The political parties are not compact and disciplined with a pretension to an ideology [but are] loose … factions of would-be officeholders, professing personal allegiance to their leaders but continually jockeying for greater power.… The absence of the old aristocracy, the lack of strength of the middle class, and the political inertness of the great mass of peasants result in a government without a following, unworried about public opinion, responsible to no large segment of the population, but in constant danger of being overthrown by an ephemeral coalition of other politicians.… Many of the politicians and officeholders, even occasional presidents, are ambitious men from the rural towns.… [Because] the presidents themselves may not complete their terms …, politicians are often the crudest adventurers, who expect to make their fortunes in one swoop on the public treasury. The ancient prototype of the politician, the backwoods caudillo, is still close to reality.