What Elections Would Look Like in a Mexico-United States Union

This is part of a series of posts examining, somewhat lightheartedly, the electoral effects of adding Canada and then Mexico to the United States.

The previous post noted that if Mexico joined the United States, and if Mexico voted for the Democratic Party, then the Democratic Party would at first glance seem benefit very much indeed. President George W. Bush would have win Delaware to become president. Double-digit Republican victories would turn into ties.

But this assumes that American voting patterns remain unchanged if the United States joined Mexico.

Imagine how the typical American would react to the last six words in the sentence above, and one can begin to see why that assumption is probably extremely inaccurate.

If the United States were to join Canada, the result would probably be fairly free of friction. The United States and Canada have very similar or the same cultures, histories, income levels, languages and ethnicities. It is impossible to tell a Canadian and an American apart.

None of this is true regarding Mexico and the United States. Mexicans and Americans are truly separate peoples to an extent Canadians and Americans are not. Their cultures, histories, income levels, languages, and ethnicities are different. It is not hard to tell a Mexican and an American apart.

For these reasons, it is pretty simple to predict voting patterns in a union of Mexico and the United States. The typical election would probably look like this:

Adding the United States to Mexico would probably spark an enormous racial backlash amongst Americans. The effect would be similar to that of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the South. This might not be confined merely to whites; if there is one way to break the Democratic Party’s lock on the black vote, adding the United States to Mexico might be it. Elections would come to resemble those which happen in Mississippi today: everybody from Mexico would vote one way, everybody from the United States would vote another.

This is not just a guess. Many countries today experience similar problems, where two different peoples happen to share the same borders. Tribal voting often happens in Africa, due to its colonial history. Another example is Ukraine, which has an enormous east-west divide. People in the west are Ukrainians, who speak Ukrainian and want to join NATO. People in the east are Russians, who speak Russian and want to re-create the Soviet Union. It’s not pretty:

Ukraine, 2004 Presidential Election

It’s not very hard to imagine a similar electoral dynamic playing out in an American-Mexican union.

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3 Responses to What Elections Would Look Like in a Mexico-United States Union

  1. johnallengay says:

    Would it also make sense for both of the major American parties to take an anti-integration stance, and thus continue to split the American electorate on their usual issues while forming a united front on pan-American issues? It seems plausible that there would be be some realignment, but that the Mexican parties and American parties would all remain in existence, and form coalitions on particular issues. Committee and Speaker appointments would be much more contentious–after all, the US Congress has grown institutionally accustomed to having just two parties–but I think we’d see coalitions consistently forming on key issues, with any related to EEUU-EU relations resulting in splits along national lines.

    • inoljt says:

      I could see multiple parties in Congress and on the state level.

      On the other hand, since presidential elections are first-past-the-post systems it’d be very difficult for that to work on the presidential level. It’d probably devolve to a very clean Mexico-United States divide.

      • johnallengay says:

        Agreed. Given the numerical advantage the US has, I’d expect the US parties to compete for Mexican votes with minimal concessions, leading to low voter turnout and dissatisfaction south of the (former) border. As Porfirio Diaz once said, “Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States!”

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