Steven T. Wuhs, "Inclusion
and its moderating effects on ideas, interests and
institutions: Mexico's Partido Acción Nacional,"
Party Politics, 19 (March 2013), 187-209.
[Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol19/issue2/
The Inclusion-Moderation thesis suggests that the
opportunity for meaningful representation should trigger
centrist moves by niche, religious, extreme, radical or
otherwise 'immoderate' parties. In this article, the
experience of Mexico's Partido Accio´n Nacional (PAN),
a niche, Catholic party under Mexico's authoritarian regime
(1939-2000), both complicates the ideas of inclusion and
moderation and adds new explanatory insights to that thesis.
I examine moderation as a complex and multidimensional
process - more so than typically recognized in the extant
literature - that relates to changes in ideas, in interests
and in institutions. Consistent with that literature (Thelen
2003; Pierson 2004), I find that moderation is triggered by
(sometimes accidental) inclusionary reforms, and then is
mediated by intra-party divisions and potentially blocked by
veto players in parties. More importantly, though, this
analysis demonstrates the potential organizational
incoherence that moderation fosters. The case of the PAN
shows that moderation, when it does occur, often unfolds
unevenly across dimensions of party life and incrementally
over time, resulting in inchoate organizations. These
incoherencies, I suggest, augur poorly for the ability of
'moderated' parties to adequately represent citizen
interests and may threaten the long-term viability of such
- Figures and
- Figure 1. PAN presidential vote-share, 1958.
- Figure 2. PAN presidential vote-share, 1970.
- Figure 3. PAN presidential vote-share, 1988.
- Figure 4. Membership in the PAN 1995-1999.
- Figure 5. Candidate selection openness in the PAN,
- Figure 6. Presence of PAN municipal committees,
The challenge for the PAN in 2012 was thus daunting: to keep
the PRI from regaining the presidency, it needed to
reassemble its cleavage-based coalition of the past, or
forge a new one based on either a charismatic candidate or a
palatable post-transition platform. Paired with the costs of
Caldero´n's offensive against the country's drug
cartels, neither path was possible. The PAN was resoundingly
defeated, losing the presidency to the PRI and relegated to
a minority voice in the Chamber of Deputies, and immediately
entered crisis mode as competing leaders sought to explain
the party's performance. While those conflicts and debates
may exact further costs on the party, the PRI's return to
power may, like 1976, offer the PAN an unanticipated
opportunity. If concerns raised during the campaign about
corruption and the re-establishment of PRI hegemony hold
true, the PAN may be able to reassemble a working coalition,
recapture its democratic credentials and mount a campaign
based on broad regime critiques rather than social policy
positions or a perhaps-unwinnable drug war. That, however,
is merely a short-term strategy; to enjoy long-term success
the PAN must somehow reconcile the competing internal
interests it developed during the moderating years of the