populismo

Carta a la izquierda: ¡Pónganse serios! De Paolo Luers

13 diciembre 2018 / MAS! y EL DIARIO DE HOY

El ascenso del nuevo populismo celeste va a costa del FMLN. Muchos que durante toda la posguerra han votado por el Frente, hoy anuncian en encuestas su intención de votar por Nayib Bukele.

¿A qué se debe este fenómeno? No es que estos votantes hayan dejado de sentirse identificados con la izquierda. Pero se sienten frustrados con el partido que representa a la izquierda.

Hablando con ex militantes de FMLN que ahora apuestan a Bukele, uno recibe una respuesta simple: “Bukele y Nuevas Ideas representan la ‘nueva izquierda’, que va a corregir los errores del Frente. Se trata de ‘refundar’ la izquierda.” Ellos no tienen ninguna afinidad con GANA, más bien detestan la cultura de corrupción y chanchullos que representa este partido. El pacto de Bukele con GANA no lo ven como traición, sino como movida táctica, que se va a corregir luego de las elecciones. Tienen fe que Bukele y Nuevas Ideas son la solución a la crisis de la izquierda, la cual muchos de ellos viven como crisis personal.

Digo “fe”, porque apostar a Bukele y Cía. para refundar la izquierda solo puede ser un acto de fe. No está basado en una trayectoria de izquierda de los líderes de Nuevas Ideas. Mucho menos de sus operadores políticos y propagandísticos, que casi todos provienen de la derecha más mafiosa.

Entiendo la frustración con el FMLN y sus actitudes conservadoras y oportunistas.

¿Pero en qué se transforma esta frustración? Lo lógico sería luchar por la renovación del Frente, o por construir una nueva izquierda: moderna, democrática, abierta al debate.

Pero pensar que un demagogo con actitudes de playboy hijo de papi puede salvar la izquierda y convertirse en el heredero de tanta lucha y tantos sacrificios, es absurdo y ofensivo. Este hombre nunca ha sido de izquierda, se metió al Frente por oportunismo, y así salió. Obviamente tiene la habilidad de apropiarse de consignas y banderas históricas de la izquierda, pero esto no lo convierte en luchador social. También un militar golpista y corrupto como Hugo Chávez tuvo esta habilidad – y ya sabemos que el régimen que estableció no tiene nada de izquierda.

El primer requisito para alguien que proclama querer renovar la izquierda, es vocación democrática. La segunda: tener una estrategia para empoderar a la sociedad, sobre todo los sectores marginados. Cosa que es excluyente con empoderase como líder que representa a las masas y las convierte en instrumento para preservar su poder. Bukele no cumple ninguno de estos dos requisitos. Construye un partido a la medida de su líder. Se vanagloria que este partido es un movimiento sin cúpulas. Este ha sido siempre el truco de los movimientos autoritarios, incluyendo los fascistas al estilo de Mussolini, Perón y, otra vez, Hugo Chávez: No quieren gobernar con instituciones, sino mediante la conexión directa entre líder y movimiento. Terminan con un déspota que no rinde cuentas a ninguna instancia, ni del partido ni de Estado, sino directamente “al pueblo”, o sea a todos y a nadie.

Esto es lo contrario a izquierda, porque es contrario a los principios de libertad, democracia y emancipación. Por esto no solo el Frente se distanció (a fin) de Bukele, sino también se desmarcan de él figuras históricas de la izquierda democrática como Rubén Zamora, Salvador Samayoa, Roberto Rubio. Les da pena, igual que a mi, que un oportunista y ególatra pueda tener éxito navegando con banderas usurpadas de izquierda. Les inspira desconfianza, igual que a mi, que Bukele y Ulloa despotrican contra el sistema pluralista construido por los Acuerdos de Paz y hablan de una Constituyente para construir una “Segunda República”. El país necesita estabilidad institucional, no experimentos de anti-política que encubre nuevos autoritarismos.

Compañeros, pónganse serios. Si quieren preservar la izquierda como fuerza relevante, no abandonen al Frente en el momento que al fin comienza a renovarse. Si ya no creen en esta renovación, voten por Calleja para que medio levante el país y dedíquense a construir una nueva izquierda. Si ambas opciones les parecen imposibles, registren su protesta votando por Josué Alvarado, quien es un hombre correcto con gran compromiso social. Pero no caigan en la trampa del nuevo populismo.

Saludos, Paolo Luers  

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¿Qué es el cambio? De Manuel Hinds

7 diciembre 2018 / El DIARIO DE HOY

El 3 de febrero los votantes tendrán que decidir entre dos propuestas de cambio. La primera se enfoca en cambiar las personas que han detentado el poder. La segunda se enfoca en cambiar las realidades que detienen el progreso de las familias salvadoreñas.

La lógica de la primera propuesta es ridículamente simple. El que la sostiene dice que otros de izquierda y de derecha ya han ejercido el poder presidencial y que ahora le toca a él. Es una propuesta de poder, puramente personal, orientada a cambiar la situación del candidato de no ser nada a ser Presidente de la República.

Ese cambio solo tiene sentido en la segunda propuesta, que debe centrarse en el ciudadano y sus problemas, en sus noches de desvelo preocupado de cómo va a hacer para pagar sus deudas, para que le alcance el dinero para mandar a tus hijos a la escuela, para que su familia tenga acceso a una buena salud, en un país seguro y con oportunidades.

Y es aquí, al examinar estos problemas, que se puede ver claramente que tomar la decisión de votar solo para cambiar a la persona en el poder, razonando que hay que darle una oportunidad, no solo es inconsecuente sino realmente dañina, porque esa es la manera en la que se ha votado en El Salvador con mucha frecuencia y esa es la razón por la que hemos terminado con gobiernos que son muy buenos para gritar insultos contra “los ricos” y muy incompetentes y desinteresados en la mejoría de la familia salvadoreña. Para lograr sus objetivos personales, estos políticos han negado toda evidencia de progreso en el país, han inyectado odio y han llamado al conflicto, sin presentar planes de progreso, sin dar ideas para mejorar el país… enfocado solo en dar la impresión de que las tienen, sin importarles más que la manera de apropiarse del poder.

Y mientras se dedican ya en la presidencia a gritar, insultar y quejarse, han dejado que las familias tengan que pagar tres veces los costos de la salud porque con sus impuestos se pagan los hospitales públicos, porque además les descuentan la cuota del Seguro Social, y, como estos no funcionan, tienen que pagar médicos y clínicas privadas para garantizar la salud de su familia. Igual pasa con la educación, que pagan dos veces, veces, porque la calidad de la educación estatal deja mucho que desear. Además, tienen que pagar impuestos para pagar la seguridad estatal aunque ésta no funciona. Con el dinero de las familias se subsidia el transporte público que es tan malo que los usuarios tienen que ir amontonados en unidades inseguras y mal mantenidas.

Pero aunque estos problemas se arreglaran, los ingresos de la familia no les alcanzan como para darle una vida digna a sus hijos porque los gobiernos recientes han ahuyentado la inversión con sus odios y victimizaciones, limitando las oportunidades de empleo.

Es decir, estas preocupaciones las tienen las familias salvadoreñas porque creyeron en otros cuentos similares a los que les están contando hoy, que se enfocan solo en las quejas y no en las soluciones a los problemas de los ciudadanos y sus familias. Lo que el país necesita no es una persona que sea excelente para insultar y echar culpas, sino personas que tengan propuestas realistas para que los ciudadanos puedan mandar a sus niños a una buena escuela pública y a buenas unidades de salud y hospitales públicos, y que puedan vivir en comunidades seguras, en las que los niños puedan crecer en un ambiente sano y libre de violencia.

Tenemos que terminar con los cuentos de los populistas, que quieren hacernos creer que la salvación está en que ellos estén en el poder, cuentos que crearon nuestro estancamiento, y nuestros desencuentros y nuestros odios. Tenemos que pasar del odio a la armonía y del estancamiento al crecimiento, para que todos nosotros tengamos las oportunidades que nos merecemos y vivamos en un país seguro y próspero.


Why we stopped trusting elites. By William Davies

William Davies, sociólogo y escritor británico

29 noviembre 2018 / THE GUARDIAN

More from this series: The new populism

For hundreds of years, modern societies have depended on something that is so ubiquitous, so ordinary, that we scarcely ever stop to notice it: trust. The fact that millions of people are able to believe the same things about reality is a remarkable achievement, but one that is more fragile than is often recognised.

At times when public institutions – including the media, government departments and professions – command widespread trust, we rarely question how they achieve this. And yet at the heart of successful liberal democracies lies a remarkable collective leap of faith: that when public officials, reporters, experts and politicians share a piece of information, they are presumed to be doing so in an honest fashion.

The notion that public figures and professionals are basically trustworthy has been integral to the health of representative democracies. After all, the very core of liberal democracy is the idea that a small group of people – politicians – can represent millions of others. If this system is to work, there must be a basic modicum of trust that the small group will act on behalf of the much larger one, at least some of the time. As the past decade has made clear, nothing turns voters against liberalism more rapidly than the appearance of corruption: the suspicion, valid or otherwise, that politicians are exploiting their power for their own private interest.

This isn’t just about politics. In fact, much of what we believe to be true about the world is actually taken on trust, via newspapers, experts, officials and broadcasters. While each of us sometimes witnesses events with our own eyes, there are plenty of apparently reasonable truths that we all accept without seeing. In order to believe that the economy has grown by 1%, or to find out about latest medical advances, we take various things on trust; we don’t automatically doubt the moral character of the researchers or reporters involved.

Much of the time, the edifice that we refer to as “truth” is really an investment of trust. Consider how we come to know the facts about climate change: scientists carefully collect and analyse data, before drafting a paper for anonymous review by other scientists, who assume that the data is authentic. If published, the findings are shared with journalists in press releases, drafted by university press offices. We expect that these findings are then reported honestly and without distortion by broadcasters and newspapers. Civil servants draft ministerial speeches that respond to these facts, including details on what the government has achieved to date.

A modern liberal society is a complex web of trust relations, held together by reports, accounts, records and testimonies. Such systems have always faced political risks and threats. The template of modern expertise can be traced back to the second half of the 17th century, when scientists and merchants first established techniques for recording and sharing facts and figures. These were soon adopted by governments, for purposes of tax collection and rudimentary public finance. But from the start, strict codes of conduct had to be established to ensure that officials and experts were not seeking personal gain or glory (for instance through exaggerating their scientific discoveries), and were bound by strict norms of honesty.

But regardless of how honest parties may be in their dealings with one another, the cultural homogeneity and social intimacy of these gentlemanly networks and clubs has always been grounds for suspicion. Right back to the mid-17th century, the bodies tasked with handling public knowledge have always privileged white male graduates, living in global cities and university towns. This does not discredit the knowledge they produce – but where things get trickier is when that homogeneity starts to appear to be a political identity, with a shared set of political goals. This is what is implied by the concept of “elites”: that purportedly separate domains of power – media, business, politics, law, academia – are acting in unison. Advertisement

A further threat comes from individuals taking advantage of their authority for personal gain. Systems that rely on trust are always open to abuse by those seeking to exploit them. It is a key feature of modern administrations that they use written documents to verify things – but there will always be scope for records to be manipulated, suppressed or fabricated. There is no escaping that possibility altogether. This applies to many fields: at a certain point, the willingness to trust that a newspaper is honestly reporting what a police officer claims to have been told by a credible witness, for example, relies on a leap of faith.

A trend of declining trust has been underway across the western world for many years, even decades, as copious survey evidence attests. Trust, and its absence, became a preoccupation for policymakers and business leaders during the 1990s and early 2000s. They feared that shrinking trust led to higher rates of crime and less cohesive communities, producing costs that would be picked up by the state.

“What nobody foresaw was that, when trust sinks beneath a certain point, many people may come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham.”

What nobody foresaw was that, when trust sinks beneath a certain point, many people may come to view the entire spectacle of politics and public life as a sham. This happens not because trust in general declines, but because key public figures – notably politicians and journalists – are perceived as untrustworthy. It is those figures specifically tasked with representing society, either as elected representatives or as professional reporters, who have lost credibility.

To understand the crisis liberal democracy faces today – whether we identify this primarily in terms of “populism” or “post-truth” – it’s not enough to simply bemoan the rising cynicism of the public. We need also to consider some of the reasons why trust has been withdrawn. The infrastructure of fact has been undermined in part by a combination of technology and market forces – but we must seriously reckon with the underlying truth of the populists’ charge against the establishment today. Too often, the rise of insurgent political parties and demagogues is viewed as the source of liberalism’s problems, rather than as a symptom. But by focusing on trust, and the failure of liberal institutions to sustain it, we get a clearer sense of why this is happening now.

The problem today is that, across a number of crucial areas of public life, the basic intuitions of populists have been repeatedly verified. One of the main contributors to this has been the spread of digital technology, creating vast data trails with the latent potential to contradict public statements, and even undermine entire public institutions. Whereas it is impossible to conclusively prove that a politician is morally innocent or that a news report is undistorted, it is far easier to demonstrate the opposite. Scandals, leaks, whistleblowing and revelations of fraud all serve to confirm our worst suspicions. While trust relies on a leap of faith, distrust is supported by ever-mounting piles of evidence. And in Britain, this pile has been expanding much faster than many of us have been prepared to admit.


Confronted by the rise of populist parties and leaders, some commentators have described the crisis facing liberalism in largely economic terms – as a revolt among those “left behind” by inequality and globalisation. Another camp sees it primarily as the expression of cultural anxieties surrounding identity and immigration. There is some truth in both, of course – but neither gets to the heart of the trust crisis that populists exploit so ruthlessly. A crucial reason liberalism is in danger right now is that the basic honesty of mainstream politicians, journalists and senior officials is no longer taken for granted.

There are copious explanations for Trump, Brexit and so on, but insufficient attention to what populists are actually saying, which focuses relentlessly on the idea of self-serving “elites” maintaining a status quo that primarily benefits them. On the right, Nigel Farage has accused individual civil servants of seeking to sabotage Brexit for their own private ends. On the left, Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly refers to Britain’s “rigged” economic system. The promise to crack down on corruption and private lobbying is integral to the pitch made by figures such as Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro or Viktor Orbán.

One of the great political riddles of recent years is that declining trust in “elites” is often encouraged and exploited by figures of far more dubious moral character – not to mention far greater wealth – than the technocrats and politicians being ousted. On the face of it, it would seem odd that a sense of “elite” corruption would play into the hands of hucksters and blaggards such as Donald Trump or Arron Banks. But the authority of these figures owes nothing to their moral character, and everything to their perceived willingness to blow the whistle on corrupt “insiders” dominating the state and media.

Liberals – including those who occupy “elite” positions – may comfort themselves with the belief that these charges are ill-founded or exaggerated, or else that the populists offer no solutions to the failures they identify. After all, Trump has not “drained the swamp” of Washington lobbying. But this is to miss the point of how such rhetoric works, which is to chip away at the core faith on which liberalism depends, namely that power is being used in ways that represent the public interest, and that the facts published by the mainstream media are valid representations of reality.

“Populists target various centres of power, including dominant political parties, mainstream media, big business and the institutions of the state, including the judiciary.”

Populists target various centres of power, including dominant political parties, mainstream media, big business and the institutions of the state, including the judiciary. The chilling phrase “enemies of the people” has recently been employed by Donald Trump to describe those broadcasters and newspapers he dislikes (such as CNN and the New York Times), and by the Daily Mail to describe high court judges, following their 2016 ruling that Brexit would require parliamentary consent. But on a deeper level, whether it is the judiciary, the media or the independent civil service that is being attacked is secondary to a more important allegation: that public life in general has become fraudulent.

Nigel Farage campaigning with Donald Trump in 2016.
Nigel Farage campaigning with Donald Trump in 2016. Photograph: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

How does this allegation work? One aspect of it is to dispute the very possibility that a judge, reporter or expert might act in a disinterested, objective fashion. For those whose authority depends on separating their public duties from their personal feelings, having their private views or identities publicised serves as an attack on their credibility. But another aspect is to gradually blur the distinctions between different varieties of expertise and authority, with the implication that politicians, journalists, judges, regulators and officials are effectively all working together.

It is easy for rival professions to argue that they have little in common with each other, and are often antagonistic to each other. Ostensibly, these disparate centres of expertise and power hold each other in check in various ways, producing a pluralist system of checks and balances. Twentieth-century defenders of liberalism, such as the American political scientist Robert Dahl, often argued that it didn’t matter how much power was concentrated in the hands of individual authorities, as long as no single political entity was able to monopolise power. The famous liberal ideal of a “separation of powers” (distinguishing executive, legislative and judicial branches of government), so influential in the framing of the US constitution, could persist so long as different domains of society hold one another up to critical scrutiny.

But one thing that these diverse professions and authorities do have in common is that they trade primarily in words and symbols. By lumping together journalists, judges, experts and politicians as a single homogeneous “liberal elite”, it is possible to treat them all as indulging in a babble of jargon, political correctness and, ultimately, lies. Their status as public servants is demolished once their claim to speak honestly is thrown into doubt. One way in which this is done is by bringing their private opinions and tastes before the public, something that social media and email render far easier. Tensions and contradictions between the public face of, say, a BBC reporter, and their private opinions and feelings, are much easier to discover in the age of Twitter.

“Whether in the media, politics or academia, liberal professions suffer a vulnerability that a figure such as Trump doesn’t, in that their authority hangs on their claim to speak the truth.”

Whether in the media, politics or academia, liberal professions suffer a vulnerability that a figure such as Trump doesn’t, in that their authority hangs on their claim to speak the truth. A recent sociological paper called The Authentic Appeal of the Lying Demagogue, by US academics Oliver Hahl, Minjae Kim and Ezra Zuckerman Sivan, draws a distinction between two types of lies. The first, “special access lies”, may be better termed “insider lies”. This is dishonesty from those trusted to truthfully report facts, who abuse that trust by failing to state what they privately know to be true. (The authors give the example of Bill Clinton’s infamous claim that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman”.)

The second, which they refer to as “common knowledge lies”, are the kinds of lies told by Donald Trump about the size of his election victory or the crowds at his inauguration, or the Vote Leave campaign’s false claims about sending “£350m a week to the EU”. These lies do not pretend to be bound by the norm of honesty in the first place, and the listener can make up their own mind what to make of them.

What the paper shows is that, where politics comes to be viewed as the domain of “insider” liars, there is a seductive authenticity, even a strange kind of honesty, about the “common knowledge” liar. The rise of highly polished, professional politicians such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton exacerbated the sense that politics is all about strategic concealment of the truth, something that the Iraq war seemed to confirm as much as anything. Trump or Farage may have a reputation for fabricating things, but they don’t (rightly or wrongly) have a reputation for concealing things, which grants them a form of credibility not available to technocrats or professional politicians.

At the same time, and even more corrosively, when elected representatives come to be viewed as “insider liars”, it turns out that other professions whose job it is to report the truth – journalists, experts, officials – also suffer a slump in trust. Indeed, the distinctions between all these fact-peddlers start to look irrelevant in the eyes of those who’ve given up on the establishment altogether. It is this type of all-encompassing disbelief that creates the opportunity for rightwing populism in particular. Trump voters are more than twice as likely to distrust the media as those who voted for Clinton in 2016, according to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, which adds that the four countries currently suffering the most “extreme trust losses” are Italy, Brazil, South Africa and the US.

It’s one thing to measure public attitudes, but quite another to understand what shapes them. Alienation and disillusionment develop slowly, and without any single provocation. No doubt economic stagnation and soaring inequality have played a role – but we should not discount the growing significance of scandals that appear to discredit the honesty and objectivity of “liberal elites”. The misbehaviour of elites did not “cause” Brexit, but it is striking, in hindsight, how little attention was paid to the accumulation of scandal and its consequences for trust in the establishment.


The 2010 edition of the annual British Social Attitudes survey included an ominous finding. Trust in politicians, already low, had suffered a fresh slump, with a majority of people saying politicians never tell the truth. But at the same time, interest in politics had mysteriously risen.

To whom would this newly engaged section of the electorate turn if they had lost trust in “politicians”? One answer was clearly Ukip, who experienced their greatest electoral gains in the years that followed, to the point of winning the most seats in the 2014 elections for the European parliament. Ukip’s surge, which initially appeared to threaten the Conservative party, was integral to David Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum on EU membership. One of the decisive (and unexpected) factors in the referendum result was the number of voters who went to the polls for the first time, specifically to vote leave.

What might have prompted the combination of angry disillusionment and intensifying interest that was visible in the 2010 survey? It clearly predated the toughest years of austerity. But there was clearly one event that did more than any other to weaken trust in politicians: the MPs’ expenses scandal, which blew up in May 2009 thanks to a drip-feed of revelations published by the Daily Telegraph.

Following as it did so soon after a disaster of world-historic proportions – the financial crisis – the full significance of the expenses scandal may have been forgotten. But its ramifications were vast. For one thing, it engulfed many of the highest reaches of power in Westminster: the Speaker of the House of Commons, the home secretary, the secretary of state for communities and local government and the chief secretary to the treasury all resigned. Not only that, but the rot appeared to have infected all parties equally, validating the feeling that politicians had more in common with each other (regardless of party loyalties) than they did with decent, ordinary people.

Many of the issues that “elites” deal with are complex, concerning law, regulation and economic analysis. We can all see the fallout of the financial crisis, for instance, but the precise causes are disputed and hard to fathom. By contrast, everybody understands expense claims, and everybody knows lying and exaggerating are among the most basic moral failings; even a child understands they are wrong. This may be unfair to the hundreds of honest MPs and to the dozens whose misdemeanours fell into a murky area around the “spirit” of the rules. But the sense of a mass stitch-up was deeply – and understandably – entrenched.

The other significant thing about the expenses scandal was the way it set a template for a decade of elite scandals – most of which also involved lies, leaks and dishonest denials. One year later, there was another leak from a vast archive of government data: in 2010, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of US military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. With the assistance of newspapers including the New York Times, Der Spiegel, the Guardian and Le Monde, these “war logs” disclosed horrifying details about the conduct of US forces and revealed the Pentagon had falsely denied knowledge of various abuses. While some politicians expressed moral revulsion with what had been exposed, the US and British governments blamed WikiLeaks for endangering their troops, and the leaker, Chelsea Manning, was jailed for espionage.

Rupert Murdoch on his way to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry in 2012.
Rupert Murdoch on his way to give evidence to the Leveson inquiry in 2012. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

In 2011, the phone-hacking scandal put the press itself under the spotlight. It was revealed that senior figures in News International and the Metropolitan police had long been aware of the extent of phone-hacking practices – and they had lied about how much they knew. Among those implicated was the prime minister’s communications director, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who was forced to resign his post and later jailed. By the end of 2011, the News of the World had been closed down, the Leveson inquiry was underway, and the entire Murdoch empire was shaking.

The biggest scandal of 2012 was a different beast altogether, involving unknown men manipulating a number that very few people had even heard of. The number in question, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, is meant to represent the rate at which banks are willing to loan to each other. What was surreal, in an age of complex derivatives and high-frequency trading algorithms, was that this number was calculated on the basis of estimates declared by each bank on a daily basis, and accepted purely on trust. The revelation that a handful of brokers had conspired to alter Libor for private gain (with possible costs to around 250,000 UK mortgage-holders, among others) may have been difficult to fully comprehend, but it gave the not unreasonable impression of an industry enriching itself in a criminal fashion at the public’s expense. Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays, the bank at the centre of the conspiracy, resigned in July 2012.

Towards the end of that year, the media was caught in another prolonged crisis, this time at the BBC. Horror greeted the broadcast of the ITV documentary The Other Side of Jimmy Savile in October 2012. How many people had known about his predatory sexual behaviour, and for how long? Why had the police abandoned earlier investigations? And why had BBC Newsnight dropped its own film about Savile, due to be broadcast shortly after his death in 2011? The police swiftly established Operation Yewtree to investigate historic sexual abuse allegations, while the BBC established independent commissions into what had gone wrong. But a sense lingered that neither the BBC nor the police had really wanted to know the truth of these matters for the previous 40 years.

It wasn’t long before it was the turn of the corporate world. In September 2014, a whistleblower revealed that Tesco had exaggerated its half-yearly profits by £250m, increasing the figure by around a third. An accounting fiddle on this scale clearly had roots at a senior managerial level. Sure enough, four senior executives were suspended the same month and three were charged with fraud two years later. A year later, it emerged that Volkswagen had systematically and deliberately tinkered with emissions controls in their vehicles, so as to dupe regulators in tests, but then pollute liberally the rest of the time. The CEO, Martin Winterkorn, resigned.

“We didn’t really learn anything from WikiLeaks we didn’t already presume to be true,” the philosopher Slavoj Žižek observed in 2014. “But it is one thing to know it in general and another to get concrete data.” The nature of all these scandals suggests the emergence of a new form of “facts”, in the shape of a leaked archive – one that, crucially, does not depend on trusting the secondhand report of a journalist or official. These revelations are powerful and consequential precisely because they appear to directly confirm our fears and suspicions. Resentment towards “liberal elites” would no doubt brew even in the absence of supporting evidence. But when that evidence arises, things become far angrier, even when the data – such as Hillary Clinton’s emails – isn’t actually very shocking.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of the scandals of the past decade, nor are they all of equal significance. But viewing them together provides a better sense of how the suspicions of populists cut through. Whether or not we continue to trust in politicians, journalists or officials, we have grown increasingly used to this pattern in which a curtain is dramatically pulled back, to reveal those who have been lying to or defrauding the public.

Another pattern also begins to emerge. It’s not just that isolated individuals are unmasked as corrupt or self-interested (something that is as old as politics), but that the establishment itself starts to appear deceitful and dubious. The distinctive scandals of the 21st century are a combination of some very basic and timeless moral failings (greed and dishonesty) with technologies of exposure that expose malpractice on an unprecedented scale, and with far more dramatic results.

Perhaps the most important feature of all these revelations was that they were definitely scandals, and not merely failures: they involved deliberate efforts to defraud or mislead. Several involved sustained cover-ups, delaying the moment of truth for as long as possible.

Several of the scandals ended with high profile figures behind bars. Jail terms satisfy some of the public demand that the “elites” pay for their dishonesty, but they don’t repair the trust that has been damaged. On the contrary, there’s a risk that they affirm the cry for retribution, after which the quest for punishment is only ramped up further. Chants of “lock her up” continue to reverberate around Trump rallies.

In addition to their conscious and deliberate nature, a second striking feature of these scandals was the ambiguous role played by the media. On the one hand, the reputation of the media has taken a pummelling over the past decade, egged on by populists and conspiracy theorists who accuse the “mainstream media” of being allied to professional political leaders, and who now have the benefit of social media through which to spread this message.

The moral authority of newspapers may never have been high, but the grisly revelations that journalists hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler represented a new low in the public standing of the press. The Leveson inquiry, followed soon after by the Savile revelations and Operation Yewtree, generated a sense of a media class who were adept at exposing others, but equally expert at concealing the truth of their own behaviours.

On the other hand, it was newspapers and broadcasters that enabled all of this to come to light at all. The extent of phone hacking was eventually exposed by the Guardian, the MPs’ expenses by the Telegraph, Jimmy Savile by ITV, and the “war logs” reported with the aid of several newspapers around the world simultaneously.

But the media was playing a different kind of role from the one traditionally played by journalists and newspapers, with very different implications for the status of truth in society. A backlog of data and allegations had built up in secret, until eventually a whistle was blown. An archive existed that the authorities refused to acknowledge, until they couldn’t resist the pressure to do so any longer. Journalists and whistleblowers were instrumental in removing the pressure valve, but from that point on, truth poured out unpredictably. While such torrents are underway, there is no way of knowing how far they may spread or how long they may last.

Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in Belfast in April 2018
Tony Blair and Bill Clinton in Belfast in April. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

The era of “big data” is also the era of “leaks”. Where traditional “sleaze” could topple a minister, several of the defining scandals of the past decade have been on a scale so vast that they exceed any individual’s responsibility. The Edward Snowden revelations of 2013, the Panama Papers leak of 2015 and the HSBC files (revealing organised tax evasion) all involved the release of tens of thousands or even millions of documents. Paper-based bureaucracies never faced threats to their legitimacy on this scale.

The power of commissions and inquiries to make sense of so much data is not to be understated, nor is the integrity of those newspapers and whistleblowers that helped bring misdemeanours to light. In cases such as MPs’ expenses, some newspapers even invited their readers to help search these vast archives for treasure troves, like human algorithms sorting through data. But it is hard to imagine that the net effect of so many revelations was to build trust in any publicly visible institutions. On the contrary, the discovery that “elites” have been blocking access to a mine of incriminating data is perfect fodder for conspiracy theories. In his 2010 memoir, A Journey, Tony Blair confessed that legislating for freedom of information was one of his biggest regrets, which gave a glimpse of how transparency is viewed from the centre of power.

Following the release of the war logs by WikiLeaks, nobody in any position of power claimed that the data wasn’t accurate (it was, after all, the data, and not a journalistic report). Nor did they offer any moral justification for what was revealed. Defence departments were left making the flimsiest of arguments – that it was better for everyone if they didn’t know how war was conducted. It may well be that the House of Commons was not fairly represented by the MPs’ expenses scandal, that most City brokers are honest, or that the VW emissions scam was a one-off within the car industry. But scandals don’t work through producing fair or representative pictures of the world; they do so by blowing the lid on hidden truths and lies. Where whistleblowing and leaking become the dominant form of truth-telling, the authority of professional truth-tellers – reporters, experts, professionals, broadcasters – is thrown into question.


The term “illiberal democracy” is now frequently invoked to describe states such as Hungary under Viktor Orbán or Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In contrast to liberal democracy, this model of authoritarian populism targets the independence of the judiciary and the media, ostensibly on behalf of “the people”.

Brexit has been caused partly by distrust in “liberal elites”, but the anxiety is that it is also accelerating a drift towards “illiberalism”. There is a feeling at large, albeit among outspoken remainers, that the BBC has treated the leave campaign and Brexit itself with kid gloves, for fear of provoking animosity. More worrying was the discovery by openDemocracy in October that the Metropolitan police were delaying their investigation into alleged breaches of electoral law by the leave campaign due to what a Met spokesperson called “political sensitivities”. The risk at the present juncture is that key civic institutions will seek to avoid exercising scrutiny and due process, for fear of upsetting their opponents.

Britain is not an “illiberal democracy”, but the credibility of our elites is still in trouble, and efforts to placate their populist opponents may only make matters worse. At the more extreme end of the spectrum, the far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, has used his celebrity and social media reach to cast doubt on the judiciary and the BBC at once.

Yaxley-Lennon has positioned himself as a freedom fighter, revealing “the truth” about Muslim men accused of grooming underage girls by violating legal rules that restrict reporting details of ongoing trials. Yaxley-Lennon was found guilty of contempt of court and jailed (he was later released after the court of appeal ordered a retrial, and the case has been referred to the attorney general), but this only deepened his appeal for those who believed the establishment was complicit in a cover-up, and ordinary people were being deliberately duped.

The political concern right now is that suspicions of this nature – that the truth is being deliberately hidden by an alliance of “elites” – are no longer the preserve of conspiracy theorists, but becoming increasingly common. Our current crisis has too many causes to enumerate here, and it is impossible to apportion blame for a collective collapse of trust – which is as much a symptom of changes in media technologies as it is of any moral failings on the part of elites.

But what is emerging now is what the social theorist Michel Foucault would have called a new “regime of truth” – a different way of organising knowledge and trust in society. The advent of experts and government administrators in the 17th century created the platform for a distinctive liberal solution to this problem, which rested on the assumption that knowledge would reside in public records, newspapers, government files and journals. But once the integrity of these people and these instruments is cast into doubt, an opportunity arises for a new class of political figures and technologies to demand trust instead.

The project that was launched over three centuries ago, of trusting elite individuals to know, report and judge things on our behalf, may not be viable in the long term, at least not in its existing form. It is tempting to indulge the fantasy that we can reverse the forces that have undermined it, or else batter them into retreat with an even bigger arsenal of facts. But this is to ignore the more fundamental ways in which the nature of trust is changing.

The main feature of the emerging regime is that truth is now assumed to reside in hidden archives of data, rather than in publicly available facts. This is what is affirmed by scandals such as MPs’ expenses and the leak of the Iraq war logs – and more recently in the #MeToo movement, which also occurred through a sudden and voluminous series of revelations, generating a crisis of trust. The truth was out there, just not in the public domain. In the age of email, social media and cameraphones, it is now common sense to assume that virtually all social activity is generating raw data, which exists out there somewhere. Truth becomes like the lava below the earth’s crust, which periodically bursts through as a volcano.

What role does this leave for the traditional, analogue purveyors of facts and figures? What does it mean to “report” the news in an age of reflexive disbelief? Newspapers have been grappling with this question for some time now; some have decided to refashion themselves as portals to the raw data, or curators of other people’s content. But it is no longer intuitively obvious to the public why they should be prepared to take a journalist’s word for something, when they can witness the thing itself in digital form. There may be good answers to these questions, but they are not obvious ones.

Instead, a new type of heroic truth-teller has emerged in tandem with these trends. This is the individual who appears brave enough to call bullshit on the rest of the establishment – whether that be government agencies, newspapers, business, political parties or anything else. Some are whistleblowers, others are political leaders, and others are more like conspiracy theorists or trolls. The problem is that everyone has a different heroic truth-teller, because we’re all preoccupied by different bullshit. There is no political alignment between figures such as Chelsea Manning and Nigel Farage; what they share is only a willingness to defy the establishment and break consensus.

If a world where everyone has their own truth-tellers sounds dangerously like relativism, that’s because it is. But the roots of this new and often unsettling “regime of truth” don’t only lie with the rise of populism or the age of big data. Elites have largely failed to understand that this crisis is about trust rather than facts – which may be why they did not detect the rapid erosion of their own credibility.

Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them. And unless those institutions can rediscover aspects of the original liberal impulse – to keep different domains of power separate, and put the disinterested pursuit of knowledge before the pursuit of profit – then the present trends will only intensify, and no quantity of facts will be sufficient to resist. Power and authority will accrue to a combination of decreasingly liberal states and digital platforms – interrupted only by the occasional outcry as whistles are blown and outrages exposed.

• William Davies is a sociologist and political economist at Goldsmiths. His latest book is Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World

• Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Vea toda la serie de THE GUARDIAN: The new populism
–HOW TO SPOT A POPULIST
–CLINTON, BLAIR, RENZI: HOW WE LOST AND HOW TO FIGHT BACK


La democracia según López Obrador. De Alberto Barrera Tyszka

Alberto Barrera Tyszka, como venezolano, conoce de propia experiencia cómo comienzan las aventuras populistas. Y en qué terminan: en autocracias. Su biografa “Hugo Chávez sin uniforme” (2005) es el libro de referencia sobre este tema. Escritor, guionista y columnista, hoy vive y trabaja en México. Mucho de lo que dice, puede ser importante para nuestro país.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, el presidente electo de México, en una gira por Guadalajara en septiembre de 2018 Credit Francisco Guasco/EPA-EFE vía Rex

18 noviembre 2018 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO — La polarización es un método eficaz para la consolidación de los caudillos modernos. Los medios de comunicación y las redes sociales se convierten en plataformas inflamables, en extraordinarios combustibles para alimentar a quienes veneran y a quienes odian al líder. Más allá de la pasión narcisista, un ejercicio de repolarización constante permite suprimir los debates y promover la idea de que solo hay un único núcleo, todopoderoso y omnipresente, en la sociedad. Pero, al igual que el carisma, el poder no reside solamente en una persona o en un espacio. El poder es un vínculo, una relación.

Aunque todavía no se ha juramentado, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) ya ha demostrado que no le gustan algunas reglas del juego, que el sistema que le permitió llegar a la presidencia no es suficientemente bueno. En el transcurso de estos meses, ha comenzado a asomarse lo que podría ser un nuevo Estado, con distintas maneras de participación, con otros procedimientos y con otras ceremonias. En el centro de todo está AMLO, como un eje que polariza cada vez más al país. Su idea de democracia es otra cosa. Es un asunto personal.

Todo populismo es un encantamiento. Por eso mismo, se trata de una experiencia tan tentadora como peligrosa. Supone que el hechizo del carisma puede sustituir a las formas. A medida que se acerca el 1 de diciembre, México parece hundirse más en una marea de este tipo. Es un proceso que puede detallarse con claridad en algunas de las recientes polémicas que tienen como centro al próximo presidente.

En el caso de la consulta popular sobre el nuevo aeropuerto, ante las críticas de diversos sectores de la sociedad, ante la denuncia de la ausencia de un organismo independiente que funcione como árbitro de la elección, ante el cuestionamiento de la manera sesgada en que se organizó la votación, la respuesta de AMLO fue AMLO mismo. Frente a cualquier debate o invitación al discernimiento, el poder propone un argumento emotivo: la fe, la lealtad. “Nosotros no somos corruptos, nunca hemos hecho un fraude, tenemos autoridad moral”, dice López Obrador. Como si la sola presencia fuera una garantía insuperable. En el fondo, es una versión melodramática de la política: el corazón vale más que las instituciones.

Lo mismo podría señalarse con respecto al caso de los “superdelegados”, su plan para designar a coordinadores en cada estado y supervisar los programas de desarrollo. Visto desde una óptica no partidaria, se trata de la conformación de una suerte de Estado paralelo: la creación de un cuerpo de funcionarios que mantienen relación directa con el jefe de Estado y se encargarán de actividades de desarrollo en el mismo territorio que los gobernadores que fueron elegidos democráticamente. Todos estos nuevos delegados son miembros del partido político de AMLO, Morena, o forman parte de su entorno cercano. Pero AMLO dice que no, que no está creando dualidades ni poderes alternos. Y para demostrarlo acude a la devoción, ofrece un razonamiento inapelable: la humildad. Los superdelegados, dijo, van a trabajar “sin protagonismos, con humildad. ¿Qué es el poder? El poder es humildad”.

Es la misma lógica mágica que empuja la certeza de que la simple llegada de AMLO al poder acabará con la corrupción en el país. O la devoción ciega, capaz de defender que un presidente, cualquier presidente, pueda tener mando directo sobre una nueva fuerza militar y policial de cincuenta mil elementos. Remplazar la institucionalidad por una personalidad conlleva riesgos enormes. La sensatez y el poder ciudadanos pierden terreno. Por eso las señales de alarma se encienden, las histerias se disparan. Cuando hace unos días, en Yucatán, AMLO dijo: “Yo ya no me pertenezco, estoy al servicio de la nación”, por un momento podía pensarse que solo seguía un guion, que estaba queriendo terminar en alto un espectáculo, promoviendo él mismo ahora una asociación con Hugo Chávez, deseando ser percibido como una amenaza. Es una línea demasiado obvia y directa. Es, en cualquier caso, una fascinación ya conocida. AMLO puede aspirar a ser un Mesías Tropical. Pero no lo puede lograr solo. Necesita derrotar a la sociedad.

Ya se sabe cómo es la democracia según AMLO. También entonces es necesario que se comience a saber claramente cómo es la democracia según los ciudadanos, según aquellos que no votaron por él o que, incluso habiendo votado por él, quieren y buscan un cambio, no un salvador.

Para eso, es necesario desactivar el esquema polarizante. Hay que evitar que solo los radicales tomen las calles y el lenguaje, pero también hay que dejar de jugar a la defensiva, como si solo fuera posible pactar y someterse. Hay que salir de la rentabilidad mediática y emocional que refuerza al líder como único foco de la acción y de la decisión política. En un contexto de partidos políticos derrotados y sin legitimidad, es aun más urgente promover y desarrollar nuevos movimientos y espacios de liderazgo y de trabajo, no dedicados al rechazo irracional del líder, sino articulados a las luchas concretas de la población. El mejor enemigo del populismo es la política. El ejercicio real y plural de la política. Es el momento de demostrarle a AMLO que no es cierto, que realmente él solo se pertenece a sí mismo. Que a partir del 1 de diciembre tiene un nuevo trabajo y que la nación estará ahí para exigirle que lo haga bien. Para controlarlo.


El intento populista y sus nefastas consecuencias. De Alberto Arene

22 noviembre 2018 / LA PRENSA GRAFICA

Debo admitir que llegué a medio siglo de edad, no de sabiduría, sin saber verdaderamente qué era el populismo. Había leído sobre el peronismo argentino y el fascismo italiano liderado por Mussolini, pero nunca había vivido y observado de cerca una experiencia que pudiera calificarse así. Y en estos temas no es lo mismo vivirlo a que te lo cuenten. Finalmente me llegó el turno durante 3 años en Venezuela (2004-2006) cuando Chávez consolidó el poder después de “ganar” el referendo revocatorio. Desde entonces el precio del barril de petróleo continuó subiendo hasta superar los $100, subsidiando a los pobres, comprando desde políticos de la oposición hasta la política exterior de varios países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe, con la corrupción generalizada más grande de la historia latinoamericana.

Pero el populismo en Venezuela fue parte de un proyecto más amplio latinoamericano y del Caribe liderado por los Castro en Cuba y financiado con recursos extraordinarios por Chávez en y desde Venezuela, donde la llamada Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (ALBA) intentaría disputarle la hegemonía a gobiernos más o menos democráticos respaldados por Estados Unidos y Europa Occidental. Debo admitir que la experiencia y desastre del chavismo me inocularon para siempre de populismos.

Históricamente, El Salvador nunca conoció ni gobiernos de izquierda ni gobiernos populistas. Aquí lo que tuvimos siempre fue la dictadura militar vinculada a la llamada oligarquía, que ejerció una gran disciplina fiscal y monetaria e impulsó en algunos períodos la modernización capitalista e institucional. Con la llegada de ARENA al poder (1989) lo que conocimos fue la hegemonía de la derecha durante dos décadas, aún más estrechamente vinculada al gran capital de lo que lo estuvieron los gobiernos militares de siempre que disponían de cierta “autonomía relativa”.

Si bien los dos gobiernos del FMLN son catalogados de izquierda, más por la trayectoria y alianzas internacionales de su partido que por sus políticas, no es menos cierto que sin los contrapesos y contención de la derecha, del sector privado, de los medios de comunicación social y del poder de Washington, sus políticas hubieran tenido un corte populista mucho más pronunciado. Aun así, las contrataciones de nuevos empleados públicos superan los 40 mil, el gasto público creció sostenidamente, el déficit fiscal promedió 3.8 % del PIB y la deuda pública se duplicó aumentando $10 mil millones aproximadamente, llegando al 75 % del PIB al concluir una década de gobiernos del FMLN.

La transformación del modelo de crecimiento y distribución que debió haber dado inicio en el tercer gobierno de ARENA nunca comenzó, ni tampoco en los dos gobiernos del FMLN que concluyen con el más bajo crecimiento, el más alto endeudamiento y calificación de riesgo, y la menor competitividad de Centroamérica. La vieja política y la corrupción no han tenido alteración en el cuarto de siglo de posguerra, lo que aunado con el estancamiento económico y social se convirtieron en el caldo de cultivo y en los parteros de este populismo liderado por un joven político muy efectivo para capitalizar el hartazgo.

La situación político-institucional y económico-social de El Salvador es tan frágil que el país no soportaría mucho tiempo un presidente populista: que confrontando y denunciando a sus adversarios quiera capitalizar su eventual triunfo electoral en las presidenciales para impulsar en las siguientes elecciones legislativas la conformación de una asamblea constituyente. Para tal objetivo recurriría clientelarmente al aumento del gasto público y del déficit fiscal, financiados por más deuda pública o por emisión inorgánica, en colones, para lo cual no necesitaría reformar la mal llamada ley de integración monetaria.

Paralelamente, caerían la inversión, la producción y las exportaciones; el aumento del desempleo y del subempleo; y la fuga de capitales, acompañada de la devaluación del colón y de una inflación galopante que golpearía a los más pobres. La caída del PIB, de las exportaciones y de las reservas internacionales, del consumo y de la inversión, y el alza generalizada de precios, colapsarían la economía y deteriorarían aceleradamente la situación social.

Con la falta de recursos para financiarlo y un deterioro social acelerado, un proyecto populista no tendría larga vida. Pero las consecuencias de su intento serían nefastas para El Salvador.

Renovación y entendimiento. De Roberto Rubio

Si analizamos sin pasiones y pesimismo la realidad política del país, a pesar de todos los vicios, amenazas y retrocesos que le caracterizan, hay que reconocer que existe cierta institucionalidad democrática, que dicho sea de paso no la tienen los países vecinos.

8 octubre 2018 / La Prensa Gráfica

Así para el caso, hemos tenido contrapeso de poderes (en unos gobiernos más que en otros); experimentamos marcada alternancia de gobierno sin mayores traumas; los gobiernos del FMLN no pudieron salirse del cuadro democrático básico; a pesar de las dudas que generaron algunas elecciones, especialmente la última presidencial, tenemos elecciones relativamente creíbles y los perdedores han terminado aceptando sus resultados; los críticos de las sentencias de la anterior Sala de lo Constitucional, con todo y escaramuzas, terminaron cumpliéndolas en su mayoría; han existido avances en materia transparencia y combate a la corrupción, los cuales eran impensable hace unos años.

Adicionalmente, a pesar de los defectos y vicios que todos conocemos de nuestro sistema político partidario, hay esfuerzos de renovación al interior de los partidos mayoritarios (más visibles en ARENA que en el FMLN), y tenemos dos partidos fuertes, lo que ha permitido hacerse mutuo contrapeso.

Ahora bien, no es fácil percibir estos aspectos positivos de nuestra realidad política, especialmente cuando el ejercicio del poder y la polarización estéril entre los principales partidos no han permitido encarar adecuadamente nuestros graves problemas; al contrario, los ha profundizado. De ahí el creciente y amplio descontento/desencanto ciudadano con el sistema político. El cual no sabemos cuán profundo y generalizado es. Pero algo lo será pues llama la atención que buena parte de los descontentos se encanten con un político nacido de las mismas entrañas del sistema, solo porque viste, posa y gesticula diferente.

¿Qué hacer entonces para enfrentar ese descontento? ¿Qué hacer para fortalecer nuestra tenue institucionalidad democrática? Podemos escoger el camino –más ligero y emocional que racional– de experimentar algo que aparece mediáticamente diferente como “nuevas” ideas. Y ello a cualquier costo. No importa que se hayan equivocado con Saca y Funes y vuelvan crasamente a equivocarse. No importa correr el gran riesgo que una vez en el poder las golondrinas se conviertan en zopilotes. No importa que ese liderazgo se encarame en el partido que más encarna los peores vicios de corrupción y clientelismo. No importa que el supuesto redentor tenga una camándula de demandas por corrupción. No importa que sean intolerantes e insulten y difamen a los que los critican, como lo harán ahora.

Hay otro mejor camino para fortalecer nuestra democracia. Se trata de apoyar aquellas todavía incipientes señales positivas que hemos señalado antes: presionar y trabajar para que los dos principales partidos se renueven y sean verdaderas opciones políticas democráticas, tanto hacia dentro de sí como hacia afuera; promover que su confrontación se desarrolle en los marcos normales de la rivalidad política y no en la jaula del despedazamiento mutuo; apoyar el entendimiento entre ARENA y el FMLN en asuntos que añadan dosis de gobernabilidad, como la aprobación del presupuesto, el manejo de la deuda, el combate a la inseguridad, la elección de funcionarios de segundo grado. Señales que muestren que son capaces de entenderse en la resolución de algunos de los graves problemas nacionales. Camino que encontrará sin duda resistencias internas, y críticas externas por ingenuidad o malicia. Pero sin duda es el camino más seguro para alejarnos de la senda escabrosa y perversa del populismo.

El cáncer populista llega a México. De Cristina López

Como lo describió el periodista mexicano Enrique Acevedo en una columna en el Washington Post, el electorado se siente traicionado de que las elites políticas de siempre hayan demostrado incapacidad o desinterés en hacer algo por los 50 millones de mexicanos que viven bajo la línea de pobreza.

1 julio 2018 / El Diario de Hoy

Se le hizo a AMLO. En este caso, todo indica que para Andrés Manuel López Obrador, el candidato mexicano que promueve el nacionalismo populista, la tercera será la vencida. Se ha lanzado a la presidencia tres veces, y ha perdido las primeras dos. Sin embargo, todas las encuestas apuntan a que resultará victorioso en las elecciones de este domingo. Cualquiera pensaría, equivocadamente, que por haber sido candidato tantas veces, los mexicanos tienen más que clarísimo el plan de gobierno de AMLO. La realidad de las cosas, sin embargo, es que nadie sabe exactamente qué esperar de la plataforma política de AMLO porque como lo describieron dos analistas políticos en la revista Global Americans, sus propuestas “son una colección de nociones con pocos detalles y abundancia de contradicciones”.

Entre estas contradicciones se incluye la de buscar la autosuficiencia energética, cuando el país acaba de abrir la industria petrolera a la inversión extranjera. También quiere la autosuficiencia agrícola, cosa que sería perfecta si no implicara el encarecimiento de producir dentro de México muchos productos que simplemente sale más barato importar. Ha cuestionado el valor de tener una corte suprema de justicia, una postura que hace que la comparación de AMLO con Hugo Chávez no suene tan descabellada.

Su nacionalismo suena muchísimo como el de Donald Trump: sentimentalismo xenofóbico con implicaciones de políticas públicas que afectarían las relaciones diplomáticas de México con su mayor socio comercial, Estados Unidos. También como Trump, AMLO basa muchas de sus promesas en su narcisismo mesiánico: solo él es la solución y el remedio a los fallos que han debilitado tanto las instituciones y el estado de derecho en México. Como con Trump, existe un importante segmento de la población a quienes les es indiferente que la plataforma de AMLO sea vaga, poco concreta, o imposible de implementar, pues su culto a la personalidad ha sido la gasolina de su candidatura.

¿Qué cambió entonces AMLO para que después de haber sido rechazado dos veces el electorado ahora quiera darle una oportunidad? Nada. El cambio se dio en el electorado, que no solo es más joven, también está más harto que nunca. Hartazgo de la clase política y de los partidos tradicionales que han buscado resultados diferentes haciendo la misma cosa. Hartazgo de que no hay quien rinda cuentas del nivel de corrupción y delincuencia que continúan en aumento, y que incluyen un estado que a pesar de haber jugado un rol en la muerte de 43 estudiantes desaparecidos y asesinados en Ayotzinapa, goza de total impunidad.

Como lo describió el periodista mexicano Enrique Acevedo en una columna en el Washington Post, el electorado se siente traicionado de que las elites políticas de siempre hayan demostrado incapacidad o desinterés en hacer algo por los 50 millones de mexicanos que viven bajo la línea de pobreza. Y no es que la población esté prestando oídos sordos a las advertencias de analistas y comentaristas políticos que ven en una potencial administración de AMLO el equivalente a tirar a México a un abismo, simplemente la población considera que México ya está en ese abismo, como producto de décadas de administraciones corruptas, y que hay poco que perder en tratar lo desconocido.

@crislopezg