After the State of Mexico (Edo-Mex) candidates for governor closed their campaign last Sunday, just about every political pundit is making the same prediction. That is, that should Delfina Gómez Álvarez, candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), win, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) would be placed on a direct and indisputable route to win the presidency of Mexico during the 2018 elections.
Yes, a defeat of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza could mean “a mortal blow” — as one put it — because PRI would lose the source of its financing at Edo-Mex, which permitted it to survive the 2000-2012 period when it was out of the presidency.
Would it lose the 2018 presidential candidacy to AMLO’s National Rejuvenation Movement political party? Again, everyone says it would, but up front I can forecast that the 2018 presidential race has not even started to venture any guessing. Why jumpstart the process? Well, pundits love doing this sort of thing.
But who said PRI was going to lose the Edo-Mex governorship? Surely a lot of people still have candidate Alfredo del Mazo Maza leading the polls with 34 percent, Delfina Gómez of Morena running in a strong second with 29 percent, Juan Zepeda of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) with 19 percent and National Action Party (PAN) candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota way down with 12 percent. It may not be a landslide PRI victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Yet the real contender in this election has been AMLO’s Morena, which has been stumping for Delfina Gómez’s candidacy as it was his own. Indeed the future of this young political organization — barely two years old — is very much depending on a victory at Edo-Mex to keep on growing and eventually gain the national coverage status AMLO is aiming at.
Truth be told, the performance of Morena in Edo-Mex has been stupendous, to say the least. It has had to contend — unlike any other party — against the powerful political machinery in Edo-Mex, which has been in place since 1940 and has been the piggy bank of more than several presidents. If you doubt it, you can ask Peña Nieto himself. So whether it wins or loses, Morena has contended with décor and coming up with a totally unforeseen voting power surge.
Another party that surprisingly has done well attracting voters is PRD. Candidate Juan Zepeda has just undergone a power struggle with none other than AMLO himself, who asked Zepeda, a former AMLO supporter, to quit running and throw his support behind Delfina Gómez Álvarez in a move to unite the left-wing vote.
Zepeda responded that it should be Gómez Álvarez who should resign her Morena candidacy and throw her vote behind him. Of course, this will definitely send the two left wing candidates to fight for a now divided left wing vote that may eventually make both of them lose. We’ll see that on Sunday night.
Still, Zepeda has meant a fresh breath of air to the nearly defunct PRD and perhaps a valuable leader for whatever future PRD may have left.
Last, and least, is the PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota who is now the laughing stock of Mexican press cartoonists. Josefina ran for president in the 2012 election to come way back on a distant third place. Now, in the relatively minor Edo-Mex election, she’s the absolute underdog. A cartoonist at La Jornada Monday caricatures her with a sign that reads: “Candidate for hire … to lose elections.” That says it all about Josefina.
Keep in mind that Edo-Mex is not the only state with elections next Sunday. In the states of Coahuila and Nayarit the opponents of PRI are leading in the polls, and in the state of Veracruz there are municipal elections state wide. For sure PRI will be the surefire loser given the stele of corruption left by former PRI governor and Peña Nieto protégée Javier Duarte, now in detention in Guatemala waiting extradition.
The question again is will results in these four state limited elections affect the 2018 presidential ones?
Not likely, even if every pundit in Mexico thinks so.