Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Go for it, age doesn’t matter, what matters is the message’

Mexico’s 2024 presidential race just took an interesting turn.

On Monday, Nuevo León Governor Samuel García submitted a request to take a six-month leave of absence from his governorship to run for president. On Wednesday, he posted a photo of himself with former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was visting Monterrey, the capital city of Nuevo León.

“‘Go for it, age doesn’t matter, what matters is the message.’ This was the advice that ex-President Bill Clinton gave me,” read García’s caption.

Although Mexico’s presidential election is not until next June, it’s been giving political spectators a lot to talk about. Let’s start with the ruling Morena party.

Claudia Sheinbaum was widely considered the odds-on favorite to represent the party in 2024, and much to no one’s surprise, Sheinbaum won the internal Morena polling process in September. This was contested (unsuccessfully thus far) by runner-up Marcelo Ebrard (AMLO’s former foreign affairs minister).

Here is summary of Sheinbaum’s positions given in a recent interview.

As I highlighted in a recent column, Mexico’s political landscape is fast evolving and in many ways that people in other countries (particularly the United States) might find interesting and inspiring.

One of the differences that I highlighted was the fast evolution of political alliances in the country.  In particular, for this election cycle we have seen three formerly opposing parties (the PAN, the PRI, and the PRD), each with historically and ideologically different platforms, join forces to form the Broad Front for Mexico.

This opposition alliance followed its own internal process to select PAN Senator Xóchitl Gálvez for 2024.  Here is a summary of Gálvez’s positions in a recent interview.

By September, the two main political forces in the country had selected their candidates, and in a historic first, they are both women. But there was still a wild card left.

Movimiento Cuidadano (MC), a social-democratic party, had been pressured to join forces with the Broad Front coalition to battle Morena. But recently, the party announced they would indeed name their own presidential candidate, by early next year.

Movimiento Cuidadano is a relatively small party, represented by governors in two of Mexico’s 32 states. However, these states — Jalisco (which includes the city of Guadalajara) and Nuevo León (which includes the city of Monterrey) — are both populous and economically significant. Both states have also benefited from the nearshoring trend. The governor of Nuevo León, Samuel García, has been extremely active traveling the world and successfully bringing foreign investment commitments to his state. I recently wrote about why it is important to follow García.

I made the following assumptions leading up to the presidential election up until yesterday:

  1. MC ultimately would align behind the opposition coalition
  2. García would delay his presidential ambitions until the next election in 2030
  3. Ebrard would ultimately align with another candidate, either Gálvez or an MC candidate

While candidacy is not yet formalized, and the party’s leader has implied that Marcelo Ebrard could also be in the running to represent MC, this news could bring some added intrigue to the race.

García is very young (35 years old), has a savvy social media personality (in large part thanks to his wife), and is very pro-business, pro-nearshoring, and pro-globalization. He potentially could team up with Ebrard (who would bring significant experience to his candidacy) and offer a viable alternative to many Mexicans.

Pay close attention in the coming days as more announcements are likely to hit the news soon as the election cycle heats up.

Travis Bembenek is the CEO of Mexico News Daily and has been living, working or playing in Mexico for over 27 years.

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