This Sunday, Mexicans will go to the polls to elect a new president. Of all the things we will be voting on, Donald Trump is not one of them. We are not voting as a reaction to his constant attacks on Mexico. Nor are we looking for the candidate most willing to stand up to him. Indeed, every Mexican agrees that there’s no edge in running against him. Trump is so despised that he is simply not an issue: He is equally opposed by every one of the candidates.
Mexicans are roughly evenly split between the leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a.k.a Amlo, and whomever they think can beat him. This is Amlo’s third attempt to win the presidency, and he is leading by an average of 18 points. The only real uncertainty left is how he might govern. Is he really a danger to Mexico, as his opponents warn? Or will he be a socially transformative leader who will finally address the country’s gaping inequality? It is not always clear what his positions are, or how he actually intends to address inequality, along with other entrenched problems such as corruption and violent crime. He will often say he’s for or against something, only to have his advisors say the opposite. (For example, he has repeatedly promised to discontinue pro-market energy reforms, even as his chief economic advisor has assured the business community that private investment in the energy sector will continue.) Amid enormous frustration with the government of Enrique Peña Nieto and widespread impunity of corrupt officials, however, he has claimed the mantle of change, even though he has been in politics for decades and served for five years as the mayor of Mexico City. To his critics, Amlo is just a recycled version of the old Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the party he once belonged to that ruled Mexico for 71 years.