From The Post: Art of Political Roadshow
Manuel Roig-Franzia, Mexico City bureau chief for The Washington Post, reports today on the sights, smells and sounds of the theater that is a Mexican presidential campaign:
This country's baroque approach to politics has been on full, fabulous, flashy display for months as the leading candidates, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Felipe Calderón and Roberto Madrazo, relentlessly traipsed across Mexico looking for votes. Part variety show, part country fair, a campaign appearance by a Mexican presidential candidate draws a bigger crowd -- a far bigger crowd -- than a Big Ten football game, and can make a U.S. political rally look puny and tame by comparison.
Syrupy mangoes, splitting open in the midday heat, scent the air while the candidates lampoon their opponents as variously too short, too violent or too corrupt. Someone is always selling chicharones, the comically gigantic sheets of deep-fried pork fat that Mexicans crave. Ranchera songs blast at eardrum-destroying decibel levels from fluted speakers mounted on car roofs. Leather-faced men, bused in from the countryside, stand watching it all with slightly bemused expressions, clutching the free lunches and T-shirts that have enticed them to spend a day listening to promises they've heard many times before.
Read the full story.
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