Democracy in Mexico?

Well, which side are we on?

My guess, for what little it’s worth, is that the polices of the PRD would be bad for Mexican economic development, which would make them bad for the United States. But it’s more than a guess that if the PRI and the PAN carry through with their current plan of forming an unholy alliance to keep the PRD from running its strongest candidate, Mexican democracy will have lost most of the ground it gained six years ago when the PAN, under Vicente Fox, broke the PRI monopoly on power. I think most American liberals thought — I certainly thought — that despite the PAN’s Falangist roots and the air of religious fanaticism that hung around it, Fox’s victory was good for Mexico.

I’m curious to hear what American conservatives have to say about a situation where the democratic choice of the Mexican people wouldn’t be to their liking. I can already guess what the right-wing radicals running the govenment are going to say, and do: pabulum, and nothing.

Note that this is one case where the U.S. has enormous potential power, if we choose to use it discreetly; if the word gets through to the Mexican business class that authoritarianism is bad for trade, the PRI and the PAN will figure out a way to make Sr. Lopez Obrador’s legal troubles disappear.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com