What's Going on in Argentina's Elections Sounds Awfully Similar to What We're Seeing in the U.S.

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

With so much else going on in the world, it’s easy to overlook the elections in Argentina, but it’s a fascinating story with some interesting parallels to our current political climate. You might find it all uncomfortably familiar.


For some (oversimplified) historical context, Argentina has experienced an astonishing amount of political upheaval over the last hundred years. Throughout the 20th century, the nation veered between democratic governance and military rule, and Argentina’s main governing philosophy is a strange brand of populism that finds its roots in the labor union politics of Juan Perón, who served as president in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’70s.

Argentina’s current president, Alberto Fernández, is wildly unpopular and isn’t seeking a second term amid the economic crisis gripping the country. As Dominic Moore explains at Spangld, “Argentina is struggling with triple-digit inflation, more than 40% of Argentines live below the poverty line, and the country is the world’s largest debtor to the International Monetary Fund.”

Five candidates emerged out of the primaries, including a socialist, two left-wing Peronists, a conservative, and a libertarian. Two of those candidates made it into a runoff, and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Sergio Massa of the Frente Renovador (Renewal Front) party is a doctrinaire leftist; he even defeated the candidate from Fernández’s own party. Massa looks and sounds like a politician.

On the other side is libertarian Javier Milei of the Partido Libertario (Libertarian Party). He’s a fiery advocate for liberty who has appeared with Tucker Carlson on his Twitter show and cultivates an unusual image. Milei’s coiffed hair and noticeable sideburns make him look like a relic from the ’70s; when I first saw him, I thought the photo was an archival photo from the Disco Era — or maybe an Austin Powers movie.



Naturally, the narrative is underway. Because Milei dares to take on the leftist establishment in Argentina, he’s an extremist. “Far-Right Candidate Heads to Runoff in Argentina Election,” screams a New York Times headline that crows that Milei didn’t finish strongly enough to win outright. The Guardian compares Milei to Donald Trump in an article featuring a menacing and deliberately unflattering tight shot of Milei shouting or screaming — remember, to the left, there is no “right,” just “far right,” and anyone who stands in the way of the progressive radicals must be stopped.

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The Guardian points out that Milei has a habit of “minimizing Trump’s role in the January 6 Capitol riots,” as if it matters what an Argentinian presidential candidate thinks about something that happened nearly three years ago. But the Trump comparisons abound: Milei is uncouth, and outlets compare him to the Trumpy former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. The Guardian characterized Milei and Bolsonaro (and tied them to Trump) this way: “Both men paint themselves as heaven-sent anti-communist crusaders on divine missions to save their countries from unpatriotic leftist crooks. Both have made unfounded claims about electoral fraud.”


Fox News sets the record straight on Milei’s political philosophy, pointing out, “Often incorrectly labeled ‘far-right’ or ‘populist’ by the international media, Milei is in fact a devout ideological libertarian whose Liberty Advances party has reshaped the political narrative in this South American nation of 45 million.”

But the Milei-Trump similarities get even more bizarre. Just like Fani Willis, Alvin Bragg, and Jack Smith, the left in Argentina is resorting to lawfare to neutralize the libertarian candidate.

“In a sign of the seriousness with which the Argentine establishment views the Milei threat, the candidate was recently charged by prosecutors with intentionally seeking to devalue the Argentine peso, in what many perceived as a politically motivated prosecution,” reports Fox News.

The cherry on top of this sundae of eerie similarities is that Massa is dealing with scandals involving his own corrupt staffers. It’s almost like somebody took the Trump vs. Biden situation and franchised it in South America. How weird is it to realize that leftists are the same no matter what country they’re in?

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