Mexican-Style Democratic Elections 2024

Those who do not cooperate with the drug mafia have withdrawn or been killed.
Thus the choice in the coming Mexican elections is from henchmen
of different drug cartels. That's the current Mexican democracy.

Image by author

There will be big elections in Mexico on June 2, 2024. Mexicans will re-elect their representatives to 20,000+ government positions from municipality administrations and town councils to state governors and a new president. From the outside it looks like the triumph of a victorious democracy.

However, these elections have some Mexican specifics. It is not safe to run for any public office in the country now. 33 candidates dropped out of the electoral race during the first two months of 2024 because they were killed, and many have withdrawn due to the threats to them personally and their families. In that way, criminal clans promote their protégés to positions of power, physically eliminating unwanted competitors. Thus, Mexicans will vote in June 2 elections for henchmen of different clans simply because there are no other candidates.

I would call this electoral phenomena a “Mexican-style democratic elections.” This is an excellent example of an election without a choice. Power in the country passes to the drug cartels democratically - through elections.

The United Mexican States is dying.

There has been a war between the Mexican state and drug cartels for a long time, which the state is clearly losing:
Spiraling criminal violence has seen more than 450,000 people murdered in Mexico since the government of then-president Felipe Calderon launched a controversial military offensive against drug cartels in 2006. The homicide rate has almost tripled to 23 cases per 100,000 inhabitants since then.
Thus, about 25,000 Mexicans die on average per year and their democratic state cannot (or does not want) to protect them.

Formally, the United Mexican States still exists as a country with a coat of arms, flag, anthem, people, government and territory, but over the past 20 years it has been dying because it ceded the monopoly on violence to the drug cartels.
The states are dying longer than people.

Why did this happen to Mexico and who is to blame?

Everything is as usual - the Mexicans themselves are to blame for everything.
For a long time they elected wrong people as their representatives into the government who went there only for money and power, did not notice their abuses and were eventually forced to flee the country. Now this democratically elected corrupt elite will be replaced by direct henchmen of gangster clans also as a result of democratic elections.

Mexico's top officials are clearly in the pay of the drug cartels. How do I know this?
It just cannot happen any other way. The cartels have gained such strength in the country that they could repel their militants from the police using heavy weapons. The authorities even use the army and still lose. This means that the cartels intimidated and/or bought the loyalty of the very top of the country’s elite - police, army and all 3 branches of government, ending with the president.

The New York Times writes that «… Drug cartels have long infiltrated the Mexican state, from the lowest levels to the upper reaches of government. They pay off the police, manipulate mayors, co-opt senior officials and dominate broad swaths of the country.»

The same article reports on an American investigation of the possible connection of close confidants of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (but not himself) with drug cartels. However, the US is not starting a formal investigation because it does not want to quarrel with a neighboring country, especially after the breakdown of the criminal case against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda in 2020. The Biden administration is trying, with the help of the Mexican president, to reduce the wave of emigrants from South and Central America that has overwhelmed the US southern border recent times.

The President of Mexico himself prefers not to notice the main problem of his country and says gently that "... the country’s violent criminal gangs and drug cartels are essentially respectful people who respect the citizenry and mostly just kill each other.
Meanwhile, millions of Mexicans pay “taxes” to the bandits - the cartels routinely demand protection payments from local residents and kill or kidnap them if they refuse to pay.
No wonder Mexican citizens are fleeing to the US.

What should Mexico do about the drug cartels?

Mexico should fight.
But for this, it needs to quickly cleanse the state apparatus of corrupt officials who are the friends of the mafia. Mexico now needs to move away from democratic principles and restore order in the country using authoritarian methods. Approximately in the same way as the recently elected President of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, is doing now.
- Mexico missed its time to suppress drug cartels and allowed them to gain strength.
- the strengthened drug cartels have put, I think, most of the state apparatus at their service.
- there is no such fighter against drug clans in Mexico as Daniel Noboa and he would not have gotten into the presidency there, the local elites and drug clans would eliminate him from the elections.
- authoritarian methods are not welcomed by democratic countries, but the Mexican problem cannot be solved using democratic methods.

Democracy is good in times of peace, but in times of war the instrument must be changed.

What can Mexico do?

I think that in the current situation almost nothing can be done. Why?
Because it is impossible to clean up the state apparatus without the political will of the country’s leaders and some part of the state apparatus that has not been corrupted yet by the drug cartels and thus can be relied upon.

Actually, Mexico is following the path of many democratic countries, where those who want to change something cannot do that despite the presence of democracy, and those who can, do not want to.
The Mexican people don’t know what to change in the country and can’t do anything because the national decisions are made for them by their elected politicians who are in the pay of the drug cartels. Therefore, the only way for Mexicans is to emigrate to escape their unsolvable problems, although nobody wants to start everything from the scratch on foreign soil.

Some Mexican elites are intimidated by drug cartels, some are a part of gangster clans. Everything basically is fine with the elites in Mexico and they don’t need to change anything. And they do not dare to disobey the gangsters anyway.

Meanwhile, Mexican drug cartels are getting richer, acquiring supporters and connections in the government, robbing their fellow citizens, developing their businesses in other countries and continuing to fight with each other.

What's next for Mexico?

In 2019 I wrote the article called “The end of the democratic state” and periodically monitored the situation in Mexico. It is clear that the country has been continuing to degrade due to inaction of the people, actions of drug cartels and connivance of the elite during last 20 years or so. And Mexico's degradation will continue, there is no other way. It's like a cancer that destroys a once healthy human body.

The elections on June 2 will mark the next big step toward the end of democratic Mexico and the collapse of the country into several warring territories under the control of drug cartel proxies. Power in the country after elections will pass to representatives of a few largest criminal groups, each of which will try then to occupy a dominant position (president, army, police, security service, economy, finances) in the country. If one group manages to do this (which is unlikely) then Mexico will remain a single country, only turning into a totalitarian one.

A more likely option from my point of view: several strongest criminal clans will share the country and keep fighting for a dominant position, thereby weakening each other and continuing to rob and kill civilians in their wars. Over time, Mexico will fall apart since each clan rules over its own territory, as it approximately is now, only these will already be legally elected “democratic” governments.

People will keep actively trying to leave the country no matter the outcome.

Crisis of the democracy in the world: there are “no-choice” elections everywhere.

Lately there has been a lot of talks about the crisis of democracy in the world.
I would rather talk about the crisis of the state or the statecraft. The reason for the crisis is simple: there are elections in almost all countries (not only in democratic ones) nowadays, but essentially nothing changes in those countries, so the feeling of degradation (or at least stagnation) among the population is growing. Here you have a crisis - a discrepancy between what is being propagated by the governments and what is in reality.

In pseudo-democratic countries, elections are easily rigged (Russia) or people are not asked for their opinion at all (China), and one leader is “democratically” re-elected many times, like Putin or Xi Jinping.

In democratic states, the opposition has become no better than the ruling parties and therefore it does not matter who takes the helm of the country. According to the survey of Pew Research Center, 54% of respondents in 27 countries considered that the majority of all politicians in their countries were corrupt. People have been electing someone for many years, but nothing changes, and the countries are degrading because the thieves and corrupt officials change the previous ones.

An interesting separate question arises: doesn’t democracy work at all, or is it not really democracy in many democratic countries?

Mexican drug clans do not use democratic principles in their lives and solve the problem of their elections in more reliable way than liberal democracies. They simply eliminate all candidates except those they feed. Elect from those who survived.

The Americans can learn from Mexicans what not to do.

Mexican authorities have lost their monopoly on violence and thereby undermined the main principle of the existence of any state (not just a democratic one): it must ensure the physical safety of its citizens. Mexicans leave Mexico because it is dangerous to live there. It's a shame to listen to pathetic nonsense of the current Mexican president about what is happening in the country.

There is no need to even talk about the next important principle of the existence of any state which is absent in Mexico, the protection of private property. A state that allows the most important principles of its existence to be violated is simply not needed to its citizens and will cease to exist.

The Americans who believe that «Mexican-style democratic elections» occur far away and have no relation to their country, need to pay attention to the beginnings of similar problems in the US that have led to the plight of Mexico:

- in the US, the concept of “state monopoly on violence” is blurred due to the large number of weapons in the hands of the population, about 120 units per 100 people. As a result of this, Americans use armed violence against their fellow citizens which results in a fairly large (in my opinion) number of victims: 18854 people have died in all shootings across the country and 36338 were wounded in 2023. This is statistically “not much” compared to the US population of 340 million people, but close to the number of Mexicans who die in gangster shootouts with the speed of 25-30,000 people on average per year. In addition, I am concerned about the large number of weapons in the hands of Americans in a context of extreme polarization of the country's political life. The presidential election between Biden and Trump in November 2024 could lead to a civil war, and here the Americans are better than any other nation prepared to defend the 1st Amendment (freedom of speech) to their Constitution with arms in their hands.

- pharmacy and chain store robberies by gangs of teenagers. Some of the stores are closing because of this in many states. Here the principle on which capitalism in the US is built, the protection of private property, is simply completely undermined.

The American government also turns a blind eye to violations of these basic principles which in the US are supposed to be protected by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution: «… nor shall any person ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.»

Therefore, dear Americans, «… never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.»

P.S. People in almost all democratic countries are now constantly choosing the lesser evil in elections.
Of course, the lesser evil is “better” than the “bigger” one, this is obvious. The elites take advantage of that and drag people directly into elections because they know for sure that no matter who (among the two of them) you choose, they both will remain in power and keep making their money being in government or in opposition. And then they may change places at the next elections and so on endlessly. This is an election without a choice.

The best candidate from the people cannot get into power position being outside the established party system. This is certainly a vicious circle that destroys any country and only the people of this country can break it, because no one else needs that.

I explained how it can be broken here.
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