From 1920 to 1988 Mexico held 15 presidential elections, elected 500 senators and governors, 6,000 federal deputies and thousands of municipal officers. Yet Mexican elections have never been carefully studied or analyzed; they have been mostly uncompetitive and always aimed at reinforcing the political hold of the governing party in an essentially authoritarian system. But Molinar shows that Mexican elections have long been significant, despite manipulation and "alchemy," and he suggests why they are becoming ever more important aspects of Mexico's political system. Molinar argues that the authority of Mexico's ruling party is based primarily on resignation, not legitimacy. Mexico's current rulers, he says, now face a dilemma: the only way they can build credibility and legitimacy for the political system is by losing elections. An innovative and important study.