by Antonio Salgado Borge
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has celebrated, with a smile from ear to ear, the possibility that Lili Téllez will be the opposition’s presidential candidate in 2024. His happiness is well founded. It’s hard to find a more promising electoral scenario for the president’s party.
With the far-right sword in one hand and the populist shield in the other, Lili Téllez has managed to lead almost all serious polls evaluating the approval of potential PAN candidates. He is followed by Santiago Creel, a staunch PAN politician of this century. As the current scenario stands, if there is no internal regulation that harms it, the Tellez will be close to eating the PAN and, consequently, the PRI and the PRD, the wagons that the PAN locomotives will pull.
The fact that a clown, populist and far-right figure out the main Mexican right-wing party with his guts is neither new nor surprising. The same phenomenon has happened in the United States, with Donald Trump, or with Matteo Salvini in Italy. If anything, it is surprising that this happened so late in Mexico.
Pointing to this experience, one could argue that AMLO’s taunts reflect an overabundance of confidence. Finally, many of the right-wing buffoons who have colonized their party in other parts of the world have shunned the presidency.
However, it seems to me that AMLO has two good reasons to see the rise of Lily Tellez as a turning point.
The first reason is the close link between his speech and right-wing populism. The opposition does not have much to offer in 2024. We are actually looking at the same group of people who ruled the country and various states for decades; That is, in front of the same politicians who were roundly rejected in 2018 and who continue to be widely rejected according to all polls (until they moved to Morena).
But we are not only faced with the same infamous group of people. We are also faced with the same set of discredited ideas and proposals. The only thing the opposition alliance promises is a return to the pre-AMLO status quo; A return that the population, in general terms, does not even remotely want.
In this context, the card that the opposition may continue to play in 2024 is to allege that despite its corruption, terrible governance and lack of project, a vote for it is a vote in favor of liberalism or a vote against populism that destroys democracy. erases.
Or, to put it another way, the best, if not the only, card available to the opposition today is to present the following dilemma to the public: If you want the institutions that support liberal democracy to survive, we must vote; If you want his erosion to continue, go and vote for the president’s party.
But this possibility is immediately taken off the table when the opposition presidential candidacy is filled by a right-wing populist. And it is that those who fall into this category are also characterized by an anti-liberal discourse. It is no coincidence that its main model is Viktor Orban’s anti-democratic and anti-authoritarian Hungary.
None of the likes of Murray would come across as anti-liberal when standing next to Lily Tellez. Therefore, the eventual candidacy of this policy would remove any electoral risk to the possibility that Murray’s candidate rides the populist horse and seeks to replicate the formula used by AMLO (something that, honestly, I hope this does not happen).
In defense of Lili Téllez, one can respond that AMLO fertilized and sowed the populist conspiracy, whereas the two men most likely to be Murray’s candidate did not have the personal conditions to reap what was sown, this candidate Could have done this.
But it must be answered that Lily Tellez has arrived in this race late and badly. AMLO has successfully occupied the structural space of narrative, media and populism in Mexico. The president meets practically all the elements that characterize contemporary populism and, although he will not be the candidate, many people will vote him through Murray again in 2024.
In this context, the only resort to right-wing populism available to Lili Tellez would be to sound the alarm of communism. If Tellez is the candidate, we’ll be hearing this speech dozens of times. The problem for the opposition is that no one in their right mind at this point believes that Mexico can become “communist” (as far as I know, only sympathizers of the far-right FRENAAA movement can). refer to; although it is clearly doubtful that they understand the meaning of the term).
We have seen that the weight of the shield of right-wing populism can overwhelm the opposition and Lily Tellez. We need to review the effectiveness of their predictable use of the sword of the far-right.
Let us note that a fundamental feature of the extreme right and its populist representatives is their anti-Vokista banner. The term “Voc”, which means to wake up in Spanish, is used to refer to a vision that puts social justice first, and is particularly associated with a progressive and liberal outlook. For example, a wake rejects the oppressive and supposedly natural traditional social order, celebrates gender diversity, opposes discrimination of any kind on the basis of caste, embraces feminism, and climate change. Expresses concern about the crisis.
As ridiculous as it may sound, many people with right-wing sympathies take the word “woke” as an insult. For the purposes of this analysis, what is important is that for some radical right-wing parties and politicians the strategy of demonizing vocism has been relatively successful and this type of crusade is now part of the argumentative deck, for example, the two main Candidate for the presidency of the Vox party in the United States or Spain.
Unfortunately for Lili Téllez—and unfortunately for many progressive and liberal people in Mexico as well—neither Murray nor AMLO meet the conditions needed to wake up. In the best of cases, the president and his party have preferred to navigate ambiguity and uncertainty when it comes to subscribing to progressive principles. As a result, what would have been one of the main weapons of the ultra-right has been canceled from its origins.
To this we must add that, even if it were not so, anti-vocismo is clearly insufficient. In countries such as Spain, this type of discourse accounts for a majority of the voting percentage closer to 10%, and although in the United States fearing the whirlwind of Wokism has been successful for those seeking to obtain the Republican candidacy, it is unlikely that it will. will be effective. in an open election. Furthermore, it may well be argued that, especially in the face of the youth market, apparently the most liberal and progressive, this strategy may be counterproductive.
Lily Tellez is currently the most valuable opposition ex-candidate. His person and speech stand out in a group dominated by politicians and ideas that the population in Mexico clearly repeats.
But it could always be worse. If she were the opposition candidate in 2024, Lili Téllez would present herself with the populist shield in one hand and the far-right sword in the other. Neither of these instruments has any realistic chance of being successful electorally next year; In contrast, both are heavy ballasts that will sink more left to right in Mexico.
It’s easy to understand why the president celebrates and smiles.