Summary of What Ails Mexican Democracy

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Mexico’s landmark 2000 elections put an end to seven decades of single-party rule. For many observers, they marked the culmination of the country’s transition to true democracy. Unfortunately, however – as Gladys I. McCormick and Matthew R. Cleary from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs explain in Foreign Affairs – this historic change brought neither improved rule of law nor better public services. getAbstract recommends their case study as an illustration that free and fair elections do not necessarily guarantee good governance.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why good governance remains elusive in Mexico and
  • Why democratic elections are not enough to ensure effective rule of law. 

About the Authors

Gladys I. McCormick and Matthew R. Cleary teach history and political science at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. 



As Mexico’s ongoing struggles with corruption and violence illustrate, democratic elections do not automatically translate into good governance. Despite regular elections held over the past 70 years, the country’s problems remain largely unchanged. In 2017, the country’s most violent year to date, Mexico recorded almost 30,000 murders. More alarmingly, over 98% of those murders went unsolved, highlighting Mexico’s inability to hold its criminals accountable and protect the public.

Not surprisingly, everyday Mexican citizens place little trust in the democratic process...

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