A course marshall carries a Mexican flag before the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City on October 29, 2017. Photo credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
By Nathaniel Parish Flannery
In Mexico’s July 2018 presidential election, a controversial populist, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is facing off against lack-luster candidates from the centrist PRI party of Mexico’s current, and deeply unpopular President Enrique Peña Nieto and the right-of-center PAN party of former Mexican president Felipe Calderon.
On March 7 I tweeted this op-ed titled “The End of Mexican Democracy” from The New York Times by Mexican historian Enrique Krauze. In the essay Krauze warns about the risk Mexico faces in potentially electing Lopez Obrador. He writes:
On July 1, we Mexicans will choose our president for the next six years. It will be no ordinary election. During a period when democracy is being globally threatened, what may be in play is not only a change in government but also a change in the very nature of the liberal democracy that Mexico has built since the outset of the century.
I don’t agree with Krauze’s analysis here but I think it does capture some of the fear-mongering rhetoric thought-leaders from Mexico’s intelligentsia are using as they write about the 2018 election.
On March 8 I tweeted this essay from Dissent magazine by Patrick Iber and Carlos Bravo Regidor. It is probably the best political analysis I’ve seen on the dynamic in Mexico as the country heads towards a critical election in July. In the article Iber and Bravo Regidor explain, “The difficult situation facing all of the other parties [in Mexico] leaves AMLO as the clear frontrunner. Whether people love or fear him, he has a strong national standing. His reputation for personal austerity makes a good contrast with the things that voters dislike about the current government. He has dedicated and enthusiastic followers, who have been organizing for many years.”
On March 9 I tweeted this essay by Mark Weisbrot for The New York Review of Books about political dynamics in Mexico ahead of the 2018 presidential election. Weisbrot explains, “Like Bernie Sanders in the 2016 US presidential election, López Obrador is running as an outsider, in this case against what he claims is a corrupt elite represented by all the mainstream parties that cannot provide either economic or physical security for the country’s citizens.”
On March 14 I tweeted this article by David Agren for The Guardian about a recent uptick in violent events in the tourist area of Cancun Mexico. In his article Agren explains, “Not so long ago, Cancún sparkled as the crown jewel of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. But rampant corruption, chaotic development and a string of murders have all tarnished the resort city’s reputation.” Ongoing security problems are part of the reason voters in Mexico may be growing frustrated with the PAN and the PRI.
On March 25 I tweeted this article by Jude Webber for The Financial Times. Webber explains, “Leftist populist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is consolidating his lead in the Mexican presidential election race…Amlo is not home and dry but he is looking hard to beat.”