Could This Happen Here?

The Mexican election controversy is growing more heated in the streets. As the LA Times reports,

Runner-up presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told thousands of supporters Sunday that he would step up his civil disobedience campaign, starting with a mass rally today in front of the election tribunal that rejected his demand for a national recount. After a week of living on the street and enduring nightly rainstorms, many protesters waiting for Lopez Obrador to appear at Sunday’s rally were angry over the tribunal’s decision. Some chanted, “Airport! Airport!” calling for a blockade of streets surrounding Mexico City’s international airport. Others yelled for a takeover of the congressional building or of the National Palace, the official seat of the executive branch. Some suggested a boycott of businesses allegedly in league against Lopez Obrador. For a few minutes, the rally had the trappings of a town hall meeting. Jesusa Rodriguez, an actress coordinating entertainment at the street camps, responded to the calls for more dramatic actions against the government from the giant stage set up in the Zocalo. “Violence is the easy way; that’s what they use,” she said over the massive public address system. “We have to use our heads…. In peaceful civil resistance, people have to ask, ‘What is the best idea?’ … You have to think of consequences.” When Lopez Obrador finally took the stage, two hours after the rally was to begin, he covered familiar themes: the election was corrupt, the government is corrupt, and the future of Mexico is at stake. Then he asked the crowd to support a rally in front of the tribunal offices.

Given the closeness of recent elections here and the contentiousness that has developed in debates over election reform, I am beginning to wonder if something like this could happen in the U.S. in the future.