The Washington PostThe Washington Post

In Argentina, a new Trump rises

By Ishaan Tharoor

16 Aug 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei, a self-styled "anarcho-capitalist," has drawn comparisons with Donald Trump due to his brash outsider status, celebrity background and far-right views. Milei's supporters wear "Make Argentina Great Again" hats and he has expressed admiration for Trump's stance on climate change and gun ownership.

The comparisons write themselves. A brash outsider bursts onto the national scene, vowing to dismantle the failed establishment and to kick the ruling "caste" out on "their asses." His relatively short political career is powered by his popularity (and notoriety) as a television act, a celebrity secured through outlandish showmanship, tawdry innuendo and the curious coiffure that's settled on his head. His supporters see him as a powerful rebuke to years of sclerotic, hapless governance. His critics see, in his extreme rhetoric and views, a deadly threat to democracy.

And then there are the more overt links between Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei and former U.S. president Donald Trump. In a direct nod to the right-wing nationalists to the north, some of Milei's backers wear "Make Argentina Great Again" hats. Others fly the yellow Gadsden flag - that is, the banner of a rattlesnake with the slogan "Don't tread on me" popular among the far right in the United States. Milei himself admires Trump and apes his language about climate change being a "socialist lie" and calls for fewer restrictions on gun ownership. He explicitly places his project among the broader wave of the global far right, allying with regional counterparts in Brazil and Chile, as well as far-right Vox in Spain.

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