Claudia Sheinbaum Net Worth, first Presidential Debate In Mexico

On April 7, Mexico’s two leading presidential candidates, Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling MORENA party and Bertha Xóchitl Gálvez of the Strength and Heart for Mexico electoral alliance, engaged in the first of three televised debates. This debate set the stage for a fierce contest leading up to the June 2 election, with Sheinbaum currently holding a significant lead.

Gálvez’s Debate Struggles

Gálvez, representing the coalition of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), National Action Party (PAN), and Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), faced a challenging performance. Despite her energetic approach, Gálvez struggled to effectively articulate her political and social proposals. Her attempts to attack Sheinbaum came off as edgy and shrill, failing to make a substantial impact. Post-debate, Gálvez admitted her performance fell flat, attributing it to not trying to “be herself.”

This debate performance did not help Gálvez in the polls, where she remains behind Sheinbaum by about 24 percentage points. With Sheinbaum polling at 58-60 percent and Gálvez at 34-36 percent, Gálvez’s path to victory looks increasingly difficult.

Sheinbaum’s Background and Criticisms

Sheinbaum, a scientist with a Ph.D. in energy engineering, previously served as Secretary of the Environment in Mexico City under AMLO. Her tenure as head of Mexico City’s government was marked by significant challenges, including metro collapses and a burgeoning water crisis. Despite these vulnerabilities, Gálvez failed to capitalize on these issues during the debate.

Sheinbaum’s connection to current President AMLO works in her favor, given the popularity of his modest social programs. AMLO’s initiatives, such as cash transfers and wage increases, have reached millions and maintained public support. As AMLO’s hand-picked successor, Sheinbaum’s promise to continue these programs appears more credible to voters.

Third Candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez

The third candidate in the debate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizens’ Movement Party, focuses on a “social market economy.” Although he remains a distant third in the polls with 5-6 percent, his presence adds another dimension to the electoral landscape. Máynez managed to gain a couple of points following the debate, indicating some traction for his platform.

AMLO’s Influence and Legacy

AMLO’s influence on the current election is undeniable. Since his landslide victory in 2018, the PRI and PAN have lost considerable support, and the PRD is nearly politically moribund. Despite criticism from some on the US right, AMLO has maintained a cooperative relationship with the US, especially on issues like migration and economic policies favorable to American investments.

For example, AMLO has been instrumental in controlling mass migration from Latin America and the Caribbean, supporting Biden’s policies. Additionally, his administration’s “republican austerity” has focused spending on select projects like the Maya train and Pemex’s Dos Bocas oil refinery, while maintaining a favorable environment for US investment.

Economic Policies and Social Programs

AMLO’s tenure has seen significant US investments, such as Elon Musk’s Tesla plant near Monterrey. Despite his popular social programs, AMLO has not disrupted the Mexican oligarchy, maintaining friendly ties with billionaires like Carlos Slim Helú. This relationship has kept major reforms, such as increased taxes on the wealthy, off the table.

Sheinbaum has vowed not to increase taxes on the rich or corporate profits, suggesting that social programs may suffer in the face of economic turbulence or increased military spending. NGOs, led by Oxfam Mexico, estimate that maintaining current social services requires a spending increase equivalent to 5.5 percent of GDP, a challenge without new revenue sources.

Class Struggle and Future Prospects

AMLO’s administration has been marked by efforts to suppress class struggles and keep wages low. Despite his populist rhetoric, AMLO has managed to maintain the status quo in favor of Mexico’s elite. As Sheinbaum is poised to continue AMLO’s policies, significant changes to address inequality and social justice seem unlikely.

The debate and the ongoing election highlight the challenges and complexities within Mexico’s political landscape. While Sheinbaum’s lead appears insurmountable, the issues raised during the debates will continue to shape public discourse and voter priorities leading up to the election. For meaningful change, the focus may need to shift towards broader systemic reforms and grassroots mobilization beyond the current political offerings.

Leave a Comment