Sunday, July 09, 2006

Mexico 2006:where the air is not so clear

from today's Cursor:

As Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vows to challenge the official election results and his supporters demand a full recount "vote by vote, ballot box by ballot box," Felipe Calderon, the proclaimed winner of the Mexican elections, insists in an interview with the Financial Times that "the box must not be opened."

Eugene Robinson sees evidence that Lopez Obrador has "studied the playbook from the Florida debacle in 2000," Greg Palast remarks on some familiar discrepancies in the official tallies before booking a flight to Mexico City, and it's reported that bloggers and 'math geeks' are analyzing data for evidence of fraud.

from Saturday's Salon:

"Mexico 2006: Florida all over again?" Members of Mexico's losing leftist party are invoking America's recent electoral scandals to convince the world that last Sunday's presidential election was fixed. by Eliza Barclay

Although I note that Calderon, the presumptive winner, is generally regarded as the establishment candidate, I don't pretend to have any idea who won the Mexican presidential election. But I do know that the democrats owe it to themselves to talk about it in reference to US elections, insofar as election results can often yield questionable results, and Kerry's go-along-to-get-along silence complicity in the fall of 2004 only served to reinforce Americans' perceptions that Florida 2000 was a fluke, and (far more importantly)that there is no great need to be concerned about whether or not electronic voting machines here in the US are sufficiently regulated and monitored. Yes, the technical variables are different in the Mexican election-- the issue is not primarily computerized voting machines. It doesn't matter.

One (or more) of the big name democrats needs to start making some noise about it, as there is no reason to believe that any congressional GOP pols will do so. The moment someone like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden starts to talk about it apropo of the Mexican election, the US national press will swing into high gear to point out how the situation is different in Mexico, and they'll still procede to knock Obrador, as if they're Pavlov's beltway dogs, hearing a secret whistle only they can hear. (And if they use the same rhetorical tropes in 2008 to knock domestic high tech voting malfeasance, it will only serve to underscore the hostility and insularity of the national press, if they subsequently get called on it.)

On the other hand, if the democratic presidential candidate in November of '08 is a marquee dem(like, say, Hillary) and she says nothing about the issue in 2006 or 2007, then loses by a hair in 11/08 and then starts griping, large numbers of people will just say it's sour grapes and, in that context, understandably so.