The Mexican national elections held on Sunday, June 2, resulted in a resounding victory for the ruling leftist party, Morena. Claudia Sheinbaum, running under current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s banner, won the presidential contest by a thirty-point margin, and Morena secured a supermajority in both the national and state legislatures. This landslide win grants them the power to do whatever they want—including changing the Mexican Constitution.

Why should Americans care? Well, for starters, with Morena at the helm, our southern neighbor will remain a cartel-driven state for the next six years.

There is substantial evidence of the Mexican state actively colluding with cartels, and Mexican president Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has even vowed to use the Mexican military to defend the cartels against any U.S. actions.

That’s right… the President of Mexico would rather cooperate with cartels than with us. His track record includes obstructing DEA operations, suspending a counternarcotics unit responsible for tackling organized crime, stripping foreign agents of their diplomatic immunity, and threatening the U.S. if we intervened against organized crime or drug traffickers in Mexico.

Meanwhile, he makes gestures of sympathy toward drug lords and refuses to condemn cartels in public. He claims cartels “behave better than white collar criminals,” has welcomed proposals for a “social pact” with cartels, dismissed talks of cartel violence “propaganda,” and has even met with the mother of infamous drug lord “El Chapo,” blamed for the deaths of thousands of people in Mexico.

His tenure has seen Mexico cede territory to cartels and witness unprecedented levels of violence and disappearances. In 2021, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau estimated that 35-40% of Mexico is controlled by cartels.

Although AMLO couldn’t run for reelection, it’s widely believed he will continue to exert influence through his new and carefully selected successor, Claudia Sheinbaum. There is a widespread expectation that she will be a figurehead president, with AMLO pulling the strings behind the scenes. In fact, she’s already promised to implement his proposed “Plan C” constitutional reforms.

Unfortunately, even if this wasn’t the case, AMLO will have the month of September, when his presidency overlaps with the newly elected legislative supermajorities, to enact any changes he desires before Sheinbaum takes office in October.

The election results should be a wake-up call for Americans. Mexican criminal organizations are the largest criminal threat to the U.S., and Mexico, now a one-party state, will be governed by a left-populist coalition with strong narco-criminal ties for another six years.

As the U.S.-Mexico relationship continues to deteriorate, our leaders must realize that it will be impossible for the U.S. to have a reliable border security partnership with Mexico, and there is no point in asking them for help in curbing the flow of migrants to the U.S., like President Biden does. Their government has spelled it out for us, saying “We’re not the United States’ migration police,” and that they will “continue to make decisions that help improve the quality of migration of all our foreign brothers, who have made the decision to be in or transit through the territory”.

To no surprise, new reports indicate the incoming Sheinbaum team is stating that it will reject the reimposition of the “Remain in Mexico” policy under a new Trump administration in the U.S. If true, this confirms that the new administration’s stance towards the U.S. will be antagonistic rather than cooperative, making confrontation between the two countries inevitable.

In summary, the Mexican election results, while anticipated, are very bad news for the U.S. when it comes to cooperation on issues like border security. As Americans, we all wish for a cooperative relationship with Mexico to combat drug trafficking and illegal border crossings, but we must recognize that Mexico is unlikely to be a partner on these critical issues. Our policy must be grounded in reality, not wishful thinking.

For more information about the situation in Mexico, please refer to our recent paper on the new Sheinbaum administration, which you may find here.

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