By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Yogi Berra, the baseball Hall of Famer, is more famous for things he said over the years than playing baseball. “It’s Deja Vu all over again” may be the best example.
Laughingly, or sadly, it reflects what President Trump has been doing since voters rejected four more years of his show. Trump’s landslide wipeout in the Electoral College votes — 306 to 232 — is exactly what Trump-defined as a “landslide” victory in 2016.
This same situation occurred in another national election in 2006, though not here in the United States. It was in our southern neighbor Mexico.
The 70-year-long quasi-dictatorship and world-class corruption of the ruling political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), was soundly ended in 2006 by the popular Vicente Fox-led political party of the center right, the free market PAN party. In fact, the PRI ran a pathetic third — so pathetic that it was beaten by the upstart leftist Partido Revolucionario Democrático (PRD) led by ultra-leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO.
The winner was a Fox associate, lawyer Felipe Calderon. He didn’t win by much, just 1.6%. He lost in poverty-stricken southern Mexico in states where the Western Hemisphere’s largest indigenous population lives and high unemployment prevails. This was AMLO territory.
In sharp contrast was Calderon territory in economically boisterous central and northern Mexico, areas where the free enterprise-advocate built his winning margin from better-off Mexicans who are making the economy grow exponentially. In fact, Mexico is projected to have the fifth- or sixth-largest economy in the world in 20 years.
Loser AMLO demanded a recount by the national, nonpartisan Federal Election Institute, now named the Instituto Nacional Electoral. He wanted every vote cast to be counted again. The agency ordered a recount in 16,000 randomly selected voting districts, with some from every one of the 31 states and Mexico City.
The nation held its breath. Never in the modern history of Mexico had there been a real, transparent challenge to voting results. And never a real recount. The votes were counted in the selected districts and the result was projected to be essentially the same as on election day. Calderon won; he was sworn in as president on Dec. 1, 2006, to serve a six year term.
In his Inauguration speech, President Calderon declared war on the Mexican narcos who controlled much of rural Mexico. That war was energetically waged until Calderon was replaced by his successor, the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto, who, his critics say, brought massive corruption back into the government, and into the presidency itself.
Meanwhile, on Dec.1, 2006, while Calderon was being sworn in, AMLO staged his own “inauguration” complete with feverish crowds. He appointed “officials” of Mexico’s “true presidency” and demanded his supporters hit the streets for “vote justice.” And he ordered his supporters to demonstrate in such numbers as to shut businesses so the government could not collect its main source of revenue — the direct consumer tax of 15% on all transactions.
AMLO and his followers cost Mexico billions of pesos in business and government revenue, maybe trillions.
Since the Nov. 3 election, Donald Trump is acting exactly like AMLO did in 2006 by refusing to acknowledge he lost to Joe Biden. He has insisted on recounts, argued for the elimination of millions of legal votes, and accused a voting machine company of enabling fraudulent counting.
Lawyers working with Trump like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani are claiming vast conspiracy theories involving even Republican politicians and supposedly extending to former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. But as of this moment, not a scintilla of evidence to prove anything has surfaced. So far Trump, like AMLO in 2006, has not admitted defeat, nor, we suspect, will he ever.
What AMLO ultimately did was to organize a new political party and run in 2018 for president. He continued to harp that the 2006 election was stolen from him. His revenge? He was elected president at the head of his new party with 60% of the vote.
Will Trump continue to emulate ALMO and come back from 2020’s humiliating defeat in 2024 at the age of 78 to run for President again, and win?
Is it really “Deja Vu all over again” or is it “the sky is falling?”
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.