Argentina not only has all the climates: it also knows how to stand out with sudden dramatic turns and unexpected scripts. Since Sunday, the ultra-liberal Javier Milei has entered the Argentine presidency like a rockstar, surpassing the golden 54% that Cristina Kirchner herself had achieved in 2011 at the peak of her popularity (Milei obtained 55.8%). With a political party that is barely two years old, La Libertad Avanza, the libertarian crushed Peronism, the historic party with the largest territorial apparatus in the country, which failed to reach 45%.
Overflow and surprise are part of the Milei world. She made him famous for his incontinent verba: a showman's skill that also seemed a form of weakness. Milei used words to attack all the consensuses of Rio de la Plata society: he could say that Francis I is the representative of the Evil One on Earth, praise Margaret Thatcher, compare the State to a pedophile in a kindergarten, or insult wildly. to a journalist (which earned him being declared persona non grata in the province of Salta). And in Salta, on Sunday, he won with 57.8%. None of his excesses seemed to harm him: on the contrary, they clothed him with a punk aura that strengthened his external quality to the palatial politesse of high politics. Because, in addition to the screams, Milei also exhibited an endearing, almost childish side: he was capable of talking on TV about the punishments his father inflicted on him as if they had happened yesterday. That raw spectacle, even when we saw him in a suit and tie, was essential to project himself as just another indignant Argentine. Someone who experienced suffering but rebelled against it, which strengthened his feat against the politicians and his union with the common people.
It is a mistake to see in Javier Milei the victory of the “ultra-right”, an uprising of the anti-democratic forces that crawl through the darkest underground (although former repressors like “Tigre” Acosta do not hide that they are fans of Milei). Milei swept the poorest enclaves of the country, and also won with great advantage in the productive areas and the sophisticated capital. Peronism only won in its most backward fiefdoms, such as the provinces of Formosa and Santiago del Estero, and in the Buenos Aires suburbs (its immemorial bastion) it managed to prevail, but by a short margin. The unimaginable had happened: Milei took away from Peronism its traditional electoral base, the impoverished people.
It would be unfair to ignore the role that Sergio Massa played in Milei's victory. Candidate and Minister of Economy, Massa displayed the arts of the professional politician in power: he invested Neronian figures in his campaign (about 8 billion dollars) and forced even the neighborhood soccer clubs to join him. Groups of actresses and intellectuals asked, in the name of democracy, that no one vote for Milei. But during the Massa administration inflation rose to 130%, the price of the dollar quadrupled and poverty reached some four million Argentines. No matter how much fear Milei generated, it was an abstract horror compared to the terrifying reality of the Kirchnerist government. Milei did not provoke so much fear: the fear was that everything would remain the same, as with Massa and Alberto.
With all his paraphernalia and public outbursts, Milei proved to be a profound Machiavellian. First, he received financing for years from none other than Sergio Massa, who dreamed of a breakup of Together for Change, the opposition party with the most experience and electoral volume. The problem is that former president Mauricio Macri dreamed of exactly the same thing. He wanted to get rid of his social democratic partners, whom he blamed for the failure of his government; He also help finance Milei. When Milei left Patricia Bullrich third, who could no longer compete in the runoff, Macri quickly hunkered down and convinced Patricia to publicly support Milei. She was given him by the prosecutors and the monster that he had helped create Massa ended up being capitalized by Macri. It would be the “crack”, the visceral rejection of the government, that would define the election.
Although “the crack” was fundamental to his victory, Milei's triumphant speech included an invitation to all those who want to “join freedom.” An innovative gesture after decades of cultural dominance of populism marked by friend/enemy logic. Away from the scene, the other one celebrating is Cristina: seeing Massa defeated so resoundingly must have been the elixir of the most delicious revenge. Cristina retains her base and prepares to lead the resistance, a role she loves because it takes her back to her youthful dreams of being a female version of Daniel Cohn-Bendit of the French Mayo. On the other hand, Javier Milei's partner, the comedian Fátima Florez, is famous for Cristina's imitations of her: if the original lingers in the shadows, she will be in charge of reviving it. For laughter or horror.