Mexico’s Newly Elected President Can’t Tackle Corruption Alone

Mexico’s newly elected leftist president Andrés Manuel López Obrador aims to tackle the country’s crippling corruption epidemic all on his own.

The solutions to this intractable challenge have evaded Mexican leaders for decades. Whether López Obrador’s individualistic personalized approach to anti-corruption is successful will define his presidency, and shape Mexico’s political and economic future.

To deliver the transformative change he’s promised and effectively combat corruption, López Obrador must abandon the personality-centered, individualistic approach that brought him to power.

López Obrador, a leftist who shares stylistic similarities with Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, soared to victory on inspirational rhetoric. The central plank of López Obrador’s platform called for massive public investment and pro-poor programs funded by reclaiming public monies that had been lost to corruption.

While López Obrador’s rhetoric touched a chord with Mexico’s dissatisfied millions, his words will only achieve so much when he assumes office on December 1st.

Throughout the months-long campaign period, López Obrador stressed his frugality, unbending morals, and personal dedication to rooting out corruption. He is a man of humble roots who flew to campaign events on commercial airlines and has indicated that he won’t be staying in the palatial presidential residence, instead, turning the grounds into a public park.

López Obrador, who repeatedly stated “only I can fix corruption,” has adopted a strategy for tackling corruption that relies primarily on the power of his example and charisma, rather than a well-developed set of policy proposals.

López Obrador’s political movement—National Regeneration Movement (Morena)—is highly-personalized and lacking in precise […]