Argentinians are heading to the polls for what could be their most consequential election ever, pitting socialist Sergio Massa against libertarian Javier Milei. After years of failed socialist policies, Argentina’s only hope is Javier Milei. Mary Anastasia O’Grady explains in The Wall Street Journal:
If Mr. Massa wins, Argentines have good reason to fear that the economy won’t improve. Crony capitalism, punishing export taxes, inflationary fiscal policy and capital controls are second nature to him. But the risk to the country’s frail democratic institutions with a Massa presidency may be more worrisome. Asking his political tribe to reject police-state tactics like the surveillance of adversaries is asking a tiger to lose his stripes. The same goes for interference with the courts and a foreign policy aimed at placating the region’s dictators.
Mr. Milei presents the opposite risk. The progressive claim that he’s a threat to democracy is fearmongering, for two reasons. First, because his ideology is all about decreasing state power and increasing the freedom of Argentines to run their own lives and to think independently. Second, because he is almost certain to be a weak president.
Mr. Milei is an advocate for the rights of the individual. His social views are consistent with his libertarianism. He’s antiabortion because the unborn also have civil liberties; families should have choice in education. He opposes identity politics. These ideas stir panic among progressives, as does his skepticism about statist solutions to climate change.
None of this will matter if he can’t stabilize an economy near implosion. He’s telling the press that Ms. Bullrich’s backing has come without conditions. But in December, when the new Congress is sworn in, his Liberty Advances party will have six seats of 72 in the Senate and 38 of 257 in the House. He’s passionate about his vision for the country, but if he’s to govern effectively he will have to work with moderates who won’t always agree with him.
The next government will inherit enormous challenges, and it’s tempting to think Mr. Massa should be made to eat his own cooking. Even a President Milei may not be able to avoid a mega-crisis. But if Argentines are unwilling to take a chance on the outsider, they’re signing up for more of the same.
Read more here.
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