Argentina not only has all the climates: it also knows how to stand out with sudden dramatic turns and unforeseen scenarios. Since Sunday, the ultra-liberal Javier Milei has entered like a rock star while taking strides to the Argentine presidency and surpassing the golden 54% that Cristina Kirchner herself had achieved in 2011 at the peak of popularity (Milei obtained 55.8%). With a political party that is barely two years old, La Llibertat Avança, the libertarian crushed Peronism, the historical party with the largest territorial apparatus in the country, which did not reach 45%.
Overflow and surprise are part of the Milei world. His verb incontinent made him famous: a showmanship that also seemed like a weakness. Milei used the word to attack all the consensuses of the Río 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 household of children or excessively insulting a journalist (a fact that earned him the declaration of persona non grata in the province of Salta). And in Salta, on Sunday, he won with 57.8%. None of the excesses seemed to harm him: on the contrary, they clothed him with a punk aura that strengthened his external quality to the palatine politesse of high politics. Because, in addition to the screams, Milei also exhibited an endearing, almost childlike side: she was able to talk about the punishments inflicted by her father on television as if they had happened yesterday. That live show, even if we saw him in a suit and tie, was fundamental to projecting himself as another indignant Argentine. Someone who lived through suffering, but rebelled against it, which enhanced the deed against the politicians and the union with the common people.
It is a mistake to see in Javier Milei the victory of the "ultra-right", a rise of the anti-democratic forces that challenge from the darkest undergrounds (even if ex-repressors like Tigre Acosta do not hide that they are fans of Milei). Milei swept through the poorest enclaves of the country, and also won with great advantage in the productive areas and the sophisticated capital. Peronism won only in the most backward fiefdoms, such as the provinces of Formosa and Santiago del Estero, and managed to prevail in the conurbation of Buenos Aires (the immemorial bastion), but by a narrow margin. The unimaginable had happened: Milei wrested from Peronism the traditional electoral base, the impoverished people.
It would be unfair to avoid the role that Sergio Massa had in Milei's victory. Candidate and Minister of Economy, Massa deployed the arts of the professional politician in power: he invested Neronian figures in the campaign (about 8 billion dollars) and forced even neighborhood football clubs to support him. Groups of actresses and intellectuals asked, in the name of democracy, that no one vote for Milei. But during the Massa administration, inflation climbed to 130%, the price of the dollar quadrupled and poverty reached about 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 cause so much fear: the fear was that everything would continue the same, as with Massa and Alberto.
With all the paraphernalia and public outbursts, Milei showed that he is a deep Machiavellian. First, it received funding for years from none other than Sergio Massa, who dreamed of a breakup of Junts pel Canvi, the opposition party with more experience and electoral volume. The problem is that ex-president Mauricio Macri dreamed of exactly the same thing. He wanted to get rid of the social democratic partners, who he blamed for the failure of his government; also helped finance Milei. When Milei dropped third to Patricia Bullrich, who could no longer compete in the vote, Macri quickly went into hiding and convinced Patricia to publicly support Milei. He was toasted by the prosecutors and the monster that Massa had helped to create was capitalized on by Macri. It would be the "cleft", the visceral rejection of the government, that would define the election.
Although "the crack" was fundamental to the victory, Milei's triumphant speech included an invitation to all those who want to "add to freedom". An innovative gesture after decades of cultural dominance of populism marked by friend/enemy logic. Away from the scene, the other person who celebrates is Cristina: seeing Massa so resoundingly defeated must have been the elixir of the most delicious revenge. Cristina keeps her base and prepares to lead the resistance, a role she loves, because it goes back to her youthful dreams of being a female version of Daniel Cohn-Bendit from the French May. On the other hand, Javier Milei's partner, the comedian Fátima Florez, is famous for her imitations of Cristina: if the original lingers in the shadows, she will be in charge of reviving it. To laugh or to scare.