July 3, 2006

WHAT AL GORE DID TO DEMOCRACY:

Mexican election too close to name winner (The Washington Post and The Associated Press, 7/03/06)

Mexico's presidential election was too close to call Sunday, with voters bitterly divided between a leftist offering himself as a savior to the poor and a conservative warning that his rival's free-spending proposals threaten the economy.

Officials said they wouldn't be able to declare a winner until at least Wednesday in the election, which has major implications for the United States.

Felipe Calderón, 43, of outgoing President Vicente Fox's National Action Party, had been running an exceedingly close race with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 52, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. The Institutional Revolutionary Party's Roberto Madrazo, 53, had been trailing in third place.

López Obrador said late Sunday that he would respect the delay in declaring a winner, "but I want the Mexican people to know that our figures show we won."

López Obrador said his party's exit polls showed he had won by 500,000 votes.

Calderón spoke minutes later, saying he, too, will respect the results but that the official preliminary results, as well as the exit polls, show he's the winner.

"We have no doubt that we have won," he said.

The specter of the two sides claiming victory and calling street protests hangs over Mexico's young democracy, key to U.S. interests in border security, immigration and drug smuggling.


It wasn't easy, but Al Gore not only acted with less honor than Richard Nixon but did lasting damage in the process.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 3, 2006 8:21 AM
Comments

And all those who advocate dumping the Electoral College will get to see what we are in for if they get their way. Not that those people are paying attention, because they've "moved on" to some other cause, and never bother to let reality intrude into their perfect fantasies.

(But maybe I should express my own ignorance, as I don't know: does Mexico use a pure popular vote system, or do they have an Electoral College equivalent?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 3, 2006 9:47 AM

According to a Mexican-oriented blog (link at Instapundit), Calderon is over 400,000 votes ahead of the leftist candidate, but there are almost 800,000 'annulled' ballots. A striking union in the south has already kidnapped a provincial governor. Interesting times ahead.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 3, 2006 11:14 AM

Corruption being what it is in Mexico, for the conservative candidate to be this close in the official count, he must have really won very handily. The left isn't going to give up this pot of gold without a fight.

Wonder what resources there are for contesting the count?

Posted by: erp at July 3, 2006 2:47 PM

Brilliant observation. Ineed, it's rather sobering to compare the Reagan/Bush 43 effect on world democracy with the Carter/Gore effect. And Gore was never president. In his own way, he may go down in history as the most -- and one of the only -- significant vice-presidents in US history. Surreal.

To cite another example of the destructive "Precedent Gore" effect on elections around the world, see the 2004 Taiwan Presidential elections. The close-but-no-cigar loser tried to steal it, accusing impropriety and throwing the country into crisis. Like his mentor Al Gore, Lien Chan failed.

Recall Clinton was known as "The Comeback Kid." Gore has unbelievably coined an even more memorable handle: "The Don't Come Back, Kid."

Posted by: Brother Qiao at July 3, 2006 3:00 PM
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