The presidential candidate was an interloper running against an established political elite in the country. The presidential candidate ignored the personal attacks and focused his campaign on his core supporters by meeting with them in public spaces where his supporters showed up in mass. The presidential candidate skipped the first debate and instead focused on building up his core supporters. His popularity and his political rhetoric against the elitist politicians mobilized his supporters around him.
Bypassing the traditional political campaigning dictums, the presidential candidate not only bypassed the first campaign but he also refused to advertise his candidacy preferring instead to rely on his mass mobilizations of supporters. The presidential candidate believed his internal polling to be accurate and reflective of his eventual election day win.
By the time the second debate came about, not only did the candidate participate but he also began to advertise his candidacy through the mass media. He accused his rival of mass corruption pointing to profiteering scandals of companies tied to his rival and his rival’s family members.
On election night it soon became apparent that the race was too close to call. Early results showed his opponent ahead of the presidential candidate. The candidate refused to concede. The presidential candidate demanded a recount and an investigation into campaign irregularities. The country’ electoral officials declared his opponent the winner. Unsatisfied with the ruling, the presidential candidate sought the intervention of the country’s highest electoral overseers. The federal electoral body reviewed the accusations of voter fraud and campaign irregularities and eventually ruled that the opponent had won the presidency.
Still unsatisfied with the official rulings, the presidential candidate refused to concede and instead set up his campaign headquarters outside the country’s capital and proclaimed himself the “legitimate government” of the country. He formed a parallel government to govern over the country. The presidential candidate even formed a transitional team, as if he had won the election. A few years later, the presidential candidate gave up his shadow government, but not before he caused the nation to question the legality of the president that assumed the office.
The presidential candidate was Andrés Manuel López Obrado (AMLO) and like Donald Trump, López Obrador mobilized many of the electorate under a banner of ridding Mexico of political corruption. Also, like Donald Trump, López Obrado changed political parties as he mulled his presidential aspirations, first in Mexico’s premier political party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional and then the Partido de la Revolución.
In 2006, López Obrado ran against Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, who was declared Mexico’s president in the national elections. “El Pais,” the largest newspaper in Spain, in terms of circulation, labeled the López Obrador refusal to concede as a “lack of consideration to the democratic institutions and rule of law” that “seriously endangers” the peace in Mexico.
Donald Trump continues to refuse to acknowledge whether he would accept the results of the US elections. During the last presidential debate, Trump preferred to the keep the US electorate in “suspense”. In continuing his political rhetoric about corruption in the US electoral system and refusing to acknowledge whether he will concede the race, Donald Trump seems to be following the path of Andrés Manuel López Obrado.
Ironically, López Obrador represents the country, Mexico, that Donald Trump targeted during his most recent presidential candidacy. Maybe, Donald Trump could learn a thing or two about what happens to presidential aspirants who refuse to accept the political institutions of their country. In the end, López Obrador never recovered from his gimmicks and has faded into political oblivion.