Can María join the top tier?

OK, so I have no idea if the crazy-ass rumor that María Corina Machado is about to cut a deal with Henry Ramos Allup to run in the Opposition primaries on the AD ticket is true.

But if it is, things are going to get very interesting around here very very soon…not least for Juan Andrés Ravell, who must be peeing his pants with excitement.

Once you get over the staggered bit of nausea the very notion will inevitably induce, you start to see the unmistakable sense it makes.

Up to this point, I’d been inclined to dismiss MCM’s chances. She simply doesn’t have the machinery, the national presence or the Class C and D street cred to overcome the liabilities that are her accent and skin tone.

But put AD’s much-diminished-but-still-genuinely-national party machine behind her and … well, that equation is turned upside down.

To get a sense for this, just poke around CNE’s Election Results for 2010 for half an hour. Outside the Usual-Suspect big urban states, AD is the single biggest opposition party just about everywhere. They’re the biggest opposition party in Anzoategui, Apure, Barinas, Cojedes, Delta Amacuro, Falcon, Guarico, Merida, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Trujillo and Vargas.

Sure, they’re often only on 10-15% of the vote in these places, but they’re everywhere. No other opposition party is consistently North of 5% out there. AD matters, and with a candidate like MCM, AD can compete not just in the boonies, but in the opposition urban heartland too.

The upside for AD is just as clear: they get to sidestep the oedipal trainwreck that Un Nuevo Tiempo has become, as well as the strategic threat to be swallowed up by their neo-adeco zulian doppelgangers. They get themselves a candidate with a golden tongue and some star power who can appeal beyond AD’s rural base, and one who, if she wins, would unmistakably owe it to them.

There’s even a silver lining here for front-runner Henrique Capriles Radonsky. After all, if UNT runs its own candidate, the adeco vote is split and his chances improve.

Again, this post is almost certainly premature, because there’s no specific reason to believe there’s anything to these rumors other than a nasty attempt to discredit MCM by association with a party that carries sky-high negatives with many, many voters.

But I’m inclined to think María Corina Machado is smart enough to know that if she wants the Miraflores omelette bad enough, she’s going to have to break some eggs. And in a weird kind of way, I’d almost find it reassuring to see her do it.

It would speak of her audacity, her willingness to get her hands dirty, and her determination.

One thing’s for sure, it’d be great fun!

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