The wages of an badly overplayed hand are on display in Mexico right now. Leftist loser Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has watched his raucous demonstrations lead nowhere and his supporters appear to have all gone home. Now his party looks set to lose an important governorship in the Mexican state of Tabasco. His political career appears to be in serious trouble.
Opinion polls predict Lopez Obrador's party will lose the Tabasco state governor's race in a new hard-to-swallow blow to the former Indian rights activist, who at the beginning of this year was expected to sweep the July presidential election.
After his lead evaporated in a race marked by mud-slinging, Lopez Obrador lost by a whisker to conservative Felipe Calderon. The raucous protest camps he set up in Mexico City to claim massive election fraud have now disbanded and his protest movement has faded.
The leftist has declared himself president of a parallel government but a defeat for his Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, in the Tabasco governorship could leave a large question mark over his political future, analysts say.
Lopez Obrador won 56 percent support in Tabasco in the July 2 election, far ahead of 38 percent for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which runs the balmy state.
But just three months later, poor ratings for liberal Cesar Ojeda, the candidate he has actively supported on the Tabasco campaign trail, suggest voters were turned off by Lopez Obrador's post-election protests.
"A defeat will weaken him a lot and open opportunities for splits within the PRD. It will start to be recognized inside the PRD that the post-election stance has had an enormous cost," said Edna Jaime of the Mexican think tank CIDAC.
There's a lesson here about how not to conduct yourself when you lose. Not that one of Al Gore's recount lawyers, Ronald Klain, understands that at all. Because AMLO followed Klain's advice almost to the letter, didn't he?
Gives you confidence in the political instincts of certain political advisers, doesn't it?