Is Mexico Falling into the Authoritarian Trap?

Issue Date October 2021
Volume 32
Issue 4
Page Numbers 56–71
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Mexico’s 2021 midterm elections occurred amid concerns about the erosion of democratic institutions. Supporters of President López Obrador (AMLO) view his centralization of power in the executive as necessary to make government work for a marginalized majority. But the same state weaknesses that helped to propel AMLO to power constrain his responses to complex governance problems, including poverty and violent crime. This limits AMLO’s ability to consolidate a populist supermajority that can overwhelm constitutional checks and balances. State weakness and his increased reliance on the military thus pose a greater threat to Mexico’s democracy than a new electoral hegemon.

About the Authors

Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer

Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer is assistant professor at the Centro de Estudios Internacionales at El Colegio de México and academy scholar at Harvard University.

View all work by Mariano Sánchez-Talanquer

Kenneth F. Greene

Kenneth F. Greene is associate professor of government at the University of Texas–Austin and author of Why Dominant Parties Lose: Mexico’s Democratization in Comparative Perspective (2007).

View all work by Kenneth F. Greene