Javier Milei has achieved something that many people thought would never happen, that a libertarian could become president. It's even more unbelievable when we think about Argentina, a Peronist country. The country's society, which has been extremely regulated for decades, is strongly embedded with left-wing ideas.
As always, when a historical event takes place, various, unexpected factors come together and the unexpected happens. Milei has won the biggest victory in Argentina's democratic history, with a lead of almost 12 points over his opponent, the ruling party's Sergio Massa. He did this all despite the fact that he only got into politics a few years ago.
An indomitable character
The first factor that must be taken into consideration to explain the victory of a radical libertarian, especially since Milei always talks about "blowing up the central bank," is his character. Those who compare him with former President Donald Trump are not wrong. Milei is the kind of person who truly believes that nothing is impossible. He can take all the attacks and persecutions without bending.
Milei became nationally known because the media invited him on their programs to make fun of the crazy man who was out of control and said "extreme" things. He gave them an audience with his explosive character and his economics lessons which he used to lash out against socialists. Those journalists never imagined that Milei would be taken seriously and become president.
This indomitable character allowed the economist to freely speak about his libertarian ideas and with such exuberance that he was able to get through to hundreds by talking about inflation. He said that inflation is a monetary phenomenon and therefore we must introduce the dollar and end the central bank. He said that taxes are theft, and that politicians are thieves. These are just some of the issues that Milei emphasized so confidently. Millions of Argentines went from seeing them as extreme ideas to recognizing them as truths.
It is true that his character sometimes got him into trouble. Many criticized his lack of patience. However, it was his character that got millions of people to notice him. He made people passionate in the same way that they were attracted to Peronism. His character allowed him to go against the world, because before he was respected, many mocked him and thought he was crazy, but he managed to overcome this and show the firmness of his ideas. Without his character, none of this would have been possible.
Argentina can't take it anymore
Milei's victory is laced with surprising details that make his accomplishment even more memorable. One of these details is the support he received in the low-income sectors. Milei is not a triumph of the educated elites who understand capitalism. He is supported by people from all over the political spectrum who realize that Argentina can't take it anymore. These people can't make ends meet. For decades they have voted for politicians who promised to get them out of poverty with state aid, but things are getting worse.
According to a recent study, 87% of families in Argentina feel “anguish” because they do not have the means to buy enough food. Approximately 40% of the population is currently living in poverty. Annual inflation is at 143%. With these figures, and after decades of left-wing policies, many decided to try something different. The libertarian won in important towns and cities where the population is fed up with corruption. They're sick of waiting for Kirchnerism to throw them a bone. Sergio Massa was the Minister of Economy, making him one of the main culprits of the economic tragedy that the country is experiencing.
A divided center-right
The traditional center-right party, or the lukewarm right, was united in "Juntos por el Cambio," but part of the party decided to betray its candidate Patricia Bullrich, who came in third in the October elections. This ended up benefiting Milei, who not only made it to the second round, but also received the support of both Bullrich, wounded by the betrayal of her own party and former president Mauricio Macri. Milei was able to win almost all the votes that Bullrich received in the first election.
Not only was the support from Bullrich and former President Macri fundamental, but the entire structure of the PRO, Macri's party - which was part of the Juntos por el Cambio party- was of enormous importance in guaranteeing clean elections. The PRO will also have an important role in supporting Milei without any political structure. Congress will form a coalition with the libertarian team and surely other officials from Macri's administration will take positions in Milei's administration that has neither the experience nor the people necessary for everything that is coming.