In Argentina, the presidential elections are in full swing and so are the campaigns of the two candidates who advanced to the second round two weeks ago. That will happen in a week.
The current Minister of the Economy, Sergio Massa, surprisingly won the first round in October. The extravagant economist Javier Milei, who is often referred to as an extreme right-wing populist and is nicknamed by some as the “Argentine Trump”, finished second.
Fifty-three-year-old Milei is a former instructor of tantric sex, a lover of rock and an admirer of the American ex-president Donald Trump. He pays for supporters of rather controversial views, which he vehemently defends with gusto.
A surprising candidate
Milei was born on October 22, 1970 and has been a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina since 2021. He is seen as a representative of the far right or – even more specifically – as a representative of far right libertarianism.
These include, for example, support for gun ownership, opposition to the legalization of abortion, shutdown of the central bank, drastic reduction of public spending or dollarization of the economy, which he would like to solve more than one hundred percent inflation in the country. In order to ostentatiously demonstrate how radical change he intends to bring about, he sometimes appeared at his pre-election meetings with a chainsaw.
Singer Taylor Swift also kicked off her Latin American tour in Buenos Aires this week. Her concerts have recently enjoyed huge popularity and fans are willing to pay often exorbitant sums for admission. In Argentina, some fans camped outside the River Plate stadium months before the concert to get the best possible seats.
But what do these seemingly different figures have in common? Swift fans, who call themselves Swifties, are strongly opposed to Miley because they don’t like his social politics.
Toxic alpha male
Swifties are unanimous in their condemnation of his proposals to overturn legal abortion, hate speech against women or loosen gun laws. For them, his proposals are a “danger to democracy” and his denial of the crimes committed by the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976-1983 has also become a target of criticism.
“Milei is against: equal pay, legal abortion, equal marriage. Voting for Miley is like voting for Trump,” fan group Swifties for the Country wrote on social media last week.
On Thursday, fans put up homemade posters against Miley outside the stadium where Swift was performing. “Swiftie no vota Milei,” read some of them, followed by the hashtag “Milei is Trump.”
Although most of the pop star’s fans are recruited from younger generations, Mileia’s advancement to the second round of the presidential race was largely decided by the votes of young people.
A third of Argentina’s voters are under 29, and an October poll showed that nearly 27 percent of Mileia’s support came from 17- to 25-year-olds.
“Just like Trump, Miley puts on a very attractive show for social networks and the media. His language, politically incorrect propositions and furious style have secured him a central role in the public debate,” said Dr. Julio Montero, Professor of Political Science at the University of San Andrés.
“Although Argentine youth have long been passionate about politics, this is the first time that the electorate is so polarized in terms of gender,” says Dr. Montero. “Milei is the epitome of a toxic alpha male. This may make him more attractive to young men, but definitely unbearable to many women,” he said.
In a similar vein to the Swifties, Coincidentally, the Argentine Jewish Association also spoke out on Sunday, urging voters not to vote in next week’s presidential runoff for a candidate they say threatens the democratic system and basic constitutional rights. She did not name anyone, but according to the media it is quite clear who the call was aimed at.
“We cannot remain silent when our country is in such great danger if a leader with these fascist attitudes comes to power,” the Argentine Jewish Association also said.