The Mexico Crisis — What If?

There are an array of stories about the problems in Mexico. As the Boston Globe reports today in a great piece that:

Mexico’s electoral tribunal has rejected his call for a recount, dismissed his claims of widespread vote rigging, and is widely expected to declare his rival to be the country’s president-elect. But Andrés Manuel López Obrador does not look like a man who is about to slink into the political shadows. Instead, two months after he lost the official count to Felipe Calderón by a razor-thin margin, López Obrador is stepping up his campaign of “non violent civil resistance” and vowing to challenge the very legitimacy of Mexico’s institutional order for months, if not years, to come.

Such fiery talk has some analysts talking about insurrection, and others fearing a violent right-wing backlash. Even those who predict the movement will fizzle out on its own expect a degree of political chaos at least until the handover of power in December. “We have no respect for their institutions,” López Obrador, the charismatic leftist and former Mexico City mayor, said during one of his recent addresses to supporters manning a huge sit-in protest in Mexico City. “We are going to create our own institutions that belong to the people.”

In the official count of the July 2 poll, López Obrador lost to Calderón of the governing National Action Party by just 244,000 votes — a margin of less than 0.6 percent. The leftist and his supporters of his Democratic Revolution Party cried foul and lodged an appeal in the electoral tribunal. But he has put more effort into protesting on the streets than in the courts.

The protests have gotten to the point that on Friday, President Fox saw the podium taken over when he attempted to make his end of term address to parliment. As the BBC noted,

dozens of Obrador’s deputies took over the podium and prevented President Vicente Fox from making his state-of-the-nation speech. Instead, Mr Lopez Obrador told his followers that he would go ahead and set up what he called a “national democratic convention” in two weeks’ time. He has already hinted at establishing a parallel government.

What if something like this happened in the US? What if the 2006 or 2008 elections are razor sharp and one party or the other refused to end their control of one chamber of Congress or established a shadow presidency? Given the rash of examples internationally of parties doing things like this and the such intense partisanship we have today in Washington, it will be interesting to see if such problems arise here.