Thursday, 21 September 2023
WorldJorge Zepeda Patterson: Marcelo's motives: another hypothesis

Jorge Zepeda Patterson: Marcelo’s motives: another hypothesis

The questions that Marcelo Ebrard has been making to the internal process that Morena follows to choose his presidential candidate cannot be ignored. They constitute a dent in the image of cleanliness and legitimacy that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the party leadership spread with such zeal. However, both have been careful to express the annoyance generated by the former foreign minister’s challenges. Far from making a claim to him, they have sought to negotiate Ebrard’s objections to avoid a disagreement that tarnishes the very probable victory of the leader in the polls, Claudia Sheinbaum. Why does Marcelo do it?

Ebrard’s disagreement with the inevitable charge in favor of Sheinbaum is partly understandable, but only partly. It has been evident for a while that for the bulk of the obradorismo she is the preferred option and it has been noticed in the attitude of governors and party officials. But it is also true that Sheinbaum has so consistently led the vote intention polls, that now López Obrador is the most interested in making the process as clean as possible, since it favors the legitimacy of his standard-bearer. Hence the annoyance with Ebrard’s criticism of the process. Although some of Marcelo’s objections are plausible, it also gives the impression that he has not allowed setbacks attributable to logistical problems to turn them into alleged irregularities originating in bad faith (for example, the hourly delay in the delivery of the ballot that will serve to raise a survey that will take place throughout a whole week). Within the first presidential circle they begin to be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to cast doubt on the process.

Which brings us back to the question. Why does Marcelo do it? In my opinion, there are only one of two options. First, because the former chancellor is convinced that he has a real chance to win the poll and assumes that reducing the margin of rigged interventions increases his chances. He has said time and time again that there is a technical tie between him and Claudia and, if he really believes it, it is plausible that he wants to stop “artificial” aids in favor of his rival, bother who bothers. But assuming this thesis means swallowing a premise that is too thick: how does Marcelo justify the technical draw when for a year the consensus of the polling houses, including some contrary to the obradorismo, give Claudia a categorical advantage and with a tendency to increase, not to be reduced? In a man with Ebrard’s experience, it is not easy to attribute the dose of denial that burning ships entails in the face of such a bizarre possibility. Naivety? inability to assess one’s own situation?

The truth is that what you are risking is not a small thing. Whoever obtains second place in the survey, a position that Marcelo has practically assured, will be appointed coordinator of the Senate for the next six-year term, according to the previous agreement. A leading position with wide operating margins, as it is an autonomous power, the legislature, as opposed to the executive. Ebrard will surely be aware that the fact of being perceived as a boycott factor in the process could lead the President to withdraw the commitment and leave him an orphan. Although less likely, they could also appoint him coordinator of the Senate, but without granting him similar senators, with which he would remain as head in name only, since he would be hostage to the Obrador majority.

The second explanation to understand his harsh criticism of the process would be a supposed breakup plan, as has been said so many times. According to this thesis, Marcelo would be raising the tone of the irregularities to support a complaint of the results and a justification for his departure from Morena. “‘I tried, but they wouldn’t let me, which frees me from the commitment.” At first glance he would appear suicidal. Even if Movimiento Ciudadano accepts him as a candidate, he would be condemned to a distant third place against the machines of Morena and the Broad Front. In fact, he would be doing Claudia a favor by splitting the opposition vote. And certainly Ebrard is not a suicidal politician.

However, there is a nuance that would modify this apparent irrationality. What follows is mere analytical speculation on my part and I do not have specific information or a leak to feed it, except for the concatenation of various data. One, Marcelo must have already reached the conclusion that he will never be the obradorismo presidential candidate. Neither the bases nor the cadres appreciate it, period. Two, his closeness to Movimiento Ciudadano is not from now, since on some occasion he was supported by this party. Three days ago, Dante Delgado, founder of MC, made a curious confession about the long cycle of his career, his desire to be with children and grandchildren, the need to continue for the moment in charge of responsibility despite his 73 years, but somehow alluding to the expiration date. Four, after Enrique Alfaro’s distancing from MC, there are no cadres with the height to relieve the party leader. Five, the leading role that MC could acquire as a pivotal party to define budget, agendas and projects for the mutual neutralization of the two main political forces.

Conclusion, the possibility of an agreement to turn Dante into a revered, honorary and symbolic totem and Ebrard into a leader in charge of turning MC into the political force of the future. With Ebrard’s candidacy in 2024, the party could capture 15% or more of the votes, which would translate, by reflection, into a quota of senators and deputies who are decisive in the governance of the country. Senators and deputies that Morena is not going to put at the service of Ebrard even if they name him coordinator of the Senate. By 2030, Ebrard himself or Samuel García, the young governor of Nuevo León, could be MC candidates to reach the National Palace. In this scheme, in the best of cases, Marcelo finally manages to be on the presidential ticket; at worst, he becomes the leader of the political force with the greatest potential to offer an alternative to wear and tear than the two options that would have governed until then: Morena and PRIAN.

It’s just a stage. But one in which the nonsense of what Marcelo Ebrard would seem to be doing in the eyes of Morena and, above all, of her attentive leader, could make sense. We are a few days away from clearing up doubts.


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