Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, and Elections

As Daniel Drezner notes, Mexico’s electoral tribunal has ordered a partial recount in the country’s recent presidential election, falling short of demands by left-leaning presidential candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador for a full recount:

In Mexico City’s central Zocalo square, thousands of Mr Lopez Obrador’s supporters chanted “Vote-by-vote!” as they watched the tribunal’s session on a huge screen.

Protesters blocked the entrance to the tribunal, after the decision was announced.

“If there is no solution, there’ll be revolution,” they shouted.

Representatives of Mr Lopez Obrador walked out of the tribunal’s session in protest.

Mr Lopez Obrador has challenged the election result, saying the vote was rigged.

He has said he will not accept a partial recount, raising fears of prolonged public unrest.

What may be most disturbing about this dispute is not that López Obrador has asked for a recount, but instead his argument that a full recount is necessary to “restore faith in Mexico’s electoral system.”

Given that most Mexicans would have had more faith in the electoral system had he not made a big deal of incredibly weak evidence supporting his allegations of fraud, it seems to me that López Obrador could easily do much to “restore faith” in the system by graciously accepting the partial recount and pledging to abide by the final result of that recount, much as Al Gore and Richard Nixon (unlike some of their more rabid fellow partisans) accepted the outcome of the 2000 and 1960 presidential elections in the face of similar irregularities.

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Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.

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