The Governor of Sinaloa and member of the ruling Morena Party, Rubén Rocha Moya, called the march being organized by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) after the massive demonstration against the reform he has promoted on the National Electoral Institute (INE) a “revenge”. This expression, in boxing slang, can only come from a defeated adversary. If in the Morena imaginary this is experienced as a defeat, it is because the scope of the demonstration against the reform and the President himself not only impressed but was also perceived by many pro-government leaders as the decline of the political boss and of the idyllic Fourth Transformation.
Some official leaders, however, have chosen to deny the facts. Mexico City’s Secretary of Government, Martí Batres, basically reduced the mobilization to 10,000 or 12,000 attendees. Perhaps he minimized it thinking of the effect it could have on Claudia Sheinbaum’s eventual presidential candidacy and on his own if he aspires to relieve his current boss. Even President López Obrador himself downplayed the great march on the city that was once the unchallenged bastion of the left.
However, the alarm bells in the National Palace went off and the Government has been looking for ways to control the damage caused by the massive demonstration and its international media coverage. However, when López Obrador was expected to take a step back to relaunch a State vision, he had no better idea than to mobilize his bases to march in response.
This maneuver by the President is based on weakness and this will be evidenced. First, the Government will have to put at its service all the necessary public resources to fill the Mexico City Zócalo. Furthermore, while in the act against the Government’s reform, the speech about the risks of continuing the route taken against the electoral system, the INE, and democracy was given by the renowned academic and politician José Woldenberg, the one who will give the speech in the official mobilization will be the President himself, sending a message along propagandistic lines. Finally, while the opposition’s march defended institutions and democracy, AMLO’s march will defend his achievements.
This suggests that the president, who feels cornered and is losing his capacity for political reaction, is appealing to the incessant increase in polarization. In fact, he has labeled the attendees of the massive mobilization as “wishy-washy”, cynical and corrupt.
Such a polarizing discourse, however, is generating fractures within Morena Party. The group surrounding Senator Ricardo Monreal has said that, although he will probably attend the President’s rally, he is against the “regression in the INE”.
But beyond the differences within the ruling party, the revenge does not bode well for the head of state. He will arrive at the contest with a “truncheon” but hurt and without reflexes, and above all, without having developed an effective strategy to fight.
There are those who say that this is just one more fight for President López Obrador, that his path is full of symbolic victories, and that more (and decisive) battles for the future of the country are to come.
In fact, the struggle is being staged in the Congress of the Union where legislative forces are being measured, whether for the constitutional reform in electoral matters or for the reform of the secondary law. In 2023, the race will be to elect three new electoral counselors.
In addition, elections will be held in the State of Mexico and Coahuila, until today governed by the PRI, where López Obrador is desperately seeking victory for Morena. The trends seem to favor him. However, the serious issue is not that he wins, but that what happened in other states where the coalition “Together we make history” has won due to the unpunished actions of organized crime will be repeated.
Whatever the future results may be, what is certain is that there is a citizen insurgency that goes beyond the parties and their characters and that today leads the entire opposition to reflect in order to define their strategies and future actions.
Clearly, at this time, the opposition seems to be smarter than the National Palace’s group that bets everything on media confrontation. Although this strategy is strengthened among those addicted to “Obradorism”, it is detracted by its opponents, which have won the streets.
In short, the march that has been organized by the President, seen in the key of revenge, as pointed out by the Governor of Sinaloa, does not seem to be a viable option, as it reveals a President who is losing his capability to read the situation and thus make better decisions.
*Translated from Spanish by Janaína Ruviaro da Silva