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Column 110512 Wall

Monday, November 5, 2012

Who Do Mexicans Support in the U.S. Presidential Election?

By Allan Wall

Mexico holds presidential elections every six years, and the United States every four years.  Thus, every 12 years the countries have elections the same year.  It's exciting, and provides a lot of grist for the mill of the media.

This year's Mexican presidential election was won by PRI challenger Enrique Peña Nieto, who is scheduled to take office on December 1st.  The transition is proceeding, with the full cooperation of incumbent President Felipe Calderon.

The U.S. presidential election is scheduled for November 6th.  It pits Republican challenger Mitt Romney against Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.  Whoever wins is scheduled to take office in January of 2013.

Given the power and influence of the U.S. in world affairs, the press in other countries follows U.S. politics to a certain extent, and Mexico is no exception.  People in Mexico are interested in our elections, though some are only aware superficially of what is going on in their neighbor to the north.

If Mexicans could decide the U.S. election, who would win, Obama or Romney?  This question has been polled in Mexico, and Obama was the winner as he is in most countries that are polled on this question.

One prominent Mexican who has endorsed Barack Obama is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the runner-up in the 2008 and 2012 Mexican elections (who refused to concede either).  AMLO has endorsed Obama, and has excoriated the Republicans for "racism against the immigrants."

Quoth Lopez Obrador, "I would like it to go well for Obama, because the Republicans have shown that they do not want/love our fellow Mexicans, they support the heavy hand, racism and bad treatment."

As a Republican myself, I don't agree with AMLO.  I've known of the Republicans' bad reputation in Mexico since I resided there. It's not fair but it's a reality.

Immigration is always a big issue in Mexican-U.S. relations, but I'm not sure the circle can be squared there.  After all, anything the United States does to secure its border will be criticized in Mexico. Basically, the Mexican media and political class don't want the U.S. to control its own border with Mexico.

Everybody in Mexico doesn't support Obama, however.  Pundit Luis Rubio recently penned a column entitled, "Obama, Romney y México" in which he endorsed Romney.  Here are some excerpts: "The national [Mexican] commentariat has a natural inclination toward the Democratic candidates, and it's stronger this time.  President Obama radiates an enormous attractiveness, almost a magnetism, and has a personality that inspires as much by his story as for being the first black president of his country.  Romney, on the other hand, has been presented in the media, both there and here, as a radical right-wing extremist.  The last few weeks have shown that neither of these perceptions is very true.  Beyond ideological preferences and personality, my concern and perspective is more over the potential impact of each of the two options on the Mexican economy."

Rubio continues:  "I have never understood the Mexican propensity to prefer Democratic candidates over Republicans, mostly because, beyond the rhetoric, there is no evidence that some are better for our interests.  In what is related to political and legislative issues (such as migratory affairs, narcotics and weapons) the influence of a U.S. president is relatively minor....  In contrast, the impact of the American economy over ours can be dramatic, and that doesn't depend on benevolence toward Mexico but the conjunction of institutional and presidential actions oriented to their own development and well-being."

Rubio explains that he sees Romney as being better for the U.S. economy, and thus better for Mexico.  Rubio writes that Romney's "...professional experience consists in carrying out restructuring of businesses, transforming broke entities into profitable and successful projects....  Romney offers at least the possibility of focusing on what is transcendent and susceptible of giving an impulse to the growth of our economy...."

Rubio is not completely convinced by Romney, but the pundit sees a Romney presidency as being much more likely to improve the U.S. economy than another Obama term.  That's Rubio's opinion.

On November 6th, it's the turn of the American people.  And at this stage it looks too close to call.

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info/.

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