Post-liberalization politics in Argentina, Peru and Mexico: the rise and fall of second generation reformism Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Vaccaro, Nicholas
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • I examine three cases of successful second generation reformist political opposition to market reforming leaders in Argentina, Peru, and Mexico. In these three countries, opposition presidential candidates, despite considerable public discontent with economic conditions, did not propose a clear alternative to the free market economic model established by the incumbent party, but instead proposed minor and marginal changes intended to improve the social outcomes of the free market model. In contrast with their promises of continuity on economic policy, presidential challengers drew strong distinctions between themselves and incumbent party leaders on issues of governance. The campaign messages of opposition candidates accorded with the widespread perception that Latin America required a second generation of reforms. I conduct case studies and examine public opinion and electoral data from the three countries in order to explain the emergence of a similar opposition campaign message in three apparently different contexts. I find that the use of a similar reformist message is paralleled by similarities in the attitudinal and demographic sources of support for the opposition in each case: the opposition’s supporters, in addition to having a greater concern with governance issues, tended to represent more educated and affluent sectors than supporters of the governing party. I link this pattern to a previous pattern also present in each case: a neoliberal populist approach to the implementation of market reforms, in which strong executives promoted economic liberalization while maintaining the electoral support of the popular sectors. I then examine the experiences in government of the reformist challengers, and argue that setbacks and failures encountered by the new administrations can be linked to the manner in which the reformist opposition coalition was established.
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  • Hartlyn, Jonathan
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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