Javier A. Becerril
Titel: Why does the electorate vote for formerly failed parties? – the case of Mexico
Back in 2012, Peña Nieto was elected as the Mexican president being involved in many controversies. From a media scandal involving his allegedly illegally funded campaign, to accusations of severe human rights violations while he was governor; going through the fact that his party (PRI) was just displaced two periods before after being in power for over seven decades, diving authoritarian practices such as clientelism, repression and corruption. While it is challenging to explain the generalized support for Peña Nieto back in 2012, academics argue that the most important factors in the mind of the electorate were the negative state of the economy and the sharp escalation of violence driven by the “Drug War”. However, the mentioned causes do not explain the 2015 mid-term federal election’s results, where the PRI obtained a wide majority in congress despite violence increase, assassination of journalists and economic stagnation. This PRI consolidation in power (presidential and parliamentary control) is rather likely to be a reinvigoration of the old dominant party under new democratic circumstances where electoral choice as a mechanism for punishing (or rewarding) officials is available, leading to the inquiry whether the electorate decided democratically for the formerly failed party in the congressional elections, and to the often neglected issue of citizen support for corrupt governments.
The main interest of this research is to analyze the impact that partisan ideological alternatives and patron-client networks have on the electorate when voting for a formerly failed party, based on the assumption that citizens normally elect politicians through a process of rational choice where maximization behavior is present (as profit maximization) to satisfy rational consistencies. At the same time, variables such as violence increase, economic performance, emigration rates and criminality (among others) –commonly identified to be determinants– are intended to be discharged as causal mechanisms for electing governments.
It is argued then, that as long as there are no “effective partisan ideology alternatives” –understanding this as the availability of one or more parties with similar ideology during the same elections– and/or capitalization of public resources for clientelist practices by the party in office at the domestic states level (provinces or secondary level of government), corruption cases (even in the highest governmental cupola) are not relevant for the electorate, so, in order to effectively fight corruption through elections, a greater offer of effective ideology parties in all relevant points of the political spectrum shall be present by the hand of independent public budget audit organisms.