Al Gore for President of Mexico

The lead continues to change in Mexico’s tight presidential race, with conservative candidate Felipe Calderon apparently holding a slight edge. Twelve hours ago, we had this headline from Reuters: “Leftist has surprise lead in Mexico recount drama.” As of 7 a.m., AP has it: “Conservative leads in Mexico vote recount.”

The two front-runners in Mexico’s closest presidential race in history watched anxiously Thursday as an overnight vote tally recount saw the conservative candidate Felipe Calderon catch up to his leftist rival and pass him by a razor-thin margin.

Hundreds of Calderon supporters gathered at his campaign headquarters cheered wildly with the news as the ruling-party candidate — who was shown winning by 1 percentage point in the preliminary count completed earlier in the week — emerged once again to declare victory. “We are ahead in the election for the presidency, and the remaining votes to be counted will be in our favor,” a smiling Calderon said to applause and whistles from his followers.

His opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, remained holed up at his home awaiting the final vote count.

With nearly 98 percent of the vote tallies recounted, Calderon had 35.62 percent of the vote, while Lopez Obrador had 35.57. It was the first time since counting began early Wednesday that Calderon held the lead. Mexico’s electoral officials said they would not announce any tendencies until the full count was completed. Both campaigns insisted throughout the day that they would triumph when the final numbers came in, but asked their supporters to refrain from violence whatever the result.

As we know from our own experience, whatever the outcome–even if the guy who “won” on the original count also “wins” on the recount–the losing side will never be satisfied with the election’s legitimacy. Therefore, I offer a modest proposal that should make everybody happy: They should give it to Al Gore.

For one thing, he really, really wants to be president. He came really, really close in 2000 and actually got more votes than George Bush. It turns out that he got more votes than Calderon and Oberon, too, not to mention a higher percentage. Gore speaks a little Spanish. From an ideological perspective, he’s probably somewhere in between Calderon and Oberon. And his name’s really easy to pronounce.

Sure, he didn’t actually run in this contest. But Mexicans are used to irregularities in their electoral process. Not to mention gringos from el Norte sticking their nose in their business. It could work.

Mark Moore, who actually lives in Mexico, has nothing on the budding Gore groundswell. He does, however, have up-to-the-minute details on the recount and other goings-on.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    I love the title.
    When I drew this comparison elsewhere in my travels yesterday, I was told I was being ‘paranoid’. (Chuckle)

  2. Could we also make them a deal on some gently used congress critters to round out the modest proposal? It would be a win win as the ones I have in mind could then proudly point to not being involved with Iraq. Perhaps we could sweeten the deal with a ‘newspaper of record’, a former national TV news anchor, a band who isn’t to keen on patriotism and a protester who won’t eat to much.

    Of course the win on our side would be the border enforcement measures sailing through congress to prevent any unauthorized returns.

  3. Mexican (Spanish – it’s the same in Spain) names can be a bit confusing. It’s not Obrador, that’s his mother’s maiden name. It’s López Obrador, López, or AMLO. Some Spanish speakers commonly include their mother’s maiden name in their full name, like AMLO, others, like Felipe Calderon, do not. However, the mother’s family name must be included in any official documentation, like birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses and the like. Hence, Felipe Calderon’s voter registration card will state his name as Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. It is also quite common for women in the public eye to be identified by their maiden names, rather than their married names. All quite confusing.

  4. Whoops. Your HTML can’t handle the Spanish inflection. It should read Lopez.