WSJ Calls Xochitl Gálvez AMLO’s Worst Nightmare

Mexican presidential hopeful Xochitl Gálvez. Photo: Google


In a scathing editorial on Sunday, July 16, the Wall Street Journal called up-and-coming Mexican opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Gálvez President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) worst nightmare.

“Xóchitl Gálvez is a Mexican woman with a wide smile and an optimistic aura. She’s also Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s worst nightmare,” the editorial, which was signed by columnist Mary Anastasia O’Grady, started out.

“With 10 months to go until Mexico’s 2024 presidential election, López Obrador’s approval rating hovers above 60 percent. While he can’t run for re-election, his popularity could very well carry the candidate for his (leftist) National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, yet to be named, first over the finish line on June 2.”

But AMLO’s hopes to continue governing the country through a proxy chosen by himself could be dashed as a result of his own efforts to discredit Gálvez, O’Grady said.

O’Grady went on to say that, should “a challenger emerge who can unite the opposition and spur high turnout,” AMLO’s intentions to continue his so-called Fourth Transformation of Mexico into an centralized autocracy could be stymied.

And the 60-year-old Gálvez, who formally announced her intention to run for the office on June 27, could just be the ticket the opposition needs to put an end to the seemingly unstoppable AMLO political machine.

“She’s gained a remarkable amount of national attention thanks in a large part to López Obrador, who clearly sees her as a threat,” the editorial says.

“The president is right to be worried. Gálvez is an intelligent politician with a happy-warrior vibe. Only a month ago, Morena seemed impossible to defeat. That’s no longer true.”

O’Grady pointed out that while Morena is entering the election year with a strong macroeconomic story, “AMLO’s agenda has been antigrowth and anti-institutional,” with a distortedly overvalued peso covering a multitude of sins.

“AMLO free rides off of peso stability, but the credit goes to the economic liberalization that he opposes: free trade, investor protections and transparent monetary policy. Still, Mexico is far below its potential,” she wrote.

“AMLO is a populist whose political strategy revolves around class and racial division — and grievance. Opponents in Congress and the courts who get in the way of his nationalist agenda are labeled uppity snobs — or in his vernacular, fifis.”

O’Grady explained that the opposition Frente Amplio por México coalition –composed of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), the centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) — has agreed to back a single candidate in order to be able to beat Morena.

O’Grady admitted that as one of 13 competitors registered for the coalition primary, Gálvez “is far from a shoo-in,” as she will be competing against some seasoned heavy hitters like the PAN’s Santiago Creel and PRI-ista Enrique de la Madrid, the son of a former president.

But it was AMLO himself who has put the candidacy of the upwardly mobile Gálvez, who’s not a social conservative, into play, she said.

The former head of Mexico’s national institute of indigenous people with indigenous roots, O’Grady noted that Gálvez narrowly lost a 2010 bid for governor in Hidalgo, and in 2015, she was elected as mayor of a section of Mexico City. In 2018 she won a proportional-representation senate seat.

“In a Twitter video last week, Gálvez noted that AMLO had invoked her name seven consecutive days at his daily press conference at the National Palace — 11 times on one day,,” O’Grady said.

“She used photos of a fire on a Pemex platform in the Gulf of Mexico and cartel violence in the state of Guerrero to ask the president if he didn’t have better things to do than talk about her.”

O’Grady likewise noted that “the law is no impediment for AMLO when he is intent on destroying an opponent. A court ordered him to give her the right to reply after he accused her of opposing social programs during his daily press conference. He has refused to comply.”

Hellbent on trying to discredit Gálvez, O’Grady said that AMLO also made unfounded allegations about the senator’s private companies, claiming that they had had contracts with the state valued at more than $80 million.

“Gálvez denied the charge, calling the president’s arithmetic wrong and his statement a blunder. She also said he had made public confidential tax information and threatened legal action against him,” O’Grady reported.

“When he’s not abusing his power, he’s blatantly insulting her. He calls her a puppet of the elite. During a press conference last week he made an attempt to dismiss Gálvez’s candidacy by likening her to an ambulatory tamale vendor, singing the jingle that all Mexicans know from the street. It’s doubtful that condescension toward a woman who climbed the economic ladder through sheer determination is a winning strategy.”

The president’s sexist and demeaning comments against Gálvez have only widened her growing popularity, O’Grady said.

“While the president demeans hard work, Gálvez is talking to the nation about its aspirations, freedom and respect for institutions,” she concluded.

“Those are themes many Mexicans may want to hear more about.”

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