The US Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate will be Joe Biden, 77, or Bernie Sanders, 78. The youngest man in the race will end up being Republican Donald Trump, 73.
These older white men see the world with the lens of their time. Trump’s racism or Sanders’s socialism would have made them ineligible 20 years ago.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is younger: 66-years old. In Mexico however, the average age is just 29 years and only 7 percent of the Mexican population is over 65 years.
AMLO is a son of his time and of the place where he was born. His age, values and training make it difficult for him to understand many of the current issues. He does not understand the importance for Mexico of a quality education and wants to recreate that world where the President had all the discretion to reward and punish entrepreneurs, something that now conveys a great cost: lower private investment.
AMLO does not support the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, as did the young Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada. Nor does AMLO understand women’s demand for specific public policies to address their problems and needs.
AMLO thinks to know everything about gender. When a reporter recently asked him if a President should be immersed in knowledge of the gender issue, he replied: “I am immersed…I don’t want to use the word because, I hate it but, I am an expert”.
The only way AMLO understands inequality is by income level or by social origin. He does not understand deep gender inequalities and their implications. It does not help that he does not have daughters. He has not developed the slightest empathy for today’s women movement demands.
Like many Mexicans with power, his wife is younger and whiter than him, and feels more comfortable working with men. Senior officials surrounding AMLO at the Presidential Palace, where decisions are made, are all men. So, are almost all the vice-ministers through which he effectively controls many of the Government’s Ministries.
AMLO’s approval rating has dropped some 10 points in the last two months. The biggest drop has been among women and young people. This is the price one pays for seeing the Mexico of today through 1970s lens.
* Carlos Elizondo Mayer-Serra is professor at the School of Government and Public Transformation at Tec de Monterrey, in Mexico City. A Spanish version of this Op-Ed appeared first in Reforma’s newspaper print edition. Twitter: @carloselizondom