Porfirio Diaz declared to the foreign press (Creelman 1908) that Mexico was ready for democracy. One hundred years later, democracy is still not ready for Mexico. While we continue to trip on our shoelaces on the eve of the midterm elections, the presidential race is beginning in the U.S. It’s likely that it will come down to the Bushes and Clintons again, making one question the example of the great Western democracy, which looks more like an inheritable aristocratic monarchy than the republic its founding fathers had imagined.
The Bush and Clinton families have been tenants of the White House for 20 years, apart from their years as vice president (George H. W. Bush), secretary of state (Hillary Clinton) and governor of Arkansas (Bill Clinton), Texas (George W. Bush) and Florida (Jeb Bush).
Hillary will represent the Democrats despite some things against her: her age (69), conflicts of interest, the fixation on her personal appearance, her questionable response to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, and the transparency of her personal finances. Martin O’Malley (governor of Maryland) and Senator Bernie Sanders are also Democratic candidates.
Things are more complicated in the Republican Party. The list starts with Jeb Bush and goes on: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham and Jim Webb.
When there are presidential elections in the U.S., the question in Mexico is who would be better for us. It’s difficult to answer, but ideologically speaking it should be the Democrats, though some Republicans haven’t been such bad neighbors. One thing is for certain: The Latino vote is in the interest of both parties. Marco Rubio, for example, a son of Cuban parents, with his waitress mother and bartender father, could defeat Hillary in Florida, which accounts for 29 electoral votes, a decisive factor. But Rubio would concede many other votes to Hillary as not all Latinos will vote for him. Mexicans, Caribbean [peoples] and South Americans in the U.S. are quite removed from the Cuban-Americans, who are more American than Cuban.
Closest to Mexico is Jeb Bush, who is married to a Mexican and who, when asked to describe himself, went as far as to say he was “Hispanic.” Speaking Spanish well and eating enchiladas in your home doesn’t make you a member of a minority. Another Republican that Latinos love is Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, who visited Pena Nieto and Rafael Moreno Valle and even ate tacos at El Caminero.
Mrs. Clinton’s connection with Mexico is Julian Castro, secretary of Vivienda, former mayor of San Antonio, who plans to run as vice president with Hillary. Castro is effectively the son of Mexican parents and has a twin brother who is a member of the House of Representatives. A few years ago, during Julian’s mayoral campaign, he had two important events overlap. He got the bright idea to ask his identical twin Joaquin to take his place at one event while he attended the other. In the end they were discovered and had to ask for forgiveness. It’s highly likely that they throw that in his face when he gets to the big leagues and that his Hispanic background is discovered to be a mere political play. Castro is the ethnic mascot of the Democratic Party. He ought to at least learn a few words in Spanish or sing some rancheras like Ted Kennedy did (SEE HERE).
While it’ll take nine months for a new American president to be born, Mexico faces its own midterm elections, which are as uncertain as our democracy is strange. In the U.S., the candidates will at least have time to learn to sing a ranchera.
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