Polarized pluralism, introduced by Giovani Sartori, alludes to a political spectre whose parties maintain a strong presence in the ideological extremes (left & right). Centralized-ideology parties (center-left & center-right) are forced toward the extremes in order to find coalitions. It’s a centrifugal dynamic system.
According to theorists, this creates an unsustainable democracy with serious goverbability problems. Political actors extend toward the extremes rather than into the center (which implies a centripetal dynamic). That means unstable legislative coalitions. Political stalemate leads to difficult governance. Further more, there are disloyal or semi-loyal political forces, anti-system oppositions, anti-democratic oppositions and irresponsible oppositions.
“Fortunately”, Mexico counts on three big political ideological forces: the leftist Partido de la Revolución Democrática –PRD– (Party of the Democratic Revolution); the central Partido Revolucionario Institucional –PRI -(Institutional Revolutionary Party); and the rightist Partido Acción Nacional –PAN– (National Action Party). Such that if one force finds opposition in another one, there will be a third to rely on. Only by those terms is Mexico lucky, ´cause deep stalemate is avoided.
The PRD pulls other left parties towards it’s left extreme, such as Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizen´s Movement) and Partido del Trabajo –PT– (Labour Party); and the PRI pulls Partido Nueva Alianza –Panal– (New Alliance Party) and Partido Verde Ecologista de México –PVEM– (Ecologist Grenn Party of Mexico) towards the centre; while the PAN lacks of satellite parties, but it is strong enough to pull towards the right.
The Pacto for Mexico, PRI´s first initiative in government, pretended to transform dynamics into centripetal, generating an inertia towards the nucleus of the democratic spectre. This is known as moderate pluralism, and its the pluralism of the Pact: the PRI pulls leftists and rightists towards the centre, and the representative parties of each pole pull the rest of the parties. In this scenario the political spectre is equivalent to the ideological spectre.
For this analysis we´ll refer to democratic spectre as the spectre containing one political spectre and one ideological spectre.
But the attitude of the main left force has modified the dynamics. PRD seems to forget that democracy is a zero-sum game, that not everything is possible in a politics, and to obtain certain things it must be done at the expense of others; and thats how this party, the party of the Aztec Sun, retires form the dialogue table, it’s historical attitude. Not minded for negotiations, but willing to impose their proposals.
If withdrawing from the negotiation table, the Aztec Sun retires from the Pact (removing the rest of it’s satellites), and, therefore, from the political spectre created by this. The specter is then constituted by center and right, being the ideological center the closest tendency towards the left political pole, and the right remanning as in the right pole (both ideological and political). By withdrawing from the negotiations and pulling towards it´s pole, the the mexican left pushes PRI and PAN towards a common center. To the political spectre corresponds the ideological specter not anymore. The former reduces by half, leaving the left force outside the game, while the latter remains static. We’ll name this phenomenon as divergent pluralism or exclusionary pluralism.
The leftists are excluded -by own will- from the political spectre, but not form the ideological, because they´re out of the political negotiations, their votes not being indispensable. This means that an existing third political force (PAN) throughout which the PRI can rely on politically in order to obtain the necessary votes implies the leftists votes as unnecessary. The left is not required to move politics, but remains as part of the ideological specter just because it exists as a force. It’s presence decays in the political arena (congress, etc.), but not in the public arena (streets, etc.), where it is stable and growing. But thats useless in congress. The capacity to mobilize the streets gives the leftists no congressional power.
The mexican left, whether PRD, MORENA (Movimiento Regenerenación Nacional), Movimiento Ciudadano or PT, excludes itself from the political spectre, while moving against PRI‘s governmental actions taken side by side with the PAN.
Cuauhtémoc Cardenas`s -being the symbolic leftist father-figure- anachronistic leadership, matching Manuel Andres Lopez Obradors’s (MALO -meaninng “bad” or “evil”) -the most populous leader- every less valid leadership, will accomplish no political matters (even when having a strong ideological presence out in the streets) if they do not sit down and negotiate at the table.
Turns out ironically, for the leftists defend with the petroleum’s banner on hand a paradigm that the PRI, back then the Partido de la Revolución Mexicana -PRM (Party of the Mexican Revolution) enacted more than half a century ago throughout President General officer Lázaro Cárdenas, the first populist. This paradigm is no longer valid nor profitable for any modern leftist in the world.
Everyday gets closer their Political Twilight. The sun, out of anyone, would know that today is a new day. The Mexican left polarizes from within. PRD and MORENA are, each one, trying to attach the rest of the satellites (MC, PT, etc.). Nevertheless, this is not an ideological battle, bur merely political rationalist: seats and chairs.
By Ulises Bobadilla y Jiménez
About polarized pluralism:
1. Wolinetz, Steven. “Calssifying Party Systems: Where Have All the Typologies Gone?”. Canadá, MemorialUniversity of Newfoundland, 2004. http://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2004/Wolinetz.pdf