Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, former mayor of Mexico City and three-time Mexican presidential candidate, finally won the office of Presidente de Mexico in a landslide victory July 1. Lopez Obrador, who has become known by his initials as AMLO, won by a crushing margin of 31 points. His Movement for National Regeneration, which combined conservatives with leftist-populists, won an overwhelming victory in Mexico’s congressional elections – almost securing a two-thirds majority needed to pass constitutional reforms, according to the Wall Street Journal.
AMLO was largely portrayed by the American mainstream media as having an anti-Trump platform, however the details of his campaign point to more similarities between the two leaders than depicted. Vowing not to take his country into dictatorship, he declared that “Under no circumstances will the next president of the republic allow corruption or impunity.” AMLO ran on a campaign much like Trump of anti-corruption, nationalism, and giving “a preference to the humble and forgotten.” The voters of Mexico cast their ballots to improve their own lot, not so much to spite an American President seeking to curb illegal immigration from Mexico. And, much like Trump’s win, AMLO’s victory left the political establishment in shock.
One voter told the Los Angeles Times she was ecstatic to see her country “Liberated from the corruption, the robbery, the lies.” Another said, “our leaders get richer” while the masses “are struggling.” In addition to horrid economic conditions and a failed drug war, the country faces the highest homicide rate in its modern history.
While AMLO made headlines in the US for attending demonstrations sympathetic to illegal aliens, he has said he wants to renegotiate NAFTA, create economic development zones and improve wages in Mexico, as well as improve relations with the US in order to curb migration from his country. Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America and the 15th-largest in the world, and conservative analysts in the US believe that both nations’ leaders recognize its importance.
“What you will see is two men speaking their minds. There will be no bars between them,” David Shirk of the University of San Diego told Fox News. Ana Quintana of the Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies was in agreement. “I think AMLO is tapping into something in Mexico just like Trump tapped into the U.S. - that large pool of the population that has been disenfranchised by the political and economic elite.” Quintana told Fox she has little doubt “they are going to get along.” Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with the same sentiments, saying “I predict Mr. Trump and Mr. Lopez Obrador will get along just fine. They understand each other, even if they see the world differently.”
AMLO recently told the media after initial post-victory phone calls with Trump that he feels “The tone was respectful and our teams will be holding talks.” The new president said that Trump was receptive to his ideas on improving Mexico’s economy to decrease migration. Similarly, Trump said of the call “We had a great talk.” Lopez Obrador will officially take office December 1, while a delegation of Trump administration officials has already met with the president-elect July 13 to begin the conversation on NAFTA.