Ten years old. Morena, Mexico’s ruling party, born in 2014, is ten. You’ve had or known ten-year-olds, curious and energetic youngsters capping a decade of phenomenal growth in every dimension.

So with Morena. And Morenistas are as proud as parents about what’s been accomplished. At four, its candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won the presidency and the majority of seats in Congress. But AMLO didn’t repeat the usual patterns of party growth, he didn’t immediately attend to the demands of the so-called experienced adults, those from the elite “fifi” class. The elite had ruled on their own behalf for far too long. Instead, he turned his attention to the common people. They soon felt the president’s respect and responded with affection.

The common people cheered AMLO and the young Morena for insisting on the nation’s right to determine its own path, without the meddling of arrogant strangers, quick to help themselves as if they owned the family store.

An interview with Diego Alfredo Torres Rosete, coordinator of the Frente Amplio de Mexicanos en el Exterior, on Claudia Sheinbaum & Morena's victory.

And now at ten, Morena enters its second stage, as Claudia Sheinbaum becomes its second president and promises to build the “second floor” of AMLO’s transformation. On June 2, Mexicans eagerly flocked to the polls, knowing that their ballot marks were making history. They found it worthwhile to wait in line in the blistering heat so as to protect their precious and precocious offspring.

No one doubts that Claudia will fulfill Mexico’s expectations as Morena matures. Honesty, humility, courage, resolve — and most of all, a deep love for the people.

Diego & comrades celebrating Sheinbaum’s victory in el Zócalo

Mexico City native Diego Alfredo Torres Rosete lived in the US as an undocumented immigrant for 20 years. After returning to Mexico, he worked in the AMLO government’s Secretariat of Mexicans Abroad and International Affairs. He’s now the coordinator of the Frente Amplio de Mexicanos en el Exterior (Broad Front of Mexicans Abroad), which defends and serves the needs of all migrants.

Mexico has a new president! What does the final vote tell us about the balance of power between the conservatives and the progressives?

This was not just a victory for Claudia Sheinbaum. It was a rout! Claudia won 60% of the vote, more than double the 28% that conservative opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez received. Mexican politics will not be the same after this.

According to the vote, what’s the strength now of the various parties in order of biggest to smallest? Morena is strongest by a huge margin. Then PAN. It will preserve its base among the rich. Then the Movimiento Ciudadano (Citizens Movement), whose presidential candidate won 10% of the vote. Then the PRI, which ruled Mexico for 71 years. Next the Verdes (Greens, but they are not environmentalists), and lastly, the small Partido de Trabajadores (Workers Party).

The biggest loser? The PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), which will disappear. The PRD was founded to challenge the PRI’s lack of democracy but moved to the right and joined the PRI/PAN coalition in this election. A party must get 3% of the popular vote to register as a political party and receive funding from the federal government. The PRD only got 1.8%, its life is basically over. It serves no purpose.

Who must Morena watch out for? Movimiento Ciudadano. Their presidential candidate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, successfully appealed directly to young people — Movimiento Ciudadano got 23% of the youth vote. Youth could become a base of growth for them, because they don’t remember what it was like under the corrupt PRI years.

Because there was never doubt that Claudia would win, many worried that the turnout would be poor. What happened?

AMLO sparked a major change in the Mexican people. For the first time, everyone feels that they are a part of Mexico because their voices have been heard. That’s why millions tuned in to AMLO’s mañaneras (press conferences) every morning on TV. The presidential debates had the biggest audiences ever. Now, the whole nation follows politics and knows a lie when they hear one. On Sunday, the people flooded into polling places. They made their voices loud and clear. “We reject a government where the rich decide! Now, we, the people, will decide.”

Did sections of the left sit out the election? Why?

Many leftists complain about AMLO and his administration. As someone who was an immigrant to the US (and was deported), I’m angry myself that the situation of migrants living abroad hasn’t improved.

But we’re allowed to be angry! We have a right to be mad. A lot needs to be fixed. Yet, for me and many others, Morena is still the solution. I’m talking about Morena’s ideology, which I strongly believe in.

That’s not true for everyone. Some feminists, independent labor activists and the families of the disappeared are disappointed, frustrated, angry — and opposed to Morena. But I think Claudia knows their concerns are just and will do more to address them.

Santiago Taboada, PAN candidate for head of government in Mexico City, has been implicated in substantial real estate corruption in the city.

The other critically important race was for governor of Mexico City. The opposition focused their energies on that campaign, hoping to use it as a springboard for their comeback. What happened?

Even in Morena, many people thought the opposition candidate, Santiago Taboada, would win. But Morenista Clara Brugada — the mayor of Iztapalapa, the poorest and most populous district of Mexico City — beat him by more than 10%. Any time the margin of victory is over 5%, it is impossible to charge fraud. So the opposition PRIAN coalition will not be able to position Taboada for the 2030 presidency as they had hoped.

AMLO has proposed 20 constitutional reforms that require a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress. During his presidency, he had a simple majority and failed to amend the constitution. What now?

Morena just won that two-thirds majority in the House of Deputies and came close in the Senate. Because Congress convenes one month before AMLO leaves office, he can probably pass 15 of those amendments, making it nearly impossible in the future to reverse many of his social programs. For example, one amendment will guarantee that minimum wages will always be set above inflation, and another that will guarantee Indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples will finally gain recognition and access to government programs and appointments.

Some amendments will be harder to pass, particularly electoral reform. Critics have accused AMLO of wanting to dismantle democracy — but look at the proposals. He’s cutting the money the government gives to political parties (many Morenistas may not agree!), saying it’s a waste and better used on programs for the poor. He’s cutting the INE’s (National Electoral Institute’s) extravagant budget. He wants to abolish congressional seats that aren’t elected but appointed by parties. By the way, these types of cuts are what AMLO means by “republican austerity.”

The US media has engaged in a smear campaign against AMLO and Claudia, calling them authoritarians who threaten Mexico’s democracy.

Sometimes AMLO may sound authoritarian in his speeches. But he states — with authority — what the people want. The PRI and PAN complain that it’s not democratic that he didn’t consult with them. But rather than negotiate with parties of the elite, he chose to go to every little corner of Mexico and talk with the people.

The US fears that Mexico is heading in a direction where it will no longer be a US client. Since AMLO arrived in 2018, the US press has been talking shit about him!

How will Claudia handle this? She’s tough. She will not take the bait when provoked. In her dealings with the US, she’ll probably say something like, here’s what we require. If you can’t do it, we’ll find someone else to work with. Game over!

Claudia triumphed. But did people vote for her only because she will follow in AMLO’s footsteps? Has she won their hearts in her own right?

What people have voted for is not the Morena party, but the Morena ideology. Claudia will not imitate AMLO. She agrees with the principle of serving the people, “but first of all, the poor.” AMLO’s political career was born in the PRI, Claudia comes from the left movement. With the foundation that AMLO laid, she will be able to build the “second floor,” as she calls it, of Mexico’s national Fourth Transformation, for greater equality, dignity, and security for all.

Does she have AMLO’s easy style? Look back at AMLO’s mañaneras from 2018 and compare them to today. You will see, he’s much more relaxed and comfortable. Claudia, too, will grow more comfortable over time in her role as president.

She’s the perfect person to be our president!