Wednesday, May 9, 2018

López Obrador Will Win and Mexico Will Lose

Andrés Manuel López Obrador | teleSUR
In a panel sponsored by WorldDenver May 3, the top Mexican pollsters declared the left-leaning populist candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will win the July 1 Mexican presidential election.

At that point, polls showed him at 49 percent. In fact, compared to recent previous presidential elections that have provided the winner with less than 40 percent, Obrador could win in a landslide above 50 percent.

López Obrador lost two presidential elections, at least partially because people feared his brand of politics was too close to the Latin American dictator model – a Mexican Hugo Chávez. But, fear is being blunted today by a greater anxiety seen in many western democracies, reflected in anger at corruption, the economic inequality and, in Mexico’s case, the level of violence. The target of the anger are the established parties, typically center-right and center-left that have held responsibility of governance for many years.

In his third try, López Obrador is benefiting from the same anger that put Donald Trump into office. Ironically, Trumps is helping López Obrador. Protecting Mexico’s sovereignty and demanding respect are López Obrador’s top issues.

The panelists were descriptive and rather insouciant of his presidential win. In fact, Obrador is bad news for democracy.
  • He has a record of using extra-legal confrontational activities, such as shutting down the government in 2006 when he lost by less than 1 percent (35.31%).
  • He likely will not have a majority in the Congress, but a mandate from the people. Most of his authority will flow from executive power. He is a populist, unlikely to be overly restrained by norms or precedence.
  • He is the least committed among the main candidates to free markets and the most committed to government control over major economic sectors, especially oil. He will expand government and spend money.
  • He tends toward nationalism (sovereignty rhetoric), isolationism and disinterest in promoting human rights and democracy.
  • Mexican democracy is new. The first competitive election was in 1994, or barely 20 years ago. López Obrador will test it. 

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