Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mexican Counts

The Mexican Federal Electoral Institute announced today that conservative candidate Filipe Calderon is the expected winner of the country’s presidential election.

With 97.98% of polling stations reporting, the preliminary count indicated that Calderon had 36.37% of the vote while leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had 35.37%. Mexico has a “first past the post” system for presidential elections; the candidate with the most votes wins, even if that candidate did not receive a majority of the votes cast. There is no runoff.

The preliminary count is not final and binding. It is based on sophisticated statistical sampling. A hand count of the ballots begins Wednesday, and Lopez Obrador has vowed to mount a vigorous challenge, with recounts and court filings.

A presidential candidate who demands a recount demonstrates that he does not deserve to hold the office. In demanding a recount, a presidential candidate single-handedly hampers the operation and transition of the government, creates endemic uncertainty, encourages foreign and domestic enemies, destabilizes the financial markets and otherwise puts his personal ambition above the good of the nation he swore to serve. Demanding a recount is pure vanity, with an entire nation forced to play the part of the reflecting pond to the candidate’s Narcissus.

Al Gore’s demand for a recount in 2000 created a tedious script which we will have to watch being re-played for decades. From now on, every Republican presidential victory will be met by the loser’s proxies scrambling into court to invalidate the winning ballots, and Al Sharpton & Co. rumbling ominously but vaguely that minorities had been disenfranchised in the pivotal jurisdiction. Republican presidents-elect will as a matter of routine have these accusations, however lacking in evidence, hanging over their victories and reported in detail by a press corps with little else to report between Election Day and the first Cabinet announcement.

Richard Nixon did not demand a re-count in 1960, and if ever a presidential candidate was entitled, it was he. Gore should have shown the same class. But he didn’t, and neither will Lopez Obrador – which is all the more reason he should not be wearing the Mexican presidential sash.



Anonymous OurKid said...

As a daily, devoted reader of "Knife Tricks," I'm troubled by the increasingly political slant of the latest postings -- can we get back to visa difficulties and culture clashes? Peter, I fear that you're starting to tread off-topic! If you keep going like this, "Knife Tricks" is going to get a link on the Drudge Report (which would please you, no doubt, but maybe not readers who would prefer more information on the fine details of your ambitious trek).
Why marginalize your burgeoning audience?

8:03 AM  
Anonymous J. Sanbonmatsu said...

I'm going to throw my hat in with "ourkid" here. Peter, in the interest of consistency, could you please limit your posts to the topic of how you have brow-beaten unsuspecting motorists into dumbfounded disbelief?

11:45 PM  

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