The new right seems to have a tendency that distinguishes it: extravagant “outsider” candidates, disruptive speeches against the left, and the fight against the political caste. This formula was effective for Trump and Bolsonaro, but can it also be effective for Javier Milei? The manual of the new right seems to be very clear: to echo the persistent dissatisfactions of a noisy and influential electoral base that is tired of that “caste” that we usually hear mentioned. Among its most successful cases, we find Trump and Bolsonaro, while Milei begins to follow in their footsteps in Argentina through characteristic disruptive speeches that distinguish this “new politics”.
Their words are similar and the fight against political elites unites them, being the “caste” the main enemy. To describe this, it is enough to analyze famous phrases of each of the figures above-mentioned: “We will make America great again” was the slogan popularized by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign; “Together we assume the mission of rescuing Brazil” declared the current president of Brazil when he was elected; and “We will rebuild Argentina” is a phrase that is already customary to Milei’s speeches.
Each of these phrases has a common characteristic: the candidates seek to fight the system that is sinking their respective countries. It is worth mentioning that in each of the cases, the governments they seek to dismiss are those in power, and this aspect highlights their rejection of leftist ideologies in Argentina and Brazil and of the Democratic Party in the United States.
Each of these political figures seeks with their speeches to position themselves as “outsiders” and “anti-system.” The real estate magnate Donald Trump claimed to be an enemy of the Washington establishment, the Brazilian president arrived with the excuse of “cleaning up” corruption in Brasilia, and Javier Milei, the brand-new presidential candidate for the Argentine elections of 2023, presents himself as an anti-“political caste” superhero.
The next aspect in common of the “new right” is found in the rise and coming to power of the candidates. Although Bolsonaro was already a congressman many years ago, the rise to power of Trump and Milei was surprising and mainly mediatic. Both candidates endured criticism at the beginning of their careers, in some cases calling them “crazy” and assuming the huge differences by which they would lose the elections. Nevertheless, Trump managed to reach the presidency in 2017 and everything seems to show he is using the same techniques to try to win the next election. For his part, Milei is already a national congressman and has generated a movement worth considering for the presidential elections of 2023.
Another similarity that we can observe between the candidates is the base of followers that each of them has. Each, in their own way, sought to entice young people from different economic classes who were distanced from politics and traditional candidates. For them, supporting these flamboyant new candidates is part of a cultural battle rather than a simple election. This added to the fact that bipartisanship generally does not leave room for an “outsider”. The candidate knew how to bring to light the number of people fed up with the irregularities of the system and found in them his workhorse.
It is essential to mention that all these politicians constantly emphasize their rejection of leftist policies, and in some cases, they even express themselves with hate speeches toward socialism or communism. Recently, Javier Milei highlighted that “my alignment with Trump and Bolsonaro is almost natural” and defined his space as grouping “all those who fight against socialism or communism”. In addition, it is customary to hear mockery or insults from these candidates towards socialism and many more towards communism since they are all standard-bearers of capitalism.
This new way of doing politics was successful for Trump and Bolsonaro, regardless of whether their governments were successful or not as they both managed to come to power. Now, time will tell if the same formula can work for Javier Milei, who has been growing daily because of the social and political unrest that Argentina is going through.
THE ARGENTINIAN CASE
The Argentinian case does not seem to have a light at the end of the tunnel, for years there have been two parties fighting for power, neither of them managing to settle in it. People consider that for some time now politics has no longer been at the service of the people, but it has been a space for seeking personal benefit. With this excuse, Milei seeks to attract votes under the slogan:
“The caste is afraid”.
Understanding by “caste” a “group that forms a special class and tends to remain separated from others by race, religion, etc.” according to the Royal Spanish Academy, Milei repeats the term in all his speeches. This “caste”, according to the brand-new Argentinean presidential candidate, does not understand what democracy really is, that is to govern by serving the people, but it rather seeks to serve them without listening to their needs. An example of this is the monthly draw of the deputy’s salary that Milei receives, arguing that this money belongs to society.
Now, it is interesting to analyze Argentina because it is a completely different case from the rest. A tremendous economic crisis, social unrest that increases with time, and a weariness towards the political “status quo” make Milei’s name stand out in newspapers. However, only time will tell if the Argentine people really find in Milei a serious candidate for the presidency. Although in the legislative elections the leader of “La Libertad Avanza” received many votes, enough to win a seat, in the presidential elections the vote is usually much more conservative, generally leaving no room for the “outsiders”.
Nonetheless, today Milei is a real threat to the strongest opposition party, “Juntos por el Cambio” since Milei´s voters usually come from this party. “Juntos por el Cambio” is the strongest opposition to the current government of Alberto Fernandez, who belongs to the “Frente de Todos”, aligned with former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The main figure of “Juntos por el Cambio” is the former president Mauricio Macri, who has already tried some alliances with Javier Milei in the last months. In this sense, there emerge 3 main axes, namely the current government in mandate “Frente de Todos”, the main opposition “Juntos por el Cambio”, and the growing figure of “La Libertad Avanza” led by Javier Milei.
There is still a little more than a year to go before the Argentine presidential elections and the panorama is currently unfinished. There will be a tug-of-war on the part of the opposition to reach a consensus and be able to compete jointly against the ruling party. This will be interesting since Javier Milei and his followers consider the current opposition as something very similar to the ruling party, grouping all of them as “socialists”.
- Is this formula effective to achieve the presidency of a country?
- Will Milei, an outsider, be able to get the necessary votes to break the status quo?
- Is Milei’s work enough or does he need an alliance with the opposition to come to power?
- “El camino del libertario” by Javier Milei
- “¿La rebeldía se volvió de derecha?” by Pablo Stefanoni
- “Las nuevas caras de la derecha” by Enzo Traverso
Iván Jaksić y Eduardo Posada Carbó (eds.), Liberalismo y poder. (2011)
“El camino del libertario” by Javier Milei
“¿La rebeldía se volvió de derecha?” by Pablo Stefanoni
“Las nuevas caras de la derecha” by Enzo Traverso
Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again. Donald Trump (2015)
Bolsonaro. Ariel Goldstein (2019)