AMLO: the leader and the myth

How can we deny the avalanche of pro-Obrador supporters that was recently seen on Mexico City’s Reforma Avenue? How can we not accept that probably 1,200,000 people attended? How can we not recognize the fascination that López Obrador continues to provoke, beyond those who were able to go under pressure from Tijuana or Chetumal City?

Because if we look at it carefully, everything was centered on President López Obrador. He was the one who called for the mobilization after the citizens’ demonstration of November 13 and who decided the script where he would be the main protagonist. He was also the one who would deliver a long speech repeating much of what he says daily in his morning conference with the sole purpose of demonstrating that his aura is still intact. 

AMLO equates himself to the myths of Hidalgo, Morelos, Juarez, Madero, Magon and Cardenas and each of the great characters of history has its human side but also its mythical side, the one attributed to him by the masses or currently also by the media. The one that is indivisible. And that is one of the problems of myth incarnate. How to transfer that aura to another person to continue the transformation of Mexico? There is no way. And the demonstration is that 1,200,000 people who moved to the center of Mexico City to accompany him and show that there is no other to succeed him.

But the leader’s adoration always divides internally. There is the official senator Ricardo Monreal who declared that he is leaving. And he is not leaving alone amidst the repudiation of the “Taliban” of the movement, but he is taking with him at least one governor, a part of the benches of the Congress of the Union and possibly dragging with him some votes from Mexico City.

This is the problem of the myth that turned into a man. It is religious and non-transferable. Besides, it has limited irradiation. The fact that the pro-government march and the November 13 march were attended by a million people is significant but does not describe the universe of potential voters in the metropolitan area of Mexico City. Nor does it mean that those who did not attend do not support the government or belong to the world of the undecided. And that is the big question mark for the 2024 elections. The doubt in the State of Mexico and Coahuila for 2023.

How will the Mexico City metropolitan area vote, how did it vote in 2018, or how did it vote in 2021? The strategies of Morena and the opposition are seeking to capture this electorate by hook or by crook. And the fact is that the pro-government march mobilized officials, employees, beneficiaries of social programs, and above all AMLO’s faithful. The rest could have stayed at home waiting for Mexico’s game against Argentina or simply not belonging to the myth’s aura circle.

And it is not only about, as journalist Jorge Patterson says, “what we are not seeing”, which is AMLO’s mythical imprint. It is about those zones of silence or those that have already taken a step to the side, as happened in Mexico City.

Subtracted from the Obradorist myth, many are looking for alternative options to Morena. And this was evident in the November 13 march in the capital. But nothing is set in stone. Mexico City, or rather, the metropolitan area of the Valley of Mexico, could once again become a new close competition with an unpredictable outcome.

In short, the massive Obradorist demonstration was a manifestation of AMLO’s intact capacity to mobilize huge masses throughout the country to accompany and cheer him. In this way, the president exalts his myth and ensures that no opposition demonstration will call him into question. That is the reason for the very personal call. It was not Morena, it was him. If the mobilization had been called by Morena, the myth would have been politicized. And the myth needs the incense of the image, the voice, the rictus of the leader.

*Translated from Spanish by Janaína Ruviaro da Silva

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