One explanation I haven’t heard for Trump’s strong performance among Hispanic voters in 2020 has been the high regard in which the leftist president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, holds Trump. If your cousins back in Mexico are big AMLO fans and they tell you AMLO likes Trump, that cuts across ideological lines pretty well.
I predicted back in 2018 in a Taki’s column that AMLO and Trump would get along pretty well:
Also, AMLO is coming to power at a time when Latin American socialists are chastened by the failures of their recent decade of ascendancy in South America.
Thus, in 2018, AMLO campaigned less on dogmatic socialism than on a Trump-era nationalist populism skeptical of globalist neoliberalism.
For example, AMLO critiques NAFTA for banning Mexico’s traditional tariffs that protected its small corn farmers, whose ancestors had been growing corn for thousands of years. The beneficiaries were massively efficient Midwestern American farmers, whose cheap corn imports pushed huge numbers of Mexican peasants into illegally migrating to the U.S. over the last quarter of a century.
I think the Trump-AMLO friendship was an enemy-of-my-enemy thing involving the Bush family in the US and the various neoliberals in Mexico like the Salinas family, with whom Jeb Bush used to vacation.
On election night 1988, the Mexican party of the left was finally about to win a presidential election when suddenly the lights went out at the vote counting central. When the power finally went back on, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary party was somehow in the lead.
When the Cold War ended, the PRI president Carlos Salinas went to George H.W. Bush with a message the Bush family had long dreamt of: Mexico would open up to American business if it could be included in the free trade pact the US was (boringly) negotiating with Canada. This has been the Grand Strategy of the Bush family ever since GHWB had to hire front men to nominally own his Zapata oil company in Mexico because Americans have been banned from the Mexican oil biz since 1938.
It’s not widely recognized in the U.S. media that the Bush dynasty’s fundamental strategic vision over the last half century has been to knock down the barriers keeping American business out of Mexico in return for lowering the barriers keeping Mexican people out of America. (It’s not a coincidence that two President Bushes’ oil firms were named Zapata and Arbusto.)
This is not an irrational plan, but it benefits elites more than publics.
This became NAFTA and the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the Bushes and the Salinases, at least until the Salinases’ enemies started winding up dead in 1993–94.
AMLO especially sympathizes with Trump’s complaints about election fraud, in part because Lopez Obrador believes the 2006 Mexican presidential election was stolen from him by a late-arriving vote dump. He led a year of protests outside the capitol, then finally was elected president in 2018.
From the Associated Press:
Mexican president mounts campaign against social media bans
By MARK STEVENSON
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president vowed Thursday to lead an international effort to combat what he considers censorship by social media companies that have blocked or suspended the accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration is reaching out to other government to form a common front on the issue.
“I can tell you that at the first G20 meeting we have, I am going to make a proposal on this issue,” López Obrador said. “Yes, social media should not be used to incite violence and all that, but this cannot be used as a pretext to suspend freedom of expression.”
“How can a company act as if it was all powerful, omnipotent, as a sort of Spanish Inquisition on what is expressed?” he asked.
Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico is starting to build an international campaign around the issue.
“Given that Mexico, through our president, has spoken out, we immediately made contact with others who think the same,” Ebrard said, noting they had heard from officials in France, Germany, the European Union, Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
“The president’s orders are to make contact with all of them, share this concern and work on coming up with a joint proposal,” Ebrard said. “We will see what is proposed.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is among those who have publicly criticized the action against Trump. Her spokesman said Monday the German leader found it “problematic” that corporate managers could deny someone access under rules not defined by law.
The German Chancellor is not particularly interested in the American tradition of freedom of speech, but is interested in the Westphalian tradition of state sovereignty.
… López Obrador has not said whether he is thinking of trying to regulate social media platforms or perhaps just switching to a new outlet. On Tuesday, he posted an invitation on Facebook — the platform he most frequently uses — for his followers to switch to Telegram.
… López Obrador says private companies should not have the right to decide who can speak. But the issue also displays his closeness to Trump, and his off-again, on-again love of social media.
Ramírez Cuevas said López Obrador manages his own social media accounts, and is not being ironic when he uses a favorite phrase, “the blessed social media.”
“When he talks about the blessed social media, he is referring to the citizens who use it freely to express opinions freely and get information,” Ramírez Cuevas said. “The mass use of social media has allowed his message to get through, when before it was blocked by traditional news media.”
Like Trump, López Obrador thinks traditional media outlets are biased against him, and like Trump, the Mexican president has used the term “fake news,” or Spanish variants of it.
The two men had such a close relationship that Trump, in one of his only public appearances since Jan. 6, heaped extensive praise on López Obrador, calling him “a great gentleman, a friend of mine.”
“I want to thank him for his friendship and his professional working relationship,” Trump said. “He is a man who really knows what’s happening, he loves his country and he also loves the United States.”
The relationship was based not on ideological affinity, but on the help Mexico provided — under U.S. pressure — to stop Central American migrants from reaching the U.S. border. Trump bragged that “we actually had 27,000 Mexican soldiers guarding our borders over the last two years.”
Trump’s success with Mexico, a hugely important foreign country for us that bores most American elites, is one of the more improbable of his administration. The Biden Administration is under a lot of pressure from interest groups to junk that progress, although I vaguely sense that Biden himself is uneasy about doing that.
A friend theorized that Republicans in the future could not win Hispanic votes without a candidate who is a muy macho bro, somebody who represents male camaraderie, thus dooming many higher IQ Republicans like Cruz and Hawley.