Political propaganda and memes in Mexico: The 2018 presidential election

Penélope Franco Estrada, Gary D. Rawnsley

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


    On 1 July 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) won the presidential election in Mexico. This is the first time in Mexican history that a candidate representing the political left has won an election with an overwhelming 53.19 per cent representing more than 30 million voters. The turnout was an historic high - 63 per cent, bringing to an end a century of rule by a centre-right party (PRI) and most recently by a rightwing party (PAN). In the 2018 election, social media became an arena for electoral competition, with campaigns either supporting AMLO or discrediting him as a candidate. All social media platforms were streamed with memes, videos, and political propaganda calling him either a hero or a populist. Many used the example of left governments in South America, with comparisons emerging between the Venezuelan crisis and Mexico. These memes warned social media users about the risks of voting for the left and for the 'Messiah' figure, while AMLO's campaign focused on highlighting the poor results of past administrations. In this chapter, we explore how memes were used as weapons against AMLO in 2018, whether they were effective political instruments, or if memes directed against him actually increased his levels of popularity after he took over the presidency.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Political Propaganda
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781789906424
    ISBN (Print)9781789906417
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


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