on a daily basis by the president, and an upper and upper-middle class sector that feels aggrieved by AMLO’s constant assaults on their way of life, as well as a growing segment of the newly, about 4 million people who lost their jobs and standards of living over the past three years.
The middle class, upper class and newly poor class must join forces. They must learn to interact with each other and to find common ground.
If they can do that, they will have enough votes to win the next election. They will have to raise money and work together.
And they have to find a candidate that they can all agree upon, detached from the parties of the past, educated and, already well-recognized by the general public.
There are already some names being tossed around: Carlos Loret de Mola, Carmen Aristegui, Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, Víctor Trujillo, Gustavo de Hoyos, to name a few. Whoever the candidate turns out to be, they would have to commit to a minimum citizen agenda in human rights, political democracy, economy, security, rule of law, the environment and the fight against discrimination, to be a figure worthy of being nominated and competing for the presidency in 2024.
There’s not much time left, so this new opposition has to get cracking now. Otherwise, Mexico will be stagnated in the dregs of a backward-thinking left.