Days after Argentine Deputy Javier Milei announced he planned to run for President in 2023, The Washington Post published Monday a report saying he might even win the race.
The newspaper from the US capital carried a profile of Milei under the headline He raffles off his salary. He could be Argentina's next president.
Milei has promised that, if elected, he would ”end the [political] ruling class, reduce the government and close the Central Bank (...). He has already kept his word when he ran for Congress last year and now every month he raffles off his pay as a lawmaker.
WaPo writer David Feliba highlighted that when Milei became a Deputy, more than 2.4 million people registered to win the Congressman's allowance and that someone whose ideas were outside mainstream local politics was the leading candidate in the first polls for next year's presidential elections, with support from voters of all social backgrounds.
In a country deeply polarized between the leftist Peronism of President Alberto Fernandez and the center-right coalition of his predecessor Mauricio Macri, Milei's emergence would be the consequence of a new opening of the besieged Argentines to a third way.
Feliba quoted researcher Lucas Romero, director of the consulting firm Synopsis, who explained that Milei articulates people's anger better than any other candidate and his support arises from his discourse against the traditional political leadership and the poor economic results of the last decade.
The Post article stresses that perhaps Milei is the most radical of a group of libertarians who made gains in the 2021 midterm elections and that, in a country long ruled by variants of Peronism, it was the first time in decades that the philosophy of small government attracted considerable support.
Milei has garnered support even among low-income Argentines, who have traditionally been the stronghold of Peronism. Milei's ideas are well received among the younger generations. The liberal economist lures crowds to public conferences and social media where influencers amplify his ideas, Romero explained.
The Washington Post also quoted a 24-year-old Argentine who voted for Macri in 2015 and for Alberto Fernández in 2019. For me, it's Milei or a one-way ticket” out of the country, he said.