A Perfect Storm of Support Buoys Lopez Obrador in Mexico’s Presidential Race

A Perfect Storm of Support Buoys Lopez Obrador in Mexico’s Presidential Race
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holds his hand out to take an oath as he is named the presidential candidate for the Morena political party, Mexico City, Feb. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

With less than four months until Mexico’s presidential election, it looks like a perfect storm of support is brewing for the perennial standard-bearer of the left, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO.

The former mayor of Mexico City, who is mounting his third quest for the presidency, could hardly find the current conditions more to his liking. Everywhere he looks, at home and abroad, the stars appear to be aligning in his favor. His foes are fighting each other; the president of the United States is using rhetoric that unwittingly bolsters his prospects; and even Russia is apparently putting its thumb on the scales to help the chances of a candidate who, despite recently moderating his tone and vowing to have a good relationship with the United States, has a lengthy record of anti-Americanism.

It is hardly surprising that the perennial candidate, who once refused to accept defeat and even held a mock swearing-in ceremony to disavow the election winner, is leading in the polls. He is running in a time of profound disappointment with the status quo. The current president, Enrique Pena Nieto, is deeply unpopular. From the earliest days of his administration, he and his party have been dogged by charges of corruption. Pena Nieto is constitutionally barred from re-election, but his unpopularity is such an obstacle for his party, the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, that it decided to field a candidate who was not even a party member.

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