Amid the national hysteria over American immigration and border security policy, many appear to be missing the potential massive impact that the coming elections in Mexico will have on these policies, along with the impact the election will have on U.S.-Mexico relations and the cooperation that is ultimately needed to end the crisis at the southern border.
Mexicans will head to the ballot box on July 1 to elect a new president. According to polling, far-left politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the clear favorite to lock up the presidency. Recent polls show that he consistently garners over 50 percent of expected voters’ support. His closest rival, Ricardo Anaya, registers around 25 percent support on average in recent polls.
López Obrador is not only a committed leftist, but he appears to be fiercely anti-American. As someone who rose through the political ranks attached to communist and socialist revolutionary politics, he has been described as the ideological “twin” of radical leftist British politician Jeremy Corbyn.
On the campaign trail, the front-runner has branded himself as a fierce nationalist and populist who wants to distance his country from the U.S. His leftist nationalism has drawn comparisons to the rhetoric of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.
López Obrador has in the past pledged to stop all security cooperation with the United States. During the Trump presidency, his anti-American rhetoric has only increased.
In January, he pledged that if he were elected, he would put President Trump “in his place.” The next month, he said he would seek United Nations intervention to stop the United States from securing its southern border with Mexico.
“If he insists on building the wall, we’re going to turn to the United Nations to defend the rights of Mexicans. I’m conscious of my historic responsibility,” López Obrador said in a February debate.
“Mexico and its people will not be the piñata of any foreign government,” López Obrador said in a May speech targeting the United States. “It’s not with walls or use of force that you resolve social problems.”
However, in recent weeks, as his lead continues to climb, López Obrador has notably softened his tone.
Last week, López Obrador said he believes he can use diplomacy to convince the president to back off on his border wall policy.
It remains to be seen which ideology López Obrador will embrace should he become Mexico’s next president. Will his revolutionary impulses lead to the destruction of relations with the United States, or will his nationalist-centrist campaign result in a president who respects the sovereignty of his neighbor to the north?