Lopez Obrador driving a lot of Mexicans loco
Over the last few weeks, I've spoken with lots of friends in Mexico. Sooner or later, we end up talking about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, or AMLO, or L.O. He is the candidate of Morena (his own very leftist party) and appears headed for a plurality victory between 25 and 30% in July.
Under the Mexican system, the top vote-getter wins, whether it is 25% or whatever. It appears that three candidates will divide 90% of the vote this year, and one of them will win. It's a shame that PAN and PRI did not join forces and form a centrist coalition to stop the left, but that's the way it is south of the border.
Mr. L.O. presents himself as the "anti-Trump." My guess is that he will get a Spanish show on MSNBC if he loses the election.
Mr. L.O.'s latest idea is to hold a referendum every two years, or a vote of confidence. He has promised to resign if people are not happy with him. It's enough to drive the Mexican center into a rage, as we see in this report:
"Every two years there will be a popular consultation to ask if you want me to remain in the presidency or if I should resign," Lopez Obrador said, in a brief speech after formally registering his candidacy with electoral authorities. Mexican presidents are permitted only one term of six years, and the 64-year-old Lopez Obrador said last week he would not be seeking to change the law to allow him to run again.
As my friend said, "this is just what we need: a consultation every two years. More marches..."
Mr. L.O. won't get his way and will have to serve a full six-year term. He is also promising to change things but not mess up the economy or foreign investment. He's been evasive about the energy reforms under President Peña Nieto, a good accomplishment.
We will see how it all turns out. Mr. L.O. ran in 2006 and lost a very close election that bitterly divided the country. He followed that loss with mass marches and threats of this or that. He is promising an even bigger reaction if they "steal" another election from him.
My guess is that Sr. L.O. won't be so lucky. In other words, he is actually going to win and be forced to manage a country a lot more worried about personal security and shootings than President Trump or NAFTA.
Another friend said, "Faltan tres meses," or three months left. He is hoping for a miracle in a country a lot more cynical about the political class than the toughest "drain the swamp" American.