The weekly newsletter of the México Solidarity Project
May 26, 2021/ This week’s issue/ Meizhu Lui, for the editorial team
They’re coming down the home stretch. Will last time’s winner be able to hang on? Or will some former champ come on strong to win by a nose?
The last time Mexicans went to the polls, in 2018, candidates running under the banner of the fledgling Morena Party stampeded into federal, state, and municipal office alongside Morena’s presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel Lopéz Obrador, or AMLO as everyone in México knows him. Morena candidates left the former stable of winners from the neoliberal PRI and PAN parties so far back in the dust that none of their usual electoral shenanigans could deny Morena an overwhelming victory.
Three years have sped by, and now, in less than two weeks, Morena is looking to repeat its electoral success. AMLO won’t be on the ballot himself. His single six-year term has three more years to run. But in México, as in the United States, midterm elections matter. No Mexican president can make good on election promises without a legislative majority. Over the past three years, AMLO had that majority. With it, he didn’t just increase public benefits for poor and middle-income families. These benefits became constitutional rights.
And where has the US government been during this spring’s midterm electioneering? On matters Mexican, the United States has never been an uninterested spectator. This time around, as in 2018, the US government has gone beyond cheerleading for Morena’s opposition. US tax dollars, as Kurt Hackbarth reports below, are once again boosting Morena’s competition. US officials cry foul when Russians attempt to meddle in US elections. But we have yet to see any official US response to AMLO’s demand for an explanation of why the US is interfering in Mexico’s voting.
And what about US working people, what stance should we be taking? AMLO hasn’t been perfect the past three years. He’s occasionally stumbled and will undoubtedly stumble again. So does that mean we should pay this race no mind? Hardly. Just look at the competition, those former PRI and PAN winners who spent their years in office impoverishing the people and enriching themselves.
Most of all, we need to remember that we don’t have a horse race here. We have a serious political choice. At stake in that choice: the lives of people on both sides of the border.
Jesús Hermosillo, an LA-based nurses union rep with a deep knowledge of health issues, also rates as a perceptive analyst of political currents in his native México. Those two areas of expertise inform his recent article in the journal Current Affairs, México: Land of Pandemics and Hope. Hermosillo challenges the mainstream narrative on México’s handling of the pandemic, noting that after decades of neoliberal misrule, the country is fighting to recover from more than just Covid.