Mexico Beat the USA to this Draw

Patrick McCorkle
3 min readMay 26, 2024


While I lived in Mexico, I was able to witness the beginning of a political transformation. The political party PRI, which had ruled the country in the 20th century in a “perfect dictatorship” in the words of Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, was crumbling. In 2017, former Head of Government of Mexico City Andres Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) MORENA party challenged PRI in its stronghold of Estado de Mexico (the state of Mexico) for the governorship. This race was a trial run for the presidency.

PRI ended up winning the state governorship, but AMLO won the presidency the following year. AMLO’s six year term will expire on June 2nd and his successor Claudia Sheinbaum is poised to become Mexico’s next president. Sheinbaum, who also served as Head of Government of Mexico City, regularly leads presidential polls by double digits. That isn’t surprising as AMLO’s approval rating “north of 60 percent.”

Former Senator Xóchitl Gálvez, who represents the Strength and Heart for Mexico coalition comes in 2nd place. Even “third ranking, male presidential candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez chose a feminist politician to coordinate his platform for part of the campaign.”

Come June, Mexico will have its first female president or “presidenta.” Watching from the north, I applaud Mexico this historic moment. Mexicans, especially Mexicanas, told me about the ‘machismo,’ male dominance and antiquated gender norms of certain parts of Mexico. They contended the country had a long way to go for gender parity and hadn’t had a feminist movement to the same degree as the USA.

Electing a female leader seems to be a step in the correct direction. While there’s no guarantee a woman will represent women, she probably can’t do worse than all the previous male presidents. Since Sheinbaum is closely allied with AMLO, it remains to be seen how much she can step out of his shadow. Will he be the puppet master behind the scenes, as other Mexican presidents have supposedly been after their term is over? Such are the concerns behind arguments that a woman in power may not mean anything if she is controlled by the same interests that have always dominated the country.

Whether or not Mexico’s presidenta is controlled by some shadowy group of elites, the fact that its chief executive is female will inspire women all around the country. They will believe that a career in politics is possible for them and that they can change things. It’s important that people in power, entertainment and the like reflect the population that supports them, especially when there have been racial, gender and class disparities.

Many people, including some I know personally, have stated how important it was for their politicians, fictional heroes and so on to look like them. The presidency of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and winning of the popular vote, four female Supreme Court Justices, Miles Morales as Spiderman, minority centered sitcoms and popular shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Fresh Off The Boat are all efforts to better represent the diverse U.S. population.

My sister, female friends and acquittances and friends and acquittances of color have helped fill in my gaps. It’s not that male politicians or entertainers are ‘bad,’ but rather that they can’t always connect or reflect the experience of being a woman, minority or combination of the factors. If the (vast) majority of the rich, powerful and famous don’t look like you, how would that make you feel? Would you think your interests are represented?

I still remember an example of a debate from my ‘Women in Politics’ class in 2011. There was a group politicians, the majority men with a few women. The women had to bring up issues like contraception. Due to biology, the males didn’t have to worry about it and didn’t think about it. It wasn’t that the men wanted to punish the women or didn’t want to help them, but without the contribution of their female colleagues, the issue might never have been addressed.

After multiple waves of feminism and representation, USA still lack a female president. For a country that regularly touts itself as the greatest in the world, that seems amiss. Mexico has beaten us to a legendary milestone and I tip my hat to our southern neighbor.

Perhaps one day women will lead governments in Canada, United States and Mexico at the same time.

I hope it doesn’t take a few more generations.



Patrick McCorkle

I am a young professional with keen interests in politics, history, foreign languages and the arts.