Mexico’s election season is right around the corner and two candidates are already leading in the polls. It looks likely that leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico’s MORENA party and conservative candidate Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo of PAN will face off in July 2018.
Kenneth Greene, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Government, says the politics surrounding this election mirror the nationalist movement that’s going on in Europe and the U.S.
“In Mexico, people are flocking to a nationalistic perspective and thinking about how to reinforce Mexico first, “ Greene says.
In particular, Greene says Zavala Gómez del Campo is taking an outsider stance on many of issues.
“An outsider stance these days means questioning NAFTA and thinking about reorienting Mexico’s economy for domestic consumption and possibly enhancing ties to other Latin American countries,” Greene says.
Despite these outsider approaches, Greene says contrary to the result of the U.S. election, it’s likely that leftist López Obrador will come out on top.
“It’s his election to lose at this point,” Greene says. “The Trump presidency is moving people toward a criticism of the U.S., criticism of NAFTA and certainly concerns over immigration. All three of those things are central to the López Obrador platform and have been for quite some time.”
Greene says that support of Mexico’s leftist candidate may have larger-scale implications about the spread of nationalism and its counter-movement.
“It’s possible that what we’re seeing now is the rise of right-wing populism in immigration-receiving countries and a rise of leftwing populism possibly in immigrant-sending countries,” Green says.
Written by Morgan O’Hanlon.