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A Divided Left

Can the left unify itself?
By The News · 08 of June 2017 09:25:55
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 02MAYO2016.- El presidente nacional de MORENA, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, encabezó una Asamblea Informativa en las inmediaciones del Jardín Hidalgo en la delegación Coyoacán. En el acto estuvieron presentes personajes renombrados tal como la escritora Elena Poniatowska; Carlos Payán, fundador del periódico “La Jornada”; Rafael Barajas, “El Fisgón”; John Ackerman, investigador y el actor, Héctor Bonilla. FOTO: GALO CAÑAS /CUARTOSCURO.COM, photo: Cuartoscuro/Galo Cañas

Is Mexico a leftist nation? Voting trends show it to be one.

In the wake of last Sunday’s elections for governor in three different states the one reality that sticks out like a sore thumb is that the vote for socialist candidates is growing exponentially. Take as an example the State of Mexico.

The three left wing parties contending in the election National Regeneration Movement (Morena), Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and minority Labor Party (PT) together garnered 50 percent of the vote (31, 17, and 2 percent respectively) against 33 percent of the official middle-of-the-road Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and 11 percent by the right wing National Action Party (PAN).

The left wing parties did not run together though their governance platforms were very similar, and at one moment the one difference between PRD candidate Juan Zepeda and Morena’s Delfina Gómez was really the name of the party. This led to a voting division that played into the hands of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s PRI, whose candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza came out victor.

Reality has it that the leftists beat themselves.

Can the left unify itself? Not likely, given current circumstances which have a recent history of division. Morena is a new political party that was born due to a rift among leaders at PRD. Morena founder and leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) ran twice for president as PRD candidate — losing both elections by a narrow margin. Back in 2013, he wanted to post himself for a third time as candidate much to the opposition of the leaders of the PRD, a group of politicians whose first name is Jesús and are still nicknamed “Los Chuchos.”

By that time, “Los Chuchos” had been charmed by President Enrique Peña Nieto who brought them into his fold to integrate a national political unity program named “Pact For Mexico.” This irked the more radical following AMLO had within the PRD; they eloped to form Morena in 2013.

The covenant “Los Chuchos” (Jesús Zambrano and Jesús Ortega, among several other PRD leaders) pact with Peña Nieto proved to be pure poison for their political organization. Slowly throngs of PRD members began moving to Morena as “Los Chuchos” began striking deals such as forming political alliances with PAN, which proved too much for them as PRD and PAN had been perennial ideological foes.

But it was not just members making the exodus from PRD to Morena. Just last April a group of 14 out of 19 PRD senators decided to quit PRD and showed allegiance to AMLO. Suddenly, the presence PRD had been having in the senate was wiped out and went to Morena, leaving PRD in a position of being a rag tag political party on its way out.

Yet last Sunday’s election proved that PRD is not yet a political corpse, as its candidate for governor in the State of Mexico did pretty well, considering that when he started campaigning early in April he only had nine percent of the vote, according to polls. Finishing in third place, even with just 17 percent of the total vote, sounded like a victory to candidate Juan Zepeda, who over and over again bragged about his “feat” of having come from behind to defeat even PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota, who finished in a notoriously embarrassing fourth place with a mere 11 percent of the total electoral tally.

With last Sunday’s elections left behind, now the question is what does the future hold for the Mexican left?

Nowadays pundits and observers are spending buckets of ink pointing out the shortcomings AMLO has shown, but reality tells a very different story of enormous success.

In barely two years, AMLO has managed to put together a tremendous political machine even if it was very much at the expense of diminishing PRD. The show of power in last Sunday’s elections was admirable and now the nation’s youngest party represents a veritable threat to other competitors.

But the real question is if Morena and PRD learned from last Sunday’s elections that taught them that divided they shall fail.