When he played baseball in that steamy village he grew up in, teenager Andrés Manuel López Obrador was referred to by his teammates as El Molido or Grinder and is known for his ability to throw the ball far into the bushes ,
According to polls, López Obrador will win the race with a home game against Ricardo Anaya – True National Action Party (PAN) with two to one votes. The result would be a change in Mexican politics that would make the country since Lázaro Cárdenas its first truly left-wing leader in the 1930s, expropriating oil from American and British companies. It would put a left-wing nationalist across the Rio Grande by Donald Trump, who has pledged to break trade deals with Mexico and build a wall on the border to ward off "evil hombres".
How López Obrador rose to the highest In the country, he has mainly engaged in pueblos-small towns and villages like his native Tepetitán. This is the best way to understand López Obrador's brand of leftist nationalism. Many pueblos have been hit hard by the downsides of globalization, their craft industries have been wiped out by factory imports, their farmers have been crushed by agribusiness, their young trek to the US to lay bricks and fruit. In his places, López Obrador has promised the crowds to revive the pueblos and their people, to build roads, to repair schools, to pay pensions and subsidies.
"I have the dream that there is no emigration, that Mexicans can work and be happy, where they were born, where their family is, where their culture is," said López Obrador to a rally in Jerez, Zacatecas, and nodded to Martin Luther King Jr. "And those who want to go do not go out of necessity because they do not want to."
Mexico may soon find out whether a move towards a more nationalist state-oriented economy is affecting the poor uplifts and suppresses the violence, as López Obrador says – or if it backs against Mexico even deeper in a hole.
<p class = "Canvas Atom Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " The Mexico , in which [Lopez Obrador] grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, offered completely different perspectives than it did today: the economy experienced a growth rate that exceeded 10% for several years, and pueblos were romanticized by filmmakers as the most important habitats of Mexico Tabasco State, was a closely linked community whose older residents remember to eat fresh fish and dance along the riverbank.López Obrador still speaks with a hint of a local accent and sprinkles popular expressions in his speeches, leading to his Once he told former President Vicente Fox to "shut up, chachalaca" and refer to a loud bird flying around the swamps. "Data-reactid =" 52 " The Mexico, i In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a completely different perspective than today: the economy was growing at a rate of over 10% for several years, and pueblos were romanticized by filmmakers as the most important habitats in Mexico. "Tepetitán, in the state of Tabasco, was a close-knit community whose older residents remember eating fresh fish and enjoying river dances." López Obrador still speaks with a hint of a local accent, sprinkling folk expressions in his speeches and adding to his appeal added as a man of the people, former president Vicente Fox told him to "shut up, chachalaca," referring to a loud bird snaking around the swamps.
After graduating in political science, López stepped down Obrador soon became the Institutional Revolutionary Par at ty or PRI that led Mexico for most of the twentieth century, but when the PRI switched to a freer market policy, he broke out to help found the left party of the Democratic Revolution, the In 2000 he became Mayor of Mexico City.
His ambitions to become a nationalist were restored got thwarted, however. He lost his first inauguration in 2006, only 0.6% of the vote, after which he accused the government of fraud and blocked for months streets in protests. In 2012, he lost again, this time to Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI, with a further gap of 6% and called the vote in the courts unsuccessful.
So, he began to bring his message directly to the people, visiting all of Mexico's 2,464 communities and building a broad network of grassroots support. Manuela Obrador, a cousin who is a federal MP in the city of Palenque, described how they set up committees in barrios, ranches and jungle villages. "He goes to the pueblos because being close to people is what he's looking for," she tells TIME. "He goes to the churches, he walks in them, that makes him different, it makes him sensitive, he really sees the communities."
<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm" type = "text" content = " López Obradors Third run for The presidency took hold in 2014 when he founded his own political party, the Movement for National Renewal, or Morena, an acronym that also means "dark-skinned woman." The political scientist Frederico Estevez says This name sends a subtle message to the majority of Mexicans, who are rather dark-skinned, while the wealthy elite is often whiter. "It's very clever marketing," says Estevez. "He does not have to say anything, but the argument is there, play Identity Policy. "" Data-reactid = "67"> López Obrador's third run for the presidency was rooted in 2014, when he founded his own political party, the National Regeneration Movement, or Morena, an acronym that too "dark-skinned woman" means. Political scientist Frederico Estevez says that this name sends a subtle message to the majority of Mexicans, who tend to be darker skinned, while the wealthy elite is often whiter. "It's very clever marketing," says Estevez. "He does not have to say anything, but the dispute is there, playing identity politics."
How López Obrador built Through his network of grassroots movements into a popular movement, the disillusionment of the ruling government flourished. Peña Nieto led structural reforms and eventually allowed foreign private investors to reinvest in the oil sector, but growth was modest. Y Corruption scandals. and the murder rate has hit record highs. Peña Nieto's approval value hovers in the 1920s and PRI presidential candidate José Antonio Meade ranks third.
Like a US politician reviewing the founding fathers, López Obrador tells people that he is a Mexican president Like the revered historical figures Benito Juárez, Francisco I. Madero and Cárdenas. He claims he will pay for his promised social programs by eliminating corruption and bureaucracy, including the sale of the executive air force, and instead travel by land or commercial jet. He says he will fight drug violence by inviting Pope Francis to Mexico to help draft a peace plan. He promises to move out of the Presidential Palace, which, he says, has a "bad temper" and settles in an older building.
López Obrador promises more subsidies for smallholder farmers so they can compete better with American imports of foods such as corn and make Mexico more nutritious enough. But he has stopped calling for a trade war with the US in response to President Trump's increase in tariffs. He agrees that Mexican workers should be paid more. Mexico is the US's third largest trading partner, with $ 557 billion in cross-border trade last year.
How radical a President López Obrador would be is a matter of intensity debate in Mexico. Some call it a change forever, others a messianic chavista. Estevez says the fears of a Venezuela crisis are exaggerated. "In American terms, he's a Bernie Sanders," he says. "I do not admit that all populism is undemocratic in nature, and if you have a long generation of elite failures, you have to push the carpet to make a difference."
Journalist Sergio Sarmiento, who hosted the first presidential debate, Believes that López Obrador is more like Trump. "They both believe that you must manipulate the markets to protect the workers, and you both believe that you can do that by simply making decisions from the presidency," says Sarmiento TIME. "Trump scares many Mexicans, and that helps López Obrador because they think he's becoming more nationalist."
Although Trump and López Obrador sit at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, everyone belongs to a group of politicians who portray politics as a conflict between elites and the people they claim to represent. Many liberal academics see this loose group of populists as a threat to democracy and cite the shift to authoritarianism in countries such as Turkey, Venezuela, and the Philippines. In Mexico, critics of López Obrador use the term as criticism. "No to populism, no to fraud, no to demagoguery," said ex-Fox president in a series of anti-Lopez Obrador videos he published this year.
López Obrador answers in the words of his elite critics understand the movement he has built. "This populism is a story to scare," he said in the Pueblo of Actopan Crowd. "They do not even know what populism is … they do not define it conceptually." His chance to disprove it is likely to begin on July 1st, when voters, after years of unremitting efforts, are to hand over the presidency. But translating his promises as President of Mexico into politics could be his toughest run so far.