“It’s the same populism as Trump. Trump has divided the United States, and now López Obrador has divided Mexicans.”
That’s how author and political commentator Francisco Martín Moreno describes the fervor surrounding Mexican presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Populist is a label that is often attached to the fiery leftist candidate, who is running for president for the third time. But with many Mexicans desperate for a leader who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump while also tackling corruption and poverty at home, López Obrador may have just what it takes to win the election in July 2018.
The former Mexico City mayor has promised to fight income inequality by increasing the minimum wage, expanding public spending and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Mexico’s favor. Recent polls show the independent politician as an early front-runner, and with the major parties struggling to even field a candidate, a López Obrador presidency is starting to seem increasingly likely. But victory is far from certain: Over a long political career, he’s become a polarizing force, splitting voters, commentators and fellow politicians who see him as either a Mexican messiah or an angry rabble-rouser, hungry for power.
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