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Newsletter: Mexico is about to break its presidential glass ceiling. Why can’t the U.S.?

Claudia Sheinbaum, former mayor of Mexico City
Claudia Sheinbaum, Morena’s party presidential candidate, at WTC Mexico City on Sept. 6. Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, is the frontrunner for president in the June 2 election.
(Jaime Lopez / Getty Images)
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Good morning. I’m Mariel Garza, editorials editor, and it is Wednesday, May 29. Let’s look at what’s happening in Opinion.

Forgive the short introduction today. Meeting deadlines during a holiday-truncated workweek is always a scramble. But before we move on to opinion highlights, I’d like to say a quick word about the upcoming Mexican elections.

On Sunday, voters in that country are almost certain to elect their first female president from among the two frontrunners — Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez. The third-ranked candidate is a man, but way behind in the polls.

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I don’t have an endorsement in this race, but it seems like a good time to wonder why the U.S., a global leader in so many ways, is behind in breaking this particular glass ceiling. California too, for that matter. I wish I knew the answer. Perhaps that milestone would have been reached in 2016 had Hillary Clinton been facing any other Republican candidate.

It’s possible the 2028 election might offer an opportunity for gender equity in the Oval Office. There’s certainly a deep bench, with women from both major political parties now serving in the U.S. Senate and as state governors, from whose ranks presidents typically arise. Both men running in 2024 will have already served a term, opening the door for a new generation of leadership.

And California could elect its first female governor as soon as 2026 if the current lineup of leading candidates holds next year.

But first we have to get through the 2024 election in November. Which brings us to our first highlight from the week so far.

Why are Republicans making it harder for some people to vote? It’s not just partisanship. Racial animus is at the heart of the voter restriction laws passed in more than half the U.S. states, voting experts say. “Until about 2008, white Republicans and Democrats demonstrated similar rates of racial resentment. But after the election of the first Black president, those rates diverged dramatically. Racial resentment levels among white Democrats plunged, and they rose among white Republicans,” writes columnist Robin Abcarian.

Metro’s ‘surge’ of police isn’t the long-term solution L.A. needs for safer buses and trains. The plan by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass is worth a try, of course. But unless it is followed up with a longer-term law enforcement strategy, it’s not likely to change the public’s perception that it is dangerous to ride trains and buses, the Times’ editorial board writes.

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Why the push to legalize gambling on U.S. elections is so dangerous. Dennis Kelleher of Better Markets and Lisa Gilbert of Public Citizen write that “the ability to ‘win’ tens or hundreds of millions of dollars gambling on elections would create powerful new incentives for bad actors to influence voters and manipulate the results to favor their bets.” That’s scary.

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Whatever happened to L.A.’s plan to end its reliance on landfills? Nearly two decades ago, the city adopted a plan to divert 90% of the city’s trash from landfills by 2025, yet the amount of garbage Angelenos send to the landfills has increased. The Times’ editorial board says it’s time for the city to own up to its failure and make a new plan: “The smoldering environmental crisis at Chiquita Canyon Landfill should be a wake-up call to state and local leaders that they can no longer avoid making hard decisions about trash.”

Here’s how to actually show appreciation for teachers. Letters Editor Paul Thornton took his family to Dodger Stadium this month for Teacher Appreciation Day. The member of his family who couldn’t attend? His wife — a teacher, who like many other teachers, was working that Sunday. “This personal irony neatly illustrates the peculiar way we treat teachers,” he writes.

More from this week in opinion

From our columnists

From the Op-Ed desk

From the Editorial Board

Letters to the Editor

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If you’ve made it this far, you’re the kind of reader who’d benefit from subscribing to our other newsletters and to The Times.

As always, you can share your feedback by emailing me at paul.thornton@latimes.com.

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