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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 ]

First paragraph:
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 organizations.

Figures and Tables:
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, 1991-2006.
Figure 6. Presence of PAN municipal committees, 2004

Last Paragraph:
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 transition period.

Last updated March 2013