Just a couple days ago, I wrote about tomorrow’s Argentine election, and I have a little more to say today. Argentine politics is always interesting even though, arguably, it’s among most dysfunctional in the hemisphere, if not the world. As a baseball fan, I find it analogous to cricket – the skills may be similar and, though the rules sometimes seem impenetrable, I find some things to admire.
Of course, Argentine politics lends itself to satire, as a recent article in The New York Times noted (the video at the link includes English subtitles). The ostensible candidate, Omar Obaca, is an Afro-Argentine who, in the video above, promises to improve the hideously polluted Riachuelo of Buenos Aires by paving it, thus relieving traffic congestion as well. However improbable the election of Barack Obama might have seemed before 2008, the Obaca “campaign” achieves unreachable heights in that regard, and offers some real insights.
Some of Argentina’s election measures, though, are worth consideration. While the presidential election cycle there may not be the mind-numbing marathon it is in the US, it is long, but at least the Argentines know when to stop – the electoral code officially ended the campaign as of yesterday, so there are no rallies nor door-to-door electioneering nor TV or radio ads - so that voters, presumably, may reflect on the available choices. On top of that, from 8 p.m. this evening, the so-called ley seca ("dry law") prohibits the sale of alcohol, so that voters may make sober choices.
Of course, that doesn’t prevent people from stocking up before 8 p.m., and one could question whether Argentine voters have made sober choices in the past. Voting is obligatory, by the way – something I don’t necessarily agree with, but the US could certainly do more to encourage voter participation through easy, universal registration.