GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Andrés Manuel López Obrador pointed to the sea of red T-shirts and flag-waving pendants squeezed onto a square in Guadalajara.
Never before had so many received him here. In his earlier campaigns for the president's office, the residents of Guadalajara, the wealthy capital of the state of Jalisco, shunned him and considered his leftist platform too radical.
But this time just days before one of the most important Mexican elections in decades, the cheers reflected a nationwide shift – and Mr. López Obrador's ability to ride it.
While corruption and violence gnaw at Mexico's patience, voters turned to a familiar face of Mr. López Obrador, a threefold presidential candidate who had once closed Mexico City months after a narrow loss that refused to defeat to accept.
He has built a deep connection with the poor, which have been built in more than a decade of visits to every corner of this country of 120 million
If the poll figures confirm on election day, Mr. López Obrador – who promised to sell the presidential plane and convert the opulent presidential palace into a public park – win by a landslide and hold a left leader accountable
He is currently 20 to 30 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, a breathtaking turn for a politician whose Future was anything but clear just a few years ago. But widespread loathing of Mexico's political establishment has brought him back into the electorate.
Now he could face an American president whose broadside against Mexico has plunged relations between the two nations to their lowest point in recent history. Despite all his brazen and confrontational views, López Obrador was surprisingly moderate with President Trump and pursued a pragmatic approach that closely resembles the Mexican establishment he seeks to overthrow.
"We will maintain a good relationship with the United States," said Mr. López Obrador in an interview. "Or rather, we will seek a good bilateral relationship because it is essential."
In fact, Mr. López Obrador has earned more than a few comparisons with Mr. Trump.
Both men whip their critic and perceived enemies. Both are suspicious of the press and control their power. A sense of nationalism and nostalgia for a lost past are central to their platforms and appeal.
But Mr. Trump turns right, Mr. López Obrador goes left. And while Mr. Trump has made Mexico a favorite destination, López Obrador describes the North American Free Trade Agreement as an important part of Mexico's livelihood.
"I mean, the Brazilians, the French can fight the US, but Mexico, for geopolitical reasons, we just can not," he added. "We have to agree."
Throughout much of his career, López Obrador focused on two key issues: poverty and corruption, national scourges that he considers inseparable. For the masses in Mexico, the two pillars of his platform have a strong appeal.
He vows to increase pensions for senior citizens, and education grants for the young people. He promises to cut top salaries in the government, including his own, and instead raise wages for the lowest-paid public employees. He says he will fight corruption and spend billions of dollars a year on savings on social programs.
Many doubt that he can remove the plugs or find the promised stroke of luck. But with the last 18 years between Mexico's two dominant parties staggering, voters seem increasingly willing to try something different.
Mr. López Obrador's positions have remained largely unchanged since his time as a young indigenous community organizer in his home state of Tabasco.
What has changed is the political climate of Mexico.
Persistent poverty and inequality, coupled with corruption scandals and an increase in violence have pushed voters towards López Obrador, who held the elected office in 2005 as mayor of Mexico City.
In addition, young people who have about 40 percent of the votes in this election have been widely accepted by Mr. López Obrador, who is the oldest candidate in the race at the age of 64.
"It's a kind of smallpox on all their homes," said Roberta S. Jacobson, former American Ambassador to Mexico. "He was the only one who was able to successfully profile himself as an outsider – and in Mexico there are a lot of people who feel outside."
In fact, Mr. López Obrador's election prospects owe as much to Enrique Peña Nieto to the current president as to his populist language and his promise to take over the powerful.
Presidents in Mexico have only six-year terms, and Mr. Peña Nieto's term was marked by corruption. After it was learned that his wife had bought a luxury home from a state-owned contractor at a great price, he was acquitted by a nationwide investigation of any wrongdoing.
After his administration, the reaction to the disappearance of 43 students was questioned by external experts. They were basically thrown out of the country . After evidence of illegal spying on journalists and human rights activists, the government did not investigate.
Mr. López Obrador now reaped the fruits of the missteps of Mr. Peña Nieto.
Remarkably, the election debate had little to do with Mr. Trump, who has targeted many aspects of life in Mexico, notably trade and migration.  But all major candidates in Mexico were united in their opposition to the threats made by Mr. Trump. The main reasons for this election are domestic problems – corruption, violence and poverty – that play into Mr. Lopez Obrador's hands.
As for a personal relationship with Mr. Trump, even some of Mr. Lopez Obrador 's closest associates said Englisch: www.mjfriendship.de/en/index.php?op…20&Itemid=32 how Mr. López Obrador could respond to the insults that the current president of Mexico has turned upside down. For his part, López Obrador says that Mr. Trump simply plays to his base.
"Trump is a politician, more than what one assumes, he acts politically, and it worked for him, his anti-immigrant politics and anti-Mexican rhetoric, the wall," he said
Mr. López Obrador has instead focused on the inside, frightening many Mexicans with his vow to adopt the "Mafia of Power," his acronym for business and political affairs Elite.
He says he can save more than $ 20 billion a year in an attack on corruption, a figure he recites in speeches whose origins are unclear.
For critics, his crusade is representative of the dangers Some would fear that he would simplify the problem of grafting and the task of eradicating it – as well as that Price tag for his big ambitions.
The same critics note that, despite its wide popularity, he could not rid Mexico City of corruption.
Mr. López Obrador is aware that Mexicans who have long suffered from the rich and powerful can be pulled into orbit.
In style and message he conveys simplicity. He lives in a modest two-story townhouse, flies to his election campaigns and has only a handful of suits.
But behind the modesty of his approach is a complex and unflinching ambition to reshape Mexico. For some, including Mr. López Obrador himself, he is something of a Messiah, the chosen leader to heal the diseases of his nation.
"He really believes that he is the best result for Mexico," said Kathleen Bruhn, a professor at the University of California University Santa Barbara, who has studied the career of Mr. López Obrador. "But I do not think that's incompatible with the fact that he wants to accumulate a lot of power."
"People talk about his rhetoric and how he will be like Hugo Chávez," polemicized and domineering former president of Venezuela, Ms Bruhn added. But "there is a trace of pragmatism that I hope will come out."
For others, his commanding temperament and fate are destiny recipes for disaster.
Mr. López Obrador often divides the world into two parts: the good and the elite, who robbed the country of equality and justice.
His division between good and evil extends to critics and institutions that he believes do not serve his agenda. Many worry that his assumed moral authority would bring him into conflict with the same institutions he was to protect.
He has fought with the Mexican news media, accusing them of corruption and bias. And while the news media have long survived on government funds which strongly influence the coverage, his anger is a sign of many worrying features: an inability to take criticism.
Similar to Mr. Trump, critics often attack personally and is a master of attribution.
Members of the wealthy elite are referred to as fifis, the equivalent of the bourgeois. But civil rights and democracy groups are sometimes rejected by Mr López Obrador, even though they are one of the few counterweights to rampant impunity in Mexico.
Many of the most prominent anti-corruption advocates are afraid of a López Obrador The Presidency fears that their burgeoning movement will be virtually eliminated from the discussion.
When Mr. López Obrador was Mayor of Mexico City, the organizers planned a march against the rising number of kidnappings, a tragic result of the war
He initially refused to meet with the organizers and referred unrestrainedly on their initiatives as projects of the rich.
María Elena Moreira, who now heads the non-profit Common Cause group and helped organize the march, said she was worried that Mr. López Obrador would marginalize foreign policy efforts to improve Mexico's democracy.
"One has to understand how to institutionalize this change, not all limited to one single point Erson's mission," she added.
Mr. López Obrador has been in full-time campaigning for more than a decade, and his party, Morena, is all around him. Now it is on the cusp of turning politics in Mexico upside down and leaving long parties on the verge of ruin.
Few have thought that a leftist leader could take over the helm of Mexico. It remains by the standards of Latin America a very conservative, Catholic nation.
But Mr. López Obrador has managed to unite a broad movement that includes unions, extreme right-wing conservatives, religious groups, traditional leftists and some of the same. Attacked officials he spends his days ranting about.
In a sense, what Mr. López Obrador built is similar to the President's Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI – a party ready to include almost all of its power in its walls. Some members of the PRI have already defected for fear of impending pressure on Mr López Obrador's party.
He also has a television manager from a station that relies heavily on government funds – the very kind he attacks as endangered – when he wins, he serves as his education minister.
While some consider its proximity to the unions and extreme right as contradictory, others consider the alliances a proof of its pragmatic side.
As mayor of Mexico City kept tight spending limits and worked with the private sector, including telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim. He built a highway to alleviate congestion, a project that benefited largely the middle class, not his typical base.
If elected president, he promised to take fiscal austerity measures. To reassure the business world, he has promised not to nationalize companies.
When he left his office, Mr. López Obrador enjoyed nearly 80 percent approval. The presidency did not seem to be excluded. But the conservative National Action Party, which held the presidency, managed to call it a radical and a threat to democracy.
In a highly competitive battle, López Obrador lost less than 1 percent in the 2006 elections. and almost immediately took to the streets to protest what he considered to be widespread fraud. His backers took over central downtown and blocked one of the city's major arteries, Reforma Avenue.
He then held an inauguration ceremony and appointed a Shadow Cabinet to rule the nation and declare its rightful president.
The move seemed to confirm some of the harshest reviews on him and alienate some of his followers. Finally he grabbed and moved on, and many commentators wrote him off.
He lost much less in 2012 again. But Mr. López Obrador continued to expand his coalition and prepare for another run.