Mexico

Mexico Just Elected a New President. Is He the Left-Wing Version of Trump?

Andrés Manuel López Obrador's populist campaign promised to tackle corruption, impose price controls, and rewrite NAFTA.

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Claudia Guadarrama/Polaris/Newscom

Mexicans elected a populist president yesterday. Andrés Manuel López Obrador—nicknamed "AMLO"—defeated the country's two major parties with promises to clean up corruption and to impose greater government control over the economy, to stop what he sees as the fleecing of Mexico's domestic interests by free trade agreements. He is short on concrete policy proposals and has shown authoritarian tendencies.

Despite all that, López Obrador is unlikely to be a close friend to U.S. President Donald Trump. About the only thing they might agree on is blowing up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Indeed, López Obrador published a book last year, titled Oye, Trump! ("Listen Up, Trump!"), that reprints a series of speeches he gave to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States after Trump's 2016 election. He's been sharply critical of Trump's hardline stance on immigration, and he has condemned the much-ballyhooed plans for a stronger border wall, promising supporters in a speech last week that Mexico will "never be the piñata of any foreign government."

But almost everyone has something negative to say about Trump. More worrying are the similarities between López Obrador and Hugo Chavez, who ruled Venezuela from 1999 through 2013 and pushed the once-prosperous nation onto the path of its current socialist nightmare.

López Obrador has called for the nationalization of Mexico's oil industries (although he has contradicted himself on that claim) and has promised to impose price controls on gasoline. Investment banks such as Citigroup have warned that his election means uncertainty in "monetary, fiscal, and commercial policy."

"Nobody knows exactly what to expect from an AMLO administration. His proposals are a collection of notions with few details and plenty of contradictions," write Juan Carlos Hidalgo and Ian Vasquez, two Latin America policy experts at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Beyond concerns over López Obrador's plan to reshape Mexico's energy industries, they point to his call for agricultural self-sufficiency. While that message has played well with farmers across Mexico, achieving that goal would likely require tearing up NAFTA and would increase the cost of living for many Mexicans.

"With protectionists at the helm in its two biggest member states, NAFTA could well collapse," The Economist foreshadows.

We will soon find out. López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who had ran two unsuccessful campaigns for president in 2006 and 2012, won easily on Sunday. Running for a third party that he founded, López Obrador finished more than 10 percentage points ahead of the candidates from Mexico's two largest parties, the National Action Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party—that have shared power in Mexico since the country became a full-fledged multi-party democracy in 2000.

It's not much of a surprise that a populist message would succeed in Mexico. The country is famous for its high levels of political corruption, and it has weak democratic institutions. It's hard to overstate how badly the current crop of cronies have handled Mexico. Transparency International ranks Mexico 95th out of 167 countries for corruption—23 spots behind El Salvador and 39 spots behind Cuba.

"Overcharges by the country's telecommunications monopoly are estimated to cost 2 percent of Mexico's total economic output. That monopoly earns profits almost double those of its U.S. and Canadian counterparts," David Frum wrote in a 2016 piece for The Atlantic. "Unsurprisingly, the monopoly's owner, Carlos Slim, ranks among the world's richest men."

Elba Esther Gordillo, the "president for life" of Mexico's national teachers' union, was busted in 2013 for spending the equivalent of $2.1 million in public funds at a Neiman Marcus store in San Diego, California, and using other union funds on plastic surgery. The wife of Mexico's outgoing—and deeply unpopular—current president was busted in 2016 for living in a condo owned by a company that contracts with her husband's government. The reporter who broke that story quickly lost her job.

As elsewhere in America and Europe, Mexico's turn toward a populist president with half-formed economic ideas is at least partially the fault of previous leaders, who have allowed corruption to take root and have not made a compelling political case for free trade, despite all the good it has done. This isn't the first time that voters, feeling like they want to burn everything down, have turned to a politician like López Obrador.

"No one can blame Mexicans for being under the impression that they have little to lose by voting for a firebrand populist," write Hidalgo and Vasquez. "But this is a miscalculation that we have seen in other Latin American nations, and one that has terrible long-term consequences."

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158 responses to “Mexico Just Elected a New President. Is He the Left-Wing Version of Trump?

  1. …with promises to clean up corruption and to impose greater government control over the economy…

    Which is it?

    1. The left never seems to recognize the correlation of government control and overwhelming corruption.

      1. Whereas the right doesn’t seem to grasp that a free for all doesn’t exactly work either. Hmm..almost as if the issue is more than just black and white. But hey, why have nuance?

        1. Property rights and rule of law are not a “free for all”.

    2. It’s interesting how USA papers just discovered that Mexico’s government is corrupt. This information was missing during the past 2 years of debate about illegal immigration across our southern border.

      1. Racist! Imperialist!

        Mass political assassinations are a lifestyle choice of the Mexican people, no better or worse than any other.

        How dare you judge them?!

    3. I’ve experienced MX corruption firsthand. The GM at the Infonavit office (think additional payroll taxes to help with employee home purchases) point blank told me that someone had bribed an administrator to shit-can the paperwork for a 25 year non profit corp for which I was on the board. Additionally, a 7 month process to fully cancel our non profit status had been mysteriously put together in 8 days. Thankfully we were able to put things right again, though the amount for the debt I was there to pay mysteriously went up a few hundred bucks.

      Had to overcome 2 other agencies and a municipal department that were similarly paid to work against us. Unfathomably frustrating work, that was!

    4. Doesn’t matter. When Mexico goes the way of Venezuela, the number of Mexicans running for the border will go up 10 fold (at first) and more after that.

      BUILD THE WALL NOW.

  2. He makes border hardliners like me ecstatic. He makes my goals all the easier to achieve. Time to shut the border down and to cut off remittances.

    1. No. If Mexico turns into anything like Venezuela II then things are going to get real ugly here in the States.

      Ask Venezuela’s neighbors how it’s working out for them…?..

      1. Not if we secure our border, they won’t. Venezuela’s neighbors are too poor to be able to afford that. For us, it’s chump change.

        1. Sure. Securing a couple thousand miles of border knowing that if you shoot so much as one woman or child the world will be screeching at your for a decade. How do you plan to secure it?

          Of course even if you build the Great Wall of America along the border, the scene of hundreds of thousands piling up at the checkpoints trying to get in creates a humanitarian crisis.

          Should be practically free.

          1. Our border with Mexico amounts to 3/8″ per American. Here, I’ll kick in a fiver; If everybody does that, it’s just under a million dollars a mile. I think we can do it for that.

            1. A million dollars a mile is a gross underestimate, off by a factor of at least 10, more likely 30-50. You cant even put in a two-lane asphalt paved highway for $10 million a mile, and with a huge portion of the wall in Arizona and New Mexico running through remote and very rough desert regions, you’ll need the highway just to bring in construction equipment and materials on the wall. And then there are the additional repeating costs of manning and maintaining the wall. And, after spending all that money, you’ll find that you have only stopped, AT BEST, about 20%-30% of the immigrant flow. It’s a stupid an ineffective waste of money.

              1. Agreed!

          2. “How do you plan to secure it?”

            Laser turrets

            pew! pew! pew!

    2. I don’t know if this is sarcasm, but I’m concerned Mexico is going to turn into Venezuela.

      1. It can do so. It is not our problem. The only way Mexico becomes more than a failed state is with an invasion and occupation and I’m loathe to provide them with one.

        We can also shut the border down with them completely. Shut down all remittances.

        National security gives remarkable leeway there.

        1. “We can also shut the border down with them completely. Shut down all remittances.”

          LOL. I’ve lived in Texas since 1974. I’ve seen dozens of “we’re going to get tough on the border” periods. The next one that actually works will be the first successful one.

          When 20% of the fucking country is actually trying to get here because they can’t get food or toilet paper, there won’t be any shutting down of anything. We’ll be swamped.

          1. We’ll be swamped.

            The new prez pretty much stated that is a goal of his. And why not? We are a huge source of cash for them.

          2. As a national security measure, militarizing the border isn’t remotely controversial as a task. Set up tent cities in Mexico and force them to deal with it.

            And we can tax remittances at 100%. Shut that revenue stream down cold.

            Mexico cannot win this war.

            1. “Shut that revenue stream down cold.”

              Oh hell yeah. You’re right.

              We’ll do it just like we shut down the drug traffic at the border. Oh….wait.

              1. We can’t shut down drug traffic at the border because it’s physically crossing a border which has been deliberately left undefended in order to enable illegal immigration. Otherwise we could, not stop it, but much better control it. At least to the point where domestic production would be more cost effective than smuggling, anyway…

                Shutting down remittances would involve regulations on a limited number of financial institutions. Basically what you’d have to do is prohibit moving money out of the country without proof of legal residence or tourist status. Would it be 100% effective? Hell, no.

                But it would be effective enough to get Mexico’s attention, that’s for sure.

                1. “We can’t shut down drug traffic at the border because it’s physically crossing a border which has been deliberately left undefended in order to enable illegal immigration.”

                  You really believe this? “Deliberately left undefended in order to enable illegal immigration”?

                  I’ve lived in Texas since 1974, so I’ve been observing this up close for 44+ years. The administrations across that time were Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, another Bush, Obama, and now Trump. Six Republicans, three Democrats. You’re saying that all nine of those administrations deliberately left the border open to let illegals in? Sorry, no. This battle has been fought for all of my time here (and before) and it’s not winnable. Human nature and the everlasting war between offense and defense dictate that it be so.

                  And in all that time Mexico has never collapsed. Now they’ve got a fucking idiot socialist in charge who appears to have not leared a damn thing from observing Venezuela. Or maybe he has – he and his pals are going to get rich and if the country collapses, well, se la vie. If that happens, we’re going to get overrun, because there’ll be nowhere else for desperate people to go.

                  1. Fellow Texan here and I completely endorse this comment.

                    1. Remittances: drug cartels have been moving cash illegally across the border since forever. They will replace the revenue they are losing because we’re getting sane about marijuana with the vig from remittances. Even if they don’t start El Banco Federal del Narcotraficantes, they can transport cash. Also, prepaid credit cards, money orders, and gift cards exist. Mexican nationals will simply use those methods to move money.

                    2. The undefended border had a lot more to do with making trade easy between the two countries. Mexico buys a lot of our stuff, or at least did buy a lot of our stuff before Trump decided to piss their entire nation off.

                    3. If anyone still believes that ‘da Messcans r takin r jerbs,’ then make it a felony to hire anyone who doesn’t have a green card or work visa and send the management to a non-Club Fed prison. I promise that will dry up the market in a couple of months.

                2. We can’t shut down drug traffic at the border because it’s physically crossing a border which has been deliberately left undefended in order to enable illegal immigration.

                  wat?

                  The largest single government agency outside of maybe the DoD patrols that border. We have radar, IR, listening posts, even seismic sensors to detect digging.

              2. We’ll do it just like we shut down the drug traffic at the border. Oh….wait.

                Taxing a legal, easily tracked purchase like remittances is a hell of a lot easier than tracking a transient illegal product like narcotics.

                1. “Taxing a legal, easily tracked purchase like remittances is a hell of a lot easier than tracking a transient illegal product like narcotics.”

                  Because, for sure, once we make it effectively illegal by putting a 100% tax on it the people who are trying to send money back will just resignedly pay the tax and won’t look for ways around it. Yeah, that’s what they’ll certainly do. Prohibition always works.

                2. Until you make the remittances illegal – then they fall into the same class of illegal products as narcotics.

              3. Transferring money requires banks and mail.

                1. “Transferring money requires banks and mail.”

                  Or a pocket/backpack and a pair of shoes.

                  1. The cash has to be spent. We can simply cut Mexico out of the US financial system completely.

                    Again, we can get exceptionally ugly if need be.

                    1. It will be spent. In Mexico.

                      A lot of places down there already take US$ anyway. If you think that – in the hypothetical Venezuela-level meltdown that we’re discussing – people won’t accept a stable currency in exchange for stuff, you’re delusional.

                    2. We can simply cut Mexico out of the US financial system completely.

                      Is this a joke?

                      There are entire other countries out there whose entire economic system runs on $USD. Unless you can convince the entire planet to not trade with Mexico, those $USD will get spent.

                      I mean, for fuck’s sake, Iran is under massive embargo from basically everyone and they still thought a pallet of $100 bills was a great thing.

                2. No. It requires credit cards, gift cards, money orders, or some unregulated method of electronic transfer. The remittance ban will be the easiest thing in the world to defeat.

              4. We’ll do it just like we shut down the drug traffic at the border. Oh….wait.

                Right. It never even gets to the question of “is this a good idea or not?” because it gets halted at the much earlier step of “is this even physically possible?”

                1.) Put Western Union out of business

                OK, maybe this is possible, though probably not constitutional.

                2.) Tell US banking institutions not to honor checks submitted by foreign banks (i.e.: banks in Mexico) or to process electronic funds transfers to them. And you can’t just shut them down to Mexico, because otherwise people will just transfer them through Jamaica or Germany or Japan or something.

                This is probably technically possible, although it would obviously have a huge impact on international business.

                3.) Eliminate the sending of physical cash to Mexico by monitoring all postal parcels, UPS, FedEx, etc.

                I actually don’t think this one is possible. The end.

            2. And we can tax remittances at 100%. Shut that revenue stream down cold.

              And let’s not forget here that in many cases, these remittances are from *citizens*. So damikesc here and his fellow travelers want to inhibit the liberty OF CITIZENS to spend their money as they see fit.

              Labor prohibition infringes on the liberty of *both* citizens and non-citizens, just like drug prohibition infringes on the liberty of *both* drug users and non-drug-users.

              1. That would be why *I* suggested merely requiring proof of legal presence in the country in order to transfer money overseas. I’m not interested in stopping people who are here legally from doing what they want with their money.

                But my expectation is that we’re going to be in a de facto state of war with Mexico in under a decade, now that they’ve decided to go down Venezuela’s road. And I’m pretty sure blocking financial transfers into nations we’re at war with is SOP.

                And we ARE going to have to seal that border as their economy implodes, or get used to speaking Spanish. We’re about to go from being the rich neighborhood with a ghetto next door, to the rich neighborhood with a gang war next door.

                1. I’m not interested in stopping people who are here legally from doing what they want with their money.

                  Okay, Brett. What rights do undocumented migrants have, in your view? Any rights at all? And from where do these rights come from, if any?

                  And for the record, we’re not at war with Mexico, and we all know you would support taxing remittances whether or not we were at war with Mexico, so the “OMG he’s a socialist” rationale is bullshit from the start.

        2. Yeah, but then we will have to build our own cars and shit.

          1. If you don’t mind paying $68,000 for a Chevy Cruz, it’s totes cool.

          2. The latest news from CNN about 3D-printed homes. Bloomberg reports about Indoor farms that are highly mechanized. This isn’t 1992 anymore. Access to robots affect the economy more than access to people in other countries does.

            1. Right. Access to hordes of cheap unskilled labor has actually warped our economy, delaying the automation of farming and other effected industries.

              1. You know, if mercantilism actually worked, the US and UK wouldn’t have dominated global trade and, for that matter, geopolitics, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

                There’s nothing inherently important about making stuff, or hoarding cash. Free trade is self-justifying. If it’s cheaper to automate than to employ blue-collar labor, then automation is ipso facto better. If it’s cheaper to outsource to or import cheap foreign labor than it is to automate, then cheap foreign labor is better.

                Once upon a time the GOP was the party that actually understood this. Now the GOP is run by a bunch of crypto-socialist collectivist imbeciles. Like you.

                1. “You know, if mercantilism actually worked, the US and UK wouldn’t have dominated global trade and, for that matter, geopolitics, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.”

                  But that wasn’t Real Mercantilism… 😀

                  You are of course correct & some of the comments here are so asinine that they are basically arguing for shutting down the international financial system (because that is what it would take to stop people in the USA sending money to Mexico via some third party country).

          3. I first heard this joke in 1991:

            William B. Travis to Crockett, looking out at Santa Ana’s army surrouding the Alamo: ‘Davy, you should have told me we were pouring concrete today.’

      2. Why would it be sarcasm? The Mexicans voted for this socialist who is predictably going to destroy their economy.

        Mexico has actually been doing pretty well over the last 10 years as the Great recession caused many Mexicans to stay home and fix their country rather than come to America.

        Mexicans will flee their country after its wrecked by this goofball socialist and the USA should have the wall complete by that time.

      3. All the more reason to take on these classy voters! We’ll have a sea of commies in no time! We can afford it right? We’re the more wealthy country in history!

        1. According to some here, they’re actually natural libertarians and conservatives because of Catholicism or something (ignoring the historic Democrat voting record of Catholic Irish and Italians).

    3. Exactly. More and more Mexicans will flee AMLO’s tinpot dictatorship for the USA and prove the fact that socialism is an utter failure.

      Poor immigrants from the South are because of socialist policies and because their countries are shitholes that they created. They have no intention of making the USA a better place.

      AMLO got something like 57% of the vote in Mexico. Mexicans voted for socialism and they are going to get what they deserve. Really hard socialism.

      1. But Mexico isn’t a largely homogeneous white population that practices low corporate tax rates and investment in private industry. So it won’t count as a real democratic socialist government per Bernie and the other idiots on the left. See Venezuela.

    4. In 2015, Israel’s most popular left-wing newspaper praised the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. People on the left can support the hardening of borders from time to time. I guess spin matters. It’s not isolationism, it’s disengagement. I favor porous borders in general, but I can picture someone arguing that we should end the War on Drug motivated occupation of Mexico by disengaging so that we can have two nations for two people living side by side in peace. After the disengagement all USA help for and influence over the war on pot in Mexico would end. Then it would be easier for Mexico to legalize pot.

      1. Not just weed. We need to end the war on all drugs.

        Yes, I realise that saying “heroin should be legal” makes me unpopular. 😉

        1. “Heroin should be legal.”

          Now there are two of us.

          1. Heroin should be sold over-the-counter at Walgreens.

    5. The Mexicans just built the wall by voting in AMLO.

      He’s bringing out into the open the plans the Globalist Uniparty have been pursuing more quietly. The vast majority of Americans are opposed.

  3. He makes border hardliners like me ecstatic. He makes my goals all the easier to achieve. Time to shut the border down and to cut off remittances.

  4. On the plus side Porfirio D?az is still dead

  5. How about the correlation between those who would vote for ALMO and those seeking the gringo’s paradise?

    1. Why can’t your white guilt keep you quiet like it supposed to?

      1. White guilt is for cucks.

        White guilt is for the type of whitey who thinks it despicable that a Pat Buchanan would ask why must the homeland’s demographic be forcibly changed?

        Gee, let us look at the civilizational Wakandas of Mexico, central America, and sub-Saharan Africa. We should want more of that.

        1. If only they had some mountain of magic metal to compensate for their ass backward tribal bullshit? But hey, there’s always Hollywood to cook some shit up for them.

          1. It wouldn’t matter. Mexico has abundant natural resources, including a shit ton of oil, coast lines galore, lots of great farmland, and a neighbor to the north that ensures they face no threat of foreign invasion and shovels shit tons of financial assistance their way. And they still managed to cock it up.

            1. shovels shit tons of financial assistance their way.

              Over the last decade, most (80-90%) of that ‘assistance’ ($300 or so million/year) has gone to militarizing their drug war where the result is 200,000 murders.

          2. There is room in our communities for all of us if we build, baby build. Unfortunately, environmentalism makes that difficult. The history of Shenandoah National Park is a history of forced displacement during the Progressive Era. Yes, we need to argue against too much tribalism, but we also need to argue against the preservationist environmentalist on the ctrl-left who hope for the removal of all humans equally.

  6. “As elsewhere in America and Europe, Mexico’s turn toward a populist president with half-formed economic ideas is at least partially the fault of previous leaders, who have allowed corruption to take root and have not made a compelling political case for free trade, despite all the good it has done.”

    The populism we’re seeing around the world (in Wisconsin, the Mexican state of Guerrero, and in the German state of Bavaria), is a reaction to unaccountable elitists in the government disregarding the desires of voters. Whether free trade and open immigration are actually in people’s best interest is probably less important to the emergence of populism than whether people’s desires are being ignored on those issues.

    Libertarians are supposed to understand this. It’s why we oppose government coercion–even coercion that’s meant to accomplish libertarian goals. The purpose of libertarianism cannot be to seize the reigns of power and inflict libertarian polices on people from using the coercive power of government. There is no libertarian alternative to persuading would-be populist voters to want free trade and more legal immigration of their own free will.

    This is one reason why elitism is incompatible with libertarianism: It’s an inherent contradiction, like forcing people to want something of their own free will.

    1. “The populism we’re seeing around the world…. is a reaction to unaccountable elitists in the government disregarding the desires of voters.”

      This is it. This is really all there is to the wave of populism occurring throughout the world. There is nothing magical or mysterious about what is happening. And until the supposed liberals start listening to the electorate, they will continue to be marginalized and their unwillingness to offer any concessions on immigration and trade agreements will usher in fascists and socialists. The neoliberal consensus and its unwillingness to bend to electoral politics will ensure that the voters will continue to vote for the craziest son-of-a-bitch who will listen to their complaints. The garbage liberal consensus is more than willing to trade away speech, conscience, and nearly all individual rights, but it refuses to allow any compromise on immigration and trade.

      If only fascists and socialists will agree to changes with regards to immigration and trade agreements, then people will elect fascists and socialists. This is already happening. Neoliberalism is the pipeline to fascism

      1. Basically. Even if the ideas are good — a lot of people are sick of being called morons for not seeing the benefits and not supporting it.

        Condescension is a terrible means of generating acceptance.

        A lot of people, Reason included, ignore that NO policy is positive for all people and to ignore the large swaths of people hurt by a policy insures the policy never gets support. If people really think “they don’t give a shit about me”, they will discount anything offered or said.

        1. Yeah, there’s not a lot of point in harping on Pareto optimality, if none of the surplus from the transaction is actually going to be used to compensate the loser. In reality the loser just loses.

          1. None of the surplus is going to the loser? Have you lived under a rock the last 30 years?

            There are a lot of consumer goods that are shit tons cheaper. It isn’t just cell phones and computers – clothes, appliances, cars, tools, just about everything is cheaper.

            Yes, mining and manufacturing job losses have continued, and those jobs aren’t coming back, but don’t say there are no benefits accruing to the people that insist on continuing to live in the rust belt or Appalachia.

            1. You mean they should move to Paterson for it’s combination of cheap rents and access to Manhattan? Have a conversation with the ICE wanabees patrolling the affordable neighborhoods in coastal cities to see how feasible that is.

            2. Yes, mining and manufacturing job losses have continued, and those jobs aren’t coming back, but don’t say there are no benefits accruing to the people that insist on continuing to live in the rust belt or Appalachia.

              They certainly are not seeing them. They see their livelihoods being slashed to nothing by government dictat.

              You can keep saying “Look at the cheaper products” but if the people have no jobs, they do not care about cheaper products.

              We start bringing in illegals to do reporting work and you’ll see all of the issues that illegals provide. Ted Cruz’ ad in 2016 was quite apt. The only reason it’s not a “big problem” is that the people who determine what a big problem is aren’t personally impacted by illegals. They don’t see them except when they come to watch their kids. They don’t live with them. They don’t have to compete for jobs.

              Give illegals access to serve as lawyers and other high level jobs and you’ll see the horror stories.

            3. Look, economists don’t rave about Pareto optimality when they’re talking about free market exchanges. OF COURSE both parties to a free market exchange are better off; It wouldn’t happen otherwise!

              But when you ship a job off to China, and justify it on the basis that enough surplus is created that the person who had the job can be made better off, too, and not just the corporation that exported the job, that’s where Pareto optimality gets invoked. And it really is true that the guy who lost his job ends up worse off much of the time, because the surplus doesn’t actually get used to compensate him, even if there was enough surplus generated to do that.

              Why else did you think the median income adjusted for inflation has been stagnant for 45 years now, even as the per capita GDP has continued growing? Because economists have been justifying, on the basis of Pareto optimality, policies that actually hurt most people in the real world.

              Well, it’s not surprising that our government would be deliberately exacerbating income inequality; If you were running a dairy, which would you rather milk? A cow, or 10,000 mice? And with progressive taxation, every increment of increased inequality nets the government more taxes.

        2. Condescension is a terrible means of generating acceptance.

          It’s true. Very few people have ever been screamed at into accepting a new position.

          “Look, you complete degenerate moron, I want to know why you don’t agree with me, you disgusting, worthless, shit-gargling cum dumpster!”

          1. You had me at gargling cum dumpter. Tell me more about this opportunity.

      2. The garbage liberal consensus is more than willing to trade away speech, conscience, and nearly all individual rights, but it refuses to allow any compromise on immigration and trade.

        The ctrl-left’s position boils down to, “You can censor what I say, because you look like me (or one of my friends), and you talk like me, but you can take my smart phone when you grab it from my cold dead hands.”

    2. There is a good understanding of human nature in a lot of libertarianism – and some massive blind spots too.

      1. We’re subject to the same biases as anyone else.

        I take great pride in being right when the elitists are wrong. Pointing out where they’re wrong gives me great pleasure.

        There’s a different part of me that sees markets made up of ignorant people outperform elitists over and over again.

        Exposing the stupidity of the elitists and praising markets made up of stupid people feels contradictory to a lot of people. The part of us that debunks the elitists should make us contemptuous of the ignorant, and our respect for ignorant people to make better choices for themselves than the elitists can make for them should mean we’re anti-intellectual. It’s counterintuitive.

        1. Serious question: I applaud the collective wisdom of stupid people in the marketplace. Does that same compound alchemy also apply to democracy?

          1. Jefferson thought it did. I’m inclined to agree.

          2. The problem with democracy is that it’s insufficiently democratic.

            For one thing, it’s taking a snapshot of the people’s will at one point in time–and then projecting it into millions of unrelated choices the government makes on our behalf for another four years. There’s no question that we’re better off if our leaders are subjected to our approval on questions of war, immigration, spending, etc. but beyond that, it isn’t really comparable to a market.

            A market is 350 million people making choices for themselves from their own perspectives.

            Even an elected government is 545 people making choices for 350 million.

            1. OK, guys. But the marketplace has that magic where people make choices based on practical value judgements (at least most of the time). In addition to Ken’s comment about a single point in time, the act of voting is only weakly connected to practial cost consideration, if at all.

              1. the act of voting is only weakly connected to practial cost consideration, if at all.

                This was going to be my response, though I liked Ken’s as well. The issue is that voting is “free”. I mean, yes, in the end, if you vote for someone who raises your taxes, that costs something. But it’s nowhere near like making a business deal where the cost comes due immediately.

  7. price controls on gasoline

    For some reason that is always step 1 on any tinpot dictator’s bucket list.

    1. You can already only buy gasoline from the government owned Pemex. There are no competing gas stations, and no one could compete with Pemex’s prices because they’re already selling gasoline below market to local Mexicans.

      If you’re in a country like that, the great thing about it from a PR perspective is that you can rail against the monopolistic aspects of a state controlled oil company like that, while advocating simple price cuts from a populist perspective.

      Hugo Chavez rode that horse all the way to hell and then whipped it to death once he got there.

      1. There have been competing gas stations to PEMEX in Mexico for years now. It was a structural reform that was deeply unpopular with the average citizen. Gas in PEMEX stations is now more expensive than in the US. Basically everything you said isn’t true.

    2. And underwear will be changed every day!

    3. It is step 2. Step 1 is raising the gas tax to pay for light rail.

  8. Whether Obrador keeps this promise will be revealing:

    “MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican presidential front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday he will hold a referendum on his performance every two years if he wins election in July, and would cut his six-year term short if he loses the consultation.”

    —-March 16, 2018

    http://www.reuters.com/article…..SKCN1GS2VS

    Color me skeptical.

  9. The reporter who broke that story quickly lost her job.

    She’s alive – she should count herself lucky.

  10. Venezuela teaches us that dictatorships are bad.

    Now that Mexico is implementing price controls through democracy, they will turn out completely differently.

    Socialism works!

  11. He is not nor will he ever be as good as Trump.

    AMLO is a socialist and will destroy the Mexican economy. He will probably nationalize their oil industry as it is one of big money makers in Mexico.

    These types of tyrants need cash and need it fast to pay for more welfare, more free college, and other ‘free’ stuff.

    The media seems very excited about a socialist so it will be different this time.

  12. You know, I appreciate a well-researched post as much as anyone, but… nineteen links? Is anyone really going to read all of those?!

  13. My question is….Can this guy really clean up corruption AND avoid getting shot in the head?

    1. My question is, does he actually want to clean up corruption or just wants his team in charge of the corruption?

      1. Hey….My corruption is good, clean, common sense corruption….the other guy is bad corruption…

    2. He’s not planning on cleaning up any corruption, and he plans to be the guy doing the shooting.

      He’s a socialist, he’s not opposed to corruption, he just wants to be in charge of it.

      1. When you go to your first meeting with the new President of Mexico it’s a good idea to wear a steel fedora and bullet proof 3 piece suit….

    3. I assume corruption = evil capitalism.

  14. The new leader “promises to clean up corruption and to impose greater government control over the economy.”

    More government power over the economy will stop the government from being corrupt! 90% of the time, it works every time. /s

  15. If Obama’s excesses led to the election of Trump, as I’m continually told, then Trump’s excesses led to the election of AMLO.

    1. Then what led to Chavez and Maduro? Did Trump use the same time machine to cause them as he used to force Obama to create the list of countries Trump banned entry from?

      Sadly, South and Central America has a tendency to corrupt government, and a weakness for socialist strongmen. You don’t need Trump to explain Mexico going socialist.

      Might need Trump to stop it at our border, though.

      1. Why do the diversity dystopians favor an on-going influx of black and brown bolzehviks? Their position appears to be one in which the invasion of black and brown types is, per se, wonderful.

        1. At first the influx gives them voting strength by new citizens and distorted apportionment.

          Later, when things turn ugly, it gives them a pretext to toss aside civil liberties.

        2. Why do the diversity dystopians favor an on-going influx of black and brown bolzehviks?

          The usual: easy sex with desperate Latin lovers and exotic beauties.

      2. Or, maybe Trump isn’t responsible for Maduro or Chavez, but did have a role in electing AMLO.

    2. Makes sense. If one US president’s excesses were responsible for the election of another US president by the American people then surely that US president’s excesses are responsible for the election of a Mexican president by the Mexican people. Perfect analogy. Absolutely spot on.

  16. Indeed, L?pez Obrador published a book last year, titled Oye, Trump! (“Listen Up, Trump!”), that reprints a series of speeches he gave to Spanish-speaking communities in the United States after Trump’s 2016 election. He’s been sharply critical of Trump’s hardline stance on immigration, and he has condemned the much-ballyhooed plans for a stronger border wall, promising supporters in a speech last week that Mexico will “never be the pi?ata of any foreign government.”

    I guess this is the international norm, because Netanyahu will speak to Jewish communities when he’s the USA. Although, for some reason, most of the people in those Jewish communities are monolingual English speakers. It’s strange how so few Jews take Hebrew as a foreign language in High School. Spanish as a foreign language is offered in almost every government run school in the USA. Meh … the ctrl-left believes some nations are more equal than others.

  17. “No one can blame Mexicans for being under the impression that they have little to lose by voting for a firebrand populist.”

    “They are a fun-loving, simple-minded people.”

    1. Trump voters, on the other hand, are all literal Nazis.

  18. Ok, how long before we’re at war with Mexico? Any bets?

    1. The lefties and open border people would hate that. It would make all assisting and aiding Mexicans treason against the USA.

  19. I support free trade in general , but the value of a free trade agreement or free trade zone depends on the details. What if we cancelled NAFTA and had Canada and the USA join the EU? I’m not familiar enough with either treaty to say which one, if either, would be good for the USA. The prospect of NATO and the EU having similar borders is attractive. The average EU country fought the Cold War with us or toppled their own communist governments within recent history without us sending in military forces. Did Mexico do much to oppose Venezuela and Cuba? I get it. Learning all the diverse languages spoken in the EU would be difficult, but not every American needs to be a polyglot. Most will remain monolingual, and a fractions of Americans could learn different foreign languages so that trade with the EU is possible.

    1. What if we cancelled NAFTA and had Canada and the USA join the EU? I’m not familiar enough with either treaty to say which one, if either, would be good for the USA.

      The EU started out as a free trade zone, but it has deteriorated into a bureaucratic and administrative superstate. The majority of member state laws are determined by the EU now. (In fact, arguably, that’s also how the US states started out and evolved.)

      The average EU country fought the Cold War with us or toppled their own communist governments within recent history without us sending in military forces.

      I think you have an overly optimistic view of EU members. Several western EU members used to be military dictatorships. Several EU members ran oppressive, racist, genocidal colonial empires and are now trying to deal with the aftermath. Much of Europe eagerly participated in the extermination of Jews. Socialism, fascism, and communism was widespread not because it was imposed but because many people wanted it; classical liberalism is pretty much dead in Europe. Most EU members are poorer than the poorest US state. The EU is incapable of defending itself, it’s a proto-fascist gerontocracy, a fiscal disaster, and it is full of people who hate America out of envy. The US does not want to get into bed with the EU.

    2. Why does Mexico have an obligation to oppose Venezuela and Cuba. You’re making the classic American mistake of thinking everyone in the world sees the world from your perspective and that your way of doing things is right and everyone else has the obligation of doing them. Oppose how? By trying to invade Cuba like the US did and failed? By trying to kill Castro dozens of times and failing? By placing an inhumane embargo on civilians out of pure self-interest?

      Mexico sends aid to Cuba, and some to Venezuela because unlike the US they don’t hold the actual people that live there responsible for the actions of their government. The US having an embargo on one of the poorest countries in the continent is something atrocious. Mexico is non-interventionist which is admirable given how much the US has tried to intervene in its affairs throughout history. And contrary to what Trump feeds the American population through your highly profitable 24/7 news networks they have been great allies to the US in war, the fight against terrorism and does the worst of the dirty work when it comes to immigration from Central America because of US pressure. They are your friends and its a shame so much damage has been done to this one-sided historical relationship because of a lout that represents the worst of American instincts.

      1. Why does Mexico have an obligation to oppose Venezuela and Cuba. You’re making the classic American mistake of thinking everyone in the world sees the world from your perspective and that your way of doing things is right and everyone else has the obligation of doing them.

        Actually, I’m seeing things from the perspective of a European who experienced socialism first hand.

        Everybody has an obligation to oppose socialism and communism; they are utterly evil ideologies. That’s not a matter of perspective, it’s a matter of historical fact.

      2. Why does Mexico have an obligation to oppose Venezuela and Cuba. You’re making the classic American mistake of thinking everyone in the world sees the world from your perspective and that your way of doing things is right and everyone else has the obligation of doing them.

        Actually, I’m seeing things from the perspective of a European who experienced socialism first hand.

        Everybody has an obligation to oppose socialism and communism; they are utterly evil ideologies. That’s not a matter of perspective, it’s a matter of historical fact.

      3. Awwww poor Cuba. Only able to trade with 120 countries in the world other than the USA. That must be the sole reason their shit hole of a country is a shit hole stuck in a 1950s communist dreamworld.

    3. Join the EU? LMFAO if you think Americans will follow regulations and laws out of Brussels you really are living in a fucking dream world.

  20. . Running for a third party that he founded, L?pez Obrador finished more than 10 percentage points ahead of the candidates from Mexico’s two largest parties

    Hey, at least the guy was able to run a successful third party campaign. Good luck doing that in the US…

  21. Obama created a bit of daylight between Israel and the USA. Trump reversed this trend. I don’t see us permanently separating from Mexico. We might become a bit more distant for some years, but that is all.

  22. He’s been sharply critical of Trump’s hardline stance on immigration, and he has condemned the much-ballyhooed plans for a stronger border wall, promising supporters in a speech last week that Mexico will “never be the pi?ata of any foreign government.”

    Why doesn’t he head by example? He could start by opening Mexico’s borders, both to South Americans and to Americans.

    1. And remove their restrictive laws on political demonstrations by illegals.

      But it is good to see his plans to fuck up Mexico so bad that they have to come to the USA.

    2. ” He could start by opening Mexico’s borders,”

      They are already pretty open. If you can overcome your fear, you could go and see for yourself.

      1. They’re pretty open if you tell them you’re just passing through to the US. Not otherwise.

        1. Is that what FOX news is telling you? They’re even more open if you just pass through without telling anyone anything.

      2. They are already pretty open. If you can overcome your fear, you could go and see for yourself.

        Nowhere near as open as American borders.

        1. Is that what FOX is telling you? Go to Guatemala or Belize and see for yourself is my advice.

        2. “Nowhere near as open as American borders.”

          You know very well I suspect, of the corruption of government officials in Mexico. This means very porous borders where crossing is not an insurmountable problem. For someone determined to cross them. You either believe there is rampant corruption in Mexico, or that their southern borders are shut tight. You can’t have both.

  23. I am sure the Mexican elites and wealthy are terrified by his win. The Mexican government and wealthy elites have been encouraging illegal immigration into the US for decades for one reason. They did not want to spend money on creating a social welfare system for the masses because of the cost. It is much cheaper to have the US pay to care for all their poor. In addition, exporting the poor and disenfranchised reduces the possibility of revolution by the masses. A leftist winning is a scary thing to PRI and the cartels because it is possible there will be a popular uprising and real change will come to Mexico. The annual murder rate in Mexico is equal the US even though the country has 1/2 the number of people and the private ownership of guns is prohibited. Poor people have been screaming and protesting about the crime in Mexico for years but nothing is done. That situation and so much more may change.

    1. They did not want to spend money on creating a social welfare system for the masses because of the cost.

      It’s simpler than that. The elites don’t want to pay taxes – period. And there’s only so much they can squeeze out of the poor.

      Mexico has the lowest overall tax burden in the OECD – 17% of GDP v 26% of GDP in US v 34% OECD average. And the tax burden that does exist is mostly geared to VAT/consumption and corporate. That combination is paid mostly by the poor and the entrepreneurial.

      Virtually no property tax – so no local government – which just ensures no local infrastructure and the environment for petty mordida corruption (local clerks/cops are basically unpaid so they work for bribes). And since the elites have always controlled the central govt, they’ve controlled the spending decisions too and the allocations to the states – to favor themselves. It’s been a great place to do nothing and be rich. Hence why so many Americans retire there.

      There is a huge opportunity for AMLO to just reform the tax system along left-Georgist ideas and make things better overnight. If he can figure how to decentralize the revenues/authority out to virtually non-existent local governments and bypass both the central government (which his party now controls) and the state governments (which are mostly authoritarian in structure and controlled by a mishmash of the entrenched and often corrupt).

  24. “Nobody knows exactly what to expect from an AMLO administration. His proposals are a collection of notions with few details and plenty of contradictions,”

    This can (and has) been said about Trump

    It’s not much of a surprise that a populist message would succeed in Mexico. The country is famous for its high levels of political corruption, and it has weak democratic institutions

    I think the above is increasingly is true for the USA.

    Given those two observations, and asserting that I believe that Trump has been marginally good for libertarians in some ways – he’s shown how bad government can be, he has decreased the impact of regulation, he’s exposed statists in all sorts of different places, perhaps the AMLO administration will marginally improve Mexico’s government.

  25. As elsewhere in America and Europe, Mexico’s turn toward a populist president with half-formed economic ideas is at least partially the fault of previous leaders

    Yes, but fortunately, Obama isn’t president anymore, and we didn’t elect Hillary either.

  26. Mexico’s Amlo and Ontario’s newly elected premier Ford prove that one can be a populist without being a racist.

    1. Yeah, but it’s not as much fun.

      1. Less fun, less fear. They’re at a disadvantage in fighting the culture wars.

    2. If you’ve read his party platform you would realize that he will make Canadian’s socialism seem like lasses-faire capitalism.

      1. The PRI and PAN didn’t seem to come up with anything more attractive to the Mexican voters.

  27. WTF? Yea he’s almost Trump’s twin

    “to impose greater government control over the economy,’

    Always work. Mexicans as a whole , not too smart.

    1. Well, from a business perspective regulatory compliance is simply a cost of business expense (same as e.g. taxes). It may be stifling, but it’s safe to assume that industries which are stifled by the US regulatory apparatus have long since reached equilibrium or folded outright.

      Meanwhile, 25% tariffs are also a cost of business expense, but one which the market has not reached an equilibrium response to yet.

      So to pretend that Trump is anything other than “imposing greater government control over the economy” is to betray a deep and fundamental economic ignorance. Trump would have had to dismantle the regulatory state outright to achieve a net reduction in government control, factoring in the tariffs.

    2. Trump’s hand in the economy will seem like a scalpel cut compared to the chainsaw that Mexican Maduro is getting ready to release.

  28. Mexico can compete with it southern neighbors for biggest shit hole.

    1. Certainly the scariest.

  29. He wants to send the other 104 Million Mexicans here. Reason must be cheering

  30. More like the bizarro version.

  31. These comments are depressing. Good luck to Mexico and their new president who just like ours is probably a complete dope. But a dope that at least is not going to fuck with other countries to the cheers of his citizens.

    1. The collectivist-right fools who infested the Reason commentariat starting during the 2016 election campaign season are the biggest bunch of idiots I believe I have ever encountered. Their arguments are garbage, their understanding is non-existent, and their politics are straight-up communism, though they do give lip-service to the concept of private property while their policies would destroy the last vestiges of a meaningful conception thereof. It is, indeed, depressing. They’re literally progressives, except they disavow compassion.

      Not that being driven by any emotions at all is a good thing, but at least folks driven by positive emotions have a small excuse for the evil they engender. Folks driven by negative emotions have no defense.

      1. They seem to believe that the bedrock of Americanism is whiteness and Anglo culture, when the bedrock of Americanism has always been laissez-faire and individualism. Both of these concepts are rejected wholesale by this new collectivist-right, even if they would never admit it. It’s disgusting, it’s anti-American, and it will destroy what good remains in the concept of America.

        Fuck them all the way to hell.

        1. They don’t even worship Obama’s big black cock and vote for Hillary! Jesus Christo!

      2. Awwwwww did babby snowflake get his feewings hurt?

    2. Hardly, he is a Marxist despost like Maduro and this will be the end of the Mexican economy that was doing half way decent (relative to Mexico’s economic history).

      1. No he is not a Marxist. He is a populist who despises the neoliberal ‘experiments’ on Mexico.

        And the Mexican economy is doing horribly relative to even its own history which ain’t that good. The drug war of the last decade (guided and funded mostly by the US) has killed 200,000 people – which makes it a very real war. And Pena Nieto doubled the foreign debt of Mexico relative to its economy in the last 6 years (all for the sole purpose of enriching the elites and Wall St) – after 25 years of roughly staying constant.

        whether he can actually reverse that stuff is a different question. I personally have my doubts. But the fearmongering that he is a Marxist is nothing but agitprop for useful idiots/tools like you.

        1. Slurp slurp slurp. That commie cock sure tastes good don’t it?

          Tell us more about MS13 is a CIA psyop you paranoid fucking retard.

  32. He is the Maduro/Chavez of Mexico and soon the peso will be worthless.

  33. L?pez Obrador maybe a left-wing version of Trump so now we can watch if he can kick off the economy of Mexico as trump has done to the US. That will tell the tell.

  34. Lol. The guy whose policies are literally indistinguishable from the woman this fuckhole of a magazine endorsed for president of the USA. I’m sure you’re super super concerned.

    1. His policies and personality mirror Trump way more than Hillary. I’m sure you would have voted for him.

  35. “Andr?s Manuel L?pez Obrador’s populist campaign”

    “Populist” is Reason’s new slur. The mask is coming off.

    They yearn for the day when government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall perish from this earth.

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