Sheinbaum Won’t Be Mexico’s AMLO 2.0

Sheinbaum Won’t Be Mexico’s AMLO 2.0
A banner showing Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is seen on a street corner in Tapachula, Mexico, Feb. 27, 2024 (photo by Kayo Goto for the Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images).

On March 1, Mexico City’s giant central square, the Zocalo, filled beyond its enormous capacity with supporters of Claudia Sheinbaum, the ruling Morena party’s candidate for president, who kicked off her official campaign to chants of “Claudia! Claudia!” and “La presidenta!” With three months until the June 2 contest to choose a successor to President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO, Sheinbaum will come under increasing scrutiny, even as her eventual victory looks almost assured.    

My recent travels in Mexico confirm what the polls have found: Claudia, as her supporters call her, is a strong favorite to defeat her main challenger, Xochitl Galvez; and much of her support stems from the popularity of her mentor, AMLO, whose approval rating stands at 69 percent—the highest of any Mexican president in decades—as he wraps up his constitutional limit of one six-year term.

It’s hardly surprising, then, that Sheinbaum is vowing to continue AMLO’s policies. But that’s also why in this election, instead of the traditional focus on identifying the differences between the opposing candidates, it’s worth exploring the contrasts between AMLO and Sheinbaum, as the electoral calculus will lead her to downplay these distinctions ahead of Election Day.

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