Yet another populist candidate was elected to a presidency this weekend, this time in Mexico where leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, often referred to as AMLO, was elected in a landslide on Sunday night.
Obrador ran on a campaign to end corruption and fight back against rampant violence, and capitalized on a pervasive feeling of disenfranchisement among many voters who felt left out or forgotten about by the political establishment. It’s the third time Obrador has run for president after unsuccessful bids in 2006 and 2012. But between the populist wave of frustration among voters with the establishment and, some would say, a collapse down the stretch by his opponents, AMLO was able to capture more than half the vote, according to early returns.
Not unlike President Trump did during his campaign, Obrador called out the political establishment and its elite for failing to understand the average citizen and promised to bring a fresh perspective to Mexican government that is more closely connected to the needs of the common man.
Many questions still remain unanswered, however, in the wake of the election. What will this mean for the future of relations between the U.S. and Mexico, and specifically how will Obrador get along with President Trump? What of the border wall that President Trump wants built and for which he has said Mexico will pay? And with NAFTA currently being re-negotiated, what will Obrador’s impact be on those talks?
Genaro Lozano, a professor of political science and international relations at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City; he is also columnist for the Mexican newspaper Reforma; he tweets @genarolozano
Rachel Schmidtke, program associate for migration at the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C.