The first national televised debate was held last night.
All candidates were after AMLO, and he didn't answer the attacks, but rolled most of his campaign slogans.
According to most pundits and polls, Anaya was the clear winner.
Meade was OK, but didn't connect, he sounded like a technocrat even when saying that his wife was mugged during AMLO's goverment in Mexico City.
Zavala was terrible, mumbling and loud.
El Bronco was at ease and sometimes funny, but he had the worst proposals (militarizing high schools, cutting off hands of thieves).
AMLO may lose some of his huge lead, but it will still be confortable. Anaya may win a bit from all sides. Meade seems doomed. Zavala should lose what little she had.
Graciela Márquez -the top AMLO aide the WSJ interviewed- was my student when I taught at UNAM. I was also part of her graduation jury. She got straight A's because she studied a lot, but -honestly- she's not much of a thinker. She was a Marxist with the marxist teacher, a Keynesian with a keynesian teacher and a Monetarist with a monetarist teacher. She'll do what the boss says.
She was proposed by AMLO to be Secretary of Economy (Trade) if he wins.
I believe she believes AMLO will honor NAFTA. I'm not sure he will.
AMLO himself has said: "We will produce in Mexico everything we consume":
She just needed to take some philosophy courses.
The latest poll by Reforma newspaper is devastating:
AMLO (Morena) 48%
Anaya (Front) 30%
Meade (PRI) 17%
Zavala (Independent) 3%
Bronco (Independent) 2%
In the previous days there were some rumors that Meade would decline his candidacy in favor of Anaya. Both candidates have refuted the idea. AMLO followers have insisted on it, saying PRI and the Front are the same thing.
The crisis in PRI is obvious. The party's president, Enrique Ochoa -a dunce, if you permit me to express my opinion- resigned; his substitute, René Juárez, is supposed to be "more in contact with the party base". The fact is that not even the PRI faithful are happy with Meade's campaign (now centered on frightening people of a possible AMLO dictatorship... as if the nation's institutions were made of plaster or paper).
The Reforma poll expressed one thing: a lot of people (27%) think AMLO is a danger to Mexico... but 30% think poor Meade -the continuity of a PRI government- is the real danger.
I always thought Donald Trump was a danger, but he won any ways. Look what he's done in his first year. Divided the country, added tariffs to steel and aluminum, criticized our allies, and kissed up to Putin. Trump's unfavorable rating is 53%, and his favorable rating is 40%. Trump's been a bigot, liar and scammer all his life, and the voters gave him the most powerful position in this world. We're now all in danger on many fronts in addition to his stupid tariffs, and border wall.
Some polls from the important state of Jalisco (capital: Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city).
In Jalisco, the conservative party (PAN) broke with the Front in the local elections. Jalisco's conservatives are very much so.
Same thing happened, at the local level, between PRI and its Federal allies.
This does not happen in the Senate race, in the case of the Front.
Poll by Reforma:
Alfaro (Citizen's Movement) 50%
Lomelí (Morena) 20%
Castro (PRI) 17%
Martínez (PAN) 7%
Poll by Massive Caller:
Alfaro (Citizen's Movement) 43%
Castro (PRI) 22%
Lomelí (Morena) 21%
Martinez (PAN) 9%
In any case, it'll be a landslide win for Alfaro
(People vote for a 2 person formula; the party with the most votes gets both senators elected, the party in second place gets one senator; another 32 senators are elected nationwide, proportionately)
Castañeda & Delgadillo (Front) 34%
Kumamoto & Delgado (Independents) 28%
Cárdenas & Pérez (Morena) 21%
Corona & Contreras (PRI) 13%
Other formulas: 4%
Kumamoto & Delgado 29%
Castañeda & Delgadillo 25%
Corona & Contreras (PRI) 20%
Cárdenas & Pérez (Morena) 15%
As you can see, there are striking differences in the polls.
In one case, we'd have 2 senators from the Front and young independent Kumamoto
In the other, the independents would have done the feat of defeating the stablished parties (2 senators for them, one for the Front)
Probably, Morena's candidate for governor, Lomelí, will lose a few points in these days, because of a scandal: some of his properties belonged first to drug traffickers. Who sold them to him?
Now we move South:
Poll for Chiapas governor (ARCOP)
(remember Chiapas is governed by the Greens, but they split with the PRI because they imposed the candidacy of Roberto Albores)
Cruz (Morena) 43%
Albores (PRI) 30%
Aguilar (Front) 24%
Orantes (Independent) 3%
Poll for Tabasco governor (ARCOP)
(Tabasco is the home state of AMLO, now governer by PRD -Front-)
López (Morena) 57%
Gaudiano (Front) 24%
Trujillo (PRI) 12%
Alí (Independent) 3%
Cantón (Greens) 2%
López (Morena) 50%
Trujillo (PRI) 20%
Gaudiano (Front) 19%
Alí (Independent) 7%
Cantón (Greens) 4%
Margarita Zavala just resigned her candidacy (supporting no one, for now).
In the polls she neved reached two digits, and was in downward spiral after the first presidential debate.
Perhaps her 3 points will be distributed between Anaya and Meade.
A twitter commentary about this consertivative ex-candidate I just read:
"Hey, Margarita, you should've given your candidacy in adoption, instead of aborting it!"
Now I have some time to write about the second national debate for presidential candidates, which was held on Sunday.
The main theme was supposed to be foreign policy. It ended up being a debate about Mexico-US relations, migration and crime.
On Mexico-US relations, Meade (PRI) was for keeping them the way they are, looking for compromises, "based on mutual respect"; Anaya (Front) was for a different approach "You don't appease tyrants, you stand up to them", and slipped the idea that Mexico would put everything in the negotiating table with the US, including cooperation in security; AMLO (Morena) said that the US will respect us if we have "moral authority", which we don't, because of the corrupt government. When he is in power, the moral authority will be restored, and the US will respect us.
Anaya forced Meade to answer if the Trump-Peña Nieto reunion, when Trump was a candidate, was a mistake or not. Meade could not distance himself from the President, and said it was not a mistake, and if the reunion hadn't been held, Trump would have already repudiated Nafta.
On Nafta, everybody was for it, even AMLO, who in the past said the agreement had made the poor poorer and the rich richer. On the pressure, from the US and Canada to raise Mexican wages, AMLO and Anaya had some sort of a race: Anaya said the minimum wage should be raised inmediately to $100 pesos (about 15%) and doubled in two years. AMLO said it should be doubled inmediately. Bronco
said the living wage is about 4 times the actual minimum, but was against even having a minimum wage set. Meade defended the status quo.
On migration, Meade was the only candidate to distinguish between different types of migrants (against law breakers) while the others carried on saying "we should treat them as we'd want our migrants to be treated". On Mexicans in the US, everyone supported DACA and loathed the wall and deportation schemes. Anaya proposed that Mexicans abroad should have their own type of representation in Congress and AMLO said that, in his government, there will be no need for Mexicans to migrate.
On border security, Meade was the one with more information (no wonder, he was Secretary of Foreign Relations), Anaya was forced to say he's not for the legalization of mariguana (a divide in the Front: his PAN party is against; the PRD allies are for), and AMLO said he would convince poppy growers to change to corn (and Bronco
scorned him: "there's no way to produce corn in the Guerrero Sierra").
In one moment during the debate, Anaya moved towards AMLO, to show him that foreign investment did not really grow in Mexico City when AMLO was mayor: the big chunk written as foreign investment was the buyout of two big Mexican banks by (American) Citicorp and (Spanish) Santander.
The first reaction by AMLO was to show his wallet and embrace it ("to keep it safe"). The second, was to call Ricardo Anaya "Ricky Riquín Canallín", which can be traslated as "Richie Rich Little Scoundrel".
Reminded me of Trump calling Rubio "Little Marco".
AMLO's lead is beginning to look unsurmountable.
'Tropical Messiah': Trump-Style Disrupter Leads In Mexican Presidential Race.'
Wall Street Journal
MEXICO CITY—In 2006, Andrés Manuel López Obrador lost his first presidential race by a hair. He refused to concede, and in a surreal ceremony donned a presidential sash and declared himself Mexico’s legitimate president. Earlier, in a fiery speech in the capital’s historic square, he cursed Mexico’s governing institutions.
“Although my opponents may not like it, to hell with their institutions,” shouted the silver-haired politician as the crowd cheered wildly.
Now the 64-year-old leftist nationalist is weeks away from an election in which he is making his third run for the presidency. Polls make him the front-runner, and hint at a possible landslide. The prospect has split the country, terrifying many of Mexico’s top businessmen and electrifying many average Mexicans who are fed up with the country’s politics-as-usual of unbridled corruption, sluggish growth and skyrocketing violence.
If Mr. López Obrador is sworn in as president—this time for real—it isn’t entirely clear which man will turn up. Many fear it will be the fervent social activist with an authoritarian streak who sees the country divided in two camps, what he calls a “mafia of the powerful” against Mexico’s “good and honest people.” Others hope it will be the López Obrador who as Mexico City mayor proved to be a pragmatic manager, joining with telecom magnate Carlos Slim to restore down-at-the-heels neighborhoods.
Mr. López Obrador and an aide didn’t respond to multiple requests for an interview.
The stakes are almost as high for the U.S. as for Mexico. In the past quarter-century, Mexico has gone from being a distant and standoffish neighbor with periodic economic crises to a close political ally and key economic partner. The relationship has endured even during recent disagreements over immigration and the North American Free Trade Agreement prompted by the combative stance of the Trump administration.
All that may change if Mr. López Obrador becomes president.
“López Obrador will be focused on Mexico first,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, and author of “Vanishing Frontiers,” a book about the Mexican-U.S. relationship. “Unlike recent Mexican governments, who saw the U.S. as a big force in Mexico’s economic future, he doesn’t see a major role for the U.S. in Mexico’s economy in years ahead.”
On the campaign, Mr. López Obrador has said he would treat President Donald Trump with “caution and respect.” The two men share more than a few traits: Both are highly gifted marketers and economic nationalists with an instinct for overturning political convention. Mr. López Obrador has found common ground with the U.S. president, agreeing that the new Nafta should lift Mexican workers’ wages.
Mr. López Obrador has also promised to respond in kind if Mr. Trump persists in belittling Mexico—even vowing to engage in Twitter warfare with the U.S. president. In his strongest comments about Mr. Trump during a speech last year in Los Angeles, Mr. López Obrador said Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric was racist, xenophobic and “neo-fascist.”
Mexico's growing commerce with the U.S. has helped drive down poverty rates, but violent crime is soaring.
A senior administration official said the White House wouldn’t comment on individual candidates. “We look forward to having a cordial and productive relationship with whomever the Mexican people choose as their next president, and we will continue to seek ways to strengthen our relationship with Mexico—one of our most important partners,” the official said.
Polls show Mr. López Obrador with an average 15-point lead over Ricardo Anaya, the former president of the center-right National Action Party, or PAN. Some analysts say Mr. Anaya, 39, still has an outside chance of victory if he wins the backing of moderate voters frightened by Mr. López Obrador.
Running a distant third is José Antonio Meade, a straight-laced former finance minister who is the candidate of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
The July 1 vote could be Mr. López Obrador’s last best shot to win the presidency after suffering defeats in 2006 and 2012. His anticorruption message, the heart of his campaign, is more popular than ever because President Enrique Peña Nieto’s government has been plagued by scandals. Half a dozen PRI state governors stand accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars. Out-of-control criminal violence and persistent poverty have added to a hunger for change.
“The context couldn’t be better for him. The greater the public unrest, the better for López Obrador,” said political analyst and columnist Jesús Silva-Herzog.
During his more than 40 years in public life, Mr. López Obrador has become the country’s best-known politician. He has campaigned relentlessly for the past 15 years, an odyssey that has taken him to all of Mexico’s 2,457 municipalities.
Before his quest for the presidency, Mr. López Obrador made mass mobilization and confrontation his trademark. In the 1990s, he led thousands of followers in three separate protest caravans, each time walking hundreds of miles from coastal Tabasco, the lush, oil-producing state of his birth, to Mexico City.
In 2006, protesting what he said was a rigged election, he sent thousands of supporters to occupy Reforma, Mexico City’s elegant, tree-lined boulevard. They pitched hundreds of tents, blocking the city’s main artery for two months.
Now, he promises a “Fourth Transformation” for Mexico, which will, he says, end the “long dark night of neoliberalism”—a reference to the decades since Mexico privatized most state companies. He sees his coming to power as the culmination of Mexico’s epic history of struggle against powerful elites which have kept tens of millions of people in misery.
“We live in a fake republic,” he often says at rallies across the country.
The ruling PRI party's José Antonio Meade, shown posing for a photo, is running a distant third in polls. Ricardo Anaya, candidate of the center-right PAN, is trailing by double digits,PHOTOS: ZUMA PRESS(2)
Mr. López Obrador pledges to “eradicate” Mexico’s endemic corruption, using money saved to pay for a major public works program, as well as pensions for old people and monthly wages for a countrywide apprenticeship program for two million unemployed young people.
His government, he says, will be marked by austerity. He plans to move out of the presidential mansion, Los Pinos, and rent a house. He has said he doesn’t have a credit card or checking account.
Despite this apparent personal austerity, many fear Mr. López Obrador wants to return Mexico to the state-directed economy favored during the long rule of the ruling PRI party during the 20th century, when the government gave powerful interest groups control over key sectors of the economy. He has pledged to cancel Mexico’s recent education overhaul, which tried to bring the powerful teacher union to heel by establishing merit-based exams.
Foreign investors are nervous about Mr. López Obrador’s plans to reassess Mexico’s opening to private investment in the country’s oil industry, which is expected to bring $150 billion to the energy sector. They also worry about his threats to cancel Mexico City’s multibillion new airport, currently under construction.
Such talk reminds many Mexicans of President Luis Echeverría, who governed Mexico in the 1970s. Mr. Echeverría combined import-substitution policies, sharply increased government spending and socialist rhetoric. The story ended badly: Inflation skyrocketed and the government devalued the peso for the first time in 22 years.
In what some see as an echo of the populist tactics of the late Venezuelan ruler Hugo Chávez, Mr. López Obrador says he plans to have Mexicans vote on key policies by means of popular referendums, including a vote in the midterm election on whether to throw him out of his job. He also wants a new “constitution of morals” alongside Mexico’s current constitution, drafted by “philosophers, anthropologists, psychologists, specialists, writers, poets, activists, Native Americans, and leaders of different religions.”
The Tabasco politician has often cast himself in religious terms, lacing speeches with biblical metaphors. He twice called his 1990 marches an “Exodus,” and has named his youngest son Jesús Ernesto—for the Christian savior and the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
“It’s an immense joy to form part of this movement to build, here on earth, the kingdom of justice and brotherhood,” said Mr. López Obrador in a 2016 speech. His own party is the Movement of National Regeneration, whose acronym, Morena, is a reference to Mexico’s dark-skinned national patron, the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The former Mexico City mayor often sees persecution against him, and he doesn’t shy away from publicly naming alleged conspirators. In May, he accused, without providing any evidence, a number of Mexico’s top businessmen of plotting to rig the election.
“We are worried that he could harbor authoritarian instincts,” said Alejandro Ramírez, the chairman of Mexico’s largest chain of movie theaters and one of the businessmen accused by Mr. López Obrador. “Many people fear saying anything because of possible reprisals.”
The politician has also said he has little trust in Mexico’s fledgling nonprofit advocacy groups who often lead the fight against government corruption and lack of transparency.
Mexican historian Enrique Krauze, who in an essay once called Mr. López Obrador a “Tropical Messiah,” said in an interview: “I don’t know if Congress, the Supreme Court, and Mexico’s independent institutions like the central bank and media can resist his personal power.”
The Mexican nationalist acknowledges he has a strong personality that often works against him. “The challenge [for Tabasco politicians] has always been to reconcile reason and passion,” he wrote in his 1995 book “Between History and Hope.”
Mr. López Obrador was born in 1953 in Macuspana, a slapdash city of some 50,000 people surrounded by swamps, rivers and large cattle ranches.
The eldest of seven, he used to play third base and center field in improvised baseball games. His childhood idol was Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax, said Félix Ramos, a former teammate. Locals remember him as quiet and shy. A devoted Catholic, he was briefly an altar boy in Macuspana, where he attended junior high school.
Mr. López Obrador’s bucolic youth was marred by the death of one of his brothers, José Ramon, who killed himself in an apparent gun accident and died in the future politician’s arms in their parents’ store. “He started playing with his father’s gun and it went off,” says Soledad López, a childhood friend.
As a college student at the national public university, Mr. López Obrador was good at history and political philosophy but had to retake statistics and mathematics, according to a copy of his grades. It took him 14 years to graduate, getting a 7.7 grade average out of 10. (Six is a passing grade.)
He has written 16 books, many about the country’s history. His thesis, about Mexico’s difficult early years as a republic, analyzes the five foreign interventions the country suffered during the period—two of them involving the U.S.
As a young PRI politician, he lived five years among Chontal Indians, enduring primitive conditions in a virtual swamp, and promoted economic development projects. Forty years later, people in the area still remember his work. “He was the first to help us,” said Jose Reyes, a community leader.
Mr. López Obrador was named head of the PRI in Tabasco state in 1983. But he soon faced a rebellion from mayors who rebuffed his attempts to gain oversight over their spending. The governor removed him.
Increasingly disillusioned by the PRI, he left the party in 1988 and joined a breakaway leftist movement headed by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, the son of former President Lázaro Cárdenas, one of Mr. López Obrador’s heroes for having expropriated the oil industry in 1938.
After his marches to Mexico City to protest fraud in two lost gubernatorial elections made him a national figure, Mr. López Obrador returned to the capital and won a close mayoral election in 2000.
In Mexico City, Mr. López Obrador built a reputation as a can-do mayor with a backbreaking schedule. He held a daily press conference at 6:15 a.m.—including weekends—where he often was able to set Mexico’s national agenda for the day.
Closer to home, he built the city’s free elevated highway and provided pensions for the city’s elderly, single mothers and disabled. He called in former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to help design an anticrime plan.
He also trimmed the city’s bureaucracy and cut costs by centralizing purchases and ending sweetheart contracts, former aides say. The savings helped fund increased spending without piling on debt—a plan Mr. López Obrador says he wants to roll out nationally.
“López Obrador will be the same pragmatic person we saw as mayor,” said Olga Sánchez, a former supreme court justice who is slated to be the new Interior minister if he wins. She also plays down criticism of his authoritarian instincts. “He was very respectful of the judiciary.”
He also had some difficult moments.
In 2004, René Bejarano, Mr. López Obrador’s former personal secretary, was caught on videotape accepting wads of bills from a businessman. After eight months in jail, he was eventually cleared of corruption charges. The same year, the city’s finance chief was filmed making big bets at a Las Vegas casino. He was fired and sent to prison. He denied any wrongdoing.
“López Obrador’s anticorruption record is far from satisfactory,” said María Amparo Casar, the co-president of Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, a government-accountability nonprofit. “He thinks that corruption will disappear just by the fact he is president. He is wrong.”
Mr. López Obrador acknowledges this election will be his last hurrah.
“For me, it’s to the National Palace or to La Chingada,” he says jokingly, the last a reference to a country house he owns in southern Mexico. La Chingada is profane Mexican slang for going to a terrible place.
In fact, La Chingada is idyllic—full of bamboo groves, palm and mango trees where Mr. López Obrador goes to rest, write and plant more trees.
Supporters are sure this time Mr. López Obrador will win and begin a new era in Mexican history. “This is something that every people need sometime, a moment where they get close to Utopia,” says Lorenzo Meyer, a leftist historian and longtime supporter.
Asked if utopias don’t turn into dystopias, he replied: “Not all of them.”
The campaigns are finally over.
We vote on Sunday.
According to the polls, it'll be a landslide for Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
He closed his campaign yesterday, with a full Estadio Azteca, a concert and a feeling that he is already President Elect.
Out of 9 governorships, AMLO's party, Morena, will probably win 4 of them: Mexico City, Tabasco, Chiapas and Morelos. The Front will win 2: Jalisco (the candidate is from Citizen's Movement) and Guanajuato (the candidate is from PAN, the Conservatives).
3 other state races are nose to nose, according to polls: Puebla and Veracruz, between the Front and Morena; Yucatán, between the Front and PRI.
It may well be that the governing party, PRI, ends up empty-handed.
The big question for Sunday is whether Morena and its allies at the far left and far right (PT, Maoist; PES, Christian Evangelical) will have an absolute majority in Congress. AMLO's final campaign push is exactly for that: he warns followers not to divide their vote (an easy thing to do, given that some of Morena's candidates are unacceptable for several reasons).
This is a good article by WSJ, describing the two Mexicos, North and South, that collide in this election.
This is how I will vote:
(Remember, we have both district or State and "party" representatives in all chambers)
President: Ricardo Anaya (Front), I will mark him under PRD.
Senate: Front- Citizen's Movement (Senators I'm sure I'll get in : Emilio Álvarez Icaza, an Independent, for the Front, in the State race; Patricia Mercado, a feminist Socialdemocrat, for Citizen's Movement in the party lists)
Chamber of Representatives: Front-Citizen's Movement (the Front's candidate of my district is Federico Döring, a PAN politician better known for discovering a big fraud by AMLO's private secretary; the MC list is headed by Martha Tagle, a left-wing activist).
Mexico City governor: Marco Rascón, Humanist Party. (I just couldn't stomach Alejandra Barrales' campaign; the Front's candidate tried to appeal voters by populist giveaways). Rascón is an old former Communist who acted as a true green candidate (not like the fakes of the so-called Green Party)
My borough's mayor: Margarita Martínez Fisher (Front-PAN). Anything but Victor Hugo Romo (nicknamed Romo-Ratota, or Romo-Big Rat, the candidate for Morena).
Mexico City legislature: My district's Front candidate is from PAN; I'll mark him under PRD .
So you're not voting for AMLO?
He named his house "La Chingada"? That is actually funny.
I still hope he gets sent there.
I was in Guadalajara last week. Most people I talked to think Lopez Obrador will win. My friends are unhappy. But, several of the Uber drivers I spoke with said they support AMLO because "we need a change".
thank you for your ongoing coverage
I don't think I could handle such long elections cycles. I'd likely be at the first advance poll I could find just to get it over with.