The Week (US)

The U.S. won’t save us from autocracy


Enrique Quintana

Why would The Economist devote an entire cover story to attacking the Mexican president? asked Enrique Quintana. The respected British weekly just proclaimed Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known here as AMLO, a “false messiah” who is leading Mexico down an antidemocr­atic path. The story details his many power grabs, such as threatenin­g electoral officials and interferin­g in the judiciary, and AMLO immediatel­y denounced the magazine as “mendacious,” accusing it of trying to influence upcoming legislativ­e elections. Yet the real reason for the story can be found in its final paragraph, where it warns the administra­tion of U.S. President

Joe Biden not to ignore “the stealthy authoritar­ianism in its backyard.” The Economist is clearly hoping that Vice President Kamala Harris will carry a stern message for AMLO when she visits Mexico next week. But Harris “has other concerns.” She has been tasked with ending the migrant crisis at the border, and that will require AMLO’s help. If Central American migrants keep pouring into Texas and other border states, Republican­s will have the perfect campaign issue with which to bludgeon Democrats in next year’s midterms. The Biden administra­tion will happily overlook our president’s autocratic streak to protect its own political future.

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