University of Pittsburgh
June 29, 2006

U.S. Hegemony or Venezuelan Populism?

Pitt Latin American Expert Scott Morgenstern Available to Comment On Sunday's Elections in Mexico
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH--Scott Morgenstern, associate professor of political science at the University of Pittsburgh, is available to comment on the elections that will take place July 2 in Mexico.

Morgenstern says that the Mexican election may come down to voters entering the voting booth and thinking about the old adage "better the devil you know than the saint you don't." Whether Felipe Calderon of the incumbent PAN party or Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the PRD wins will determine whether Mexico maintains its current course on the center-right or will seek to revise its trading relations with the United States and enter into a renewal of focus on programs aimed at Mexico's poor. Morgenstern adds that a Lopez Obrador victory would put a leftist on the U.S. doorstep at a time when the firebrand populist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is challenging the U.S. hegemony of the region.

Morgenstern's areas of research include Latin American politics, comparative politics, and political institutions. He has published extensively in the area of Latin American politics and is on the faculty of Pitt's Center for Latin American Studies; his most recent book is Patterns of Legislative Politics: Roll Call Voting in the United States and Latin America's Southern Cone (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Recent journal articles by Morgenstern include "Better the Devil You Know Than the Saint You Don't? Risk Propensity and Vote Choice in Mexico," which appeared in 2001 in the Journal of Politics; "Are Politics Local? An Analysis of Voting Patterns in 23 Democracies," published in 2005 in Comparative Political Studies; and "The PRI's Choice: Balancing Democratic Reform and Its Own Salvation," published in 2006 in Party Politics.