Mexico Charges into the US Election

It’s an achievement for Mexican President López Obrador to be able to blackmail the most powerful man on the planet thanks to chaos at the border.

It’s immigration. That was how 28% of those polled by Gallup answered the question, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country now?” Today, we can modify James Carville’s famous phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid,” to “It’s immigration.”

The second most common answer (20% of respondents) is that the government is an important problem to resolve. The third most common response (with only 12%) was the problem of the economy. With this, Mexico is fully involved in our neighbor’s election campaign, a year in which we also have federal elections.

What does it mean for Mexico to get involved in the campaign? On the one hand, it means that Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Donald Trump both benefit from a more chaotic border. This is true. The interests of López Obrador and Trump are aligned. The fact that the border is an unresolved problem for the former U.S. president lets him attack Joe Biden and boosts his chances of being reelected, given how important this issue is to the voters.

Because of this, even while the U.S. Senate was ready to approve a bipartisan initiative to bring some order to immigration issues when Trump signaled the House of Representatives — where the Republicans hold a slim majority — that he didn’t want this to happen, the proposal did not pass. Republican senators did not want to squander their political capital if they knew the initiative would not survive in the House.

Trump wanted to defeat this initiative because he knew that if Biden successfully dealt with immigration and border issues, it would increase his chances of reelection.

In the case of López Obrador, the chaos at the border lets him maintain the upper hand against Biden, who knows that if Mexico does its part in slowing the flow of migrants from its southern border with Central America, the chaos at the border with the U.S. will be greatly diminished. Because of this, Biden has decided to look to the other side of the border for human rights; democracy and freedom of expression in Mexico. He does not want to get tied up in disputes that, for him, are minor and which could complicate López Obrador’s cooperation on immigration.

In Mexico, López Obrador is utilizing all the state’s resources to ensure that his anointed successor, Claudia Sheinbaum, wins. For the White House to pretend that it does not see and hear these anti-democratic actions is invaluable to the Mexican president. It’s an achievement for Mexican President López Obrador to be able to blackmail the most powerful man on the planet thanks to chaos at the border. The flow of immigrants increases or decreases depending on how much the Mexican government cooperates.

For example, López Obrador leaked the personal data of Natalie Kitroeff, The New York Times’ Mexico correspondent, during a recent daily press conference. López Obrador was angry about the article in the Times, which mentioned that the U.S. government had opened an investigation into organized crime links to his 2018 campaign.

Far from the U.S. condemning this leak and defending freedom of expression, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, chose rather to say that there is no investigation of links of López Obrador with organized crime.

Sad, but true. López Obrador and Trump benefit from the chaos at the border, and in the border chaos, Mexico is charging into the U.S. elections this coming November.

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