Andrés Manuel López Obrador won the Mexican presidency in a landslide election on Sunday. Obrador—or Amlo, as he’s commonly called—is a left-wing populist of the sort common to Latin America. A former mayor of Mexico City who twice ran for president and lost, in 2006 and 2012, the 64-year-old Obrador, who spent decades as a radical outsider in Mexican politics, now finds himself in the seat of power in a country that’s falling apart.
During his populist campaign, the silver-haired Obrador railed against the corruption of incumbent President Enrique Peña Nieto and his the conservative Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which Obrador denounced, not without good reason, as a “mafia of power.” Indeed, under Peña Nieto Mexico’s economy has stagnated and crime has spiraled out of control. It’s not a stretch to say the intertwined crises of poverty, corruption, and crime have driven Mexicans in desperation to elect their first leftist president since 1934.
Conservative media in America have greeted the news with alarm. Writing here at The Federalist on Friday, Helen Raleigh warned that Obrador’s “radical ideas will spell trouble for both Mexico and the U.S.,” citing his affinity for socialist dictators like Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. His positive view of illegal immigration to the United States could precipitate “a surge of illegal crossings at our southern borders.”
Concerns about Obrador and the border are especially acute among conservatives. Victor Davis Hanson declared last week in National Review that Americans should be concerned about Obrador because he is “anti-American” and will position Mexico as an “aggressor” by promoting the notion that Mexicans have a “human right” to illegally enter the United States.
Beyond illegal immigration, conservatives fear Obrador’s socialist tendencies. The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal warned Friday that an Obrador victory would cause Mexico to “slide backward,” undoing the economic progress of recent decades and undermining Mexico’s rising middle class. Fears of a leftist Mexican president have been echoed by The Daily Caller, Fox News, and even Sen. John McCain. (Read more from “Mexico’s New Leftist President Is Not a Threat, but the Collapse of Mexico Is” HERE)