Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Future of the Left: More of the Same

This week, Bajo Reserva published a column on Ebrard's definitive break with AMLO:
LO SIGUIÓ durante una década, le pagó con creces el apoyo con el que lo impulsó a la candidatura para la jefatura de Gobierno del DF (bueno, hasta contratos irregulares le extendió a su círculo cercano). Se hizo a un lado cuando se debatió la candidatura presidencial. Pero Marcelo Ebrard inició ayer su deslinde de Andrés Manuel López Obrador con una frase impecable: la ley me obliga a respetar la decisión del tribunal federal electoral. No faltarán los fans del tabasqueño que le quieran cobrar a Marcelo lo que estimarán una afrenta. Como sea, es el principio del fin entre ambos personajes.  
I guess it depends on what you mean by definitive, but I don't think this marks in any way a break with the dynamic that has held Ebrard back lo these many years. (Or at the very least two years or so.) That is, Ebrard didn't break with AMLO in the past not because the time hadn't come yet, but because AMLO retains veto power over a divided left. He can call it a break now, but AMLO's power is still such that Ebrard won't enjoy the support of a united left unless AMLO decides to cede it to him, and there's no evidence that he will. To wit: Bajo Reserva and other sources have also reported that AMLO was considering forming his own party. Essentially, Ebrard would be able to take over the PRD, but he just won't be able to win the presidency with it as long as AMLO refuses to step aside.

Nothing lasts forever, and six years is a long time in politics, so it's certainly not a given that AMLO will spike Ebrard's chances in 2018. Nonetheless, knowing what we know about the principals, the scenarios in which this doesn't happen are less plausible than the ones in which it does.


Mexfiles said...

I take it you wrote this before AMLO's speech on Sunday. What I take away is that there will either be a "current" within the broader left, or a reformed MORENA-PT coalition party within the broader left. PRD, like any large political party, is a coalition of interests and social groups and, much as Ebrard does have strong backing, his "Euro-socialst" outlook (which is what I think makes him more "acceptable" to outsiders than AMLO) doesn't always play well outside DF and a few other areas.

In some ways, this makes for a stronger left... allowing for flexibility in running leftist candidates where one or the other of the main currents has the advantage. Then again, it also simplifies the circular firing squad the left indulges in regularly down to pistols at 20 paces.

pc said...

I did indeed write this before the announcement. I'm really uncertain as to how this plays out. I don't think this forces a changes to the underlying dynamic that we just saw last year: AMLO has veto power over the presidential selection. It'll depend how it unfolds, I suppose. I don't think a stronger left is impossible in the short term, and in the medium term I think it's likely. But if I were betting, I'd probably throw my money on a divided left in 2018.