On Aug. 13, libertarian political outsider Javier Milei scored a shocking first-place finish in Argentina’s presidential primary.
A professional economist with an unusual background in both sports and rock music, Milei now rates as the favorite to win the Oct. 22 general election and become Argentina’s next president.
Milei’s colorful personal style and anti-establishment political views have drawn comparisons to those of former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Milei was born on Oct. 22, 1970, in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital. Should he win the Argentine presidency, therefore, and take control of the Casa Rosada (the “Pink House,” equivalent to the U.S. White House), he would do so on his 53rd birthday.
As a teenager, Milei played goalkeeper for the Buenos Aires-based Chacarita Juniors soccer club. “He threw himself everywhere; he didn’t care about anything,” ex-teammate Gabriel Bonomi said of a playing style that earned Milei the nickname “El Loco.”
Milei also once fronted a Rolling Stones cover band.
As he explained in a recent interview with Tucker Carlson, this has made the longtime professor and economist an “attractive television product.”
Ep. 24 Argentina’s next president could be Javier Milei. Who is he? We traveled to Buenos Aires to speak with him and find out. pic.twitter.com/4WwTZYoWHs
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) September 14, 2023
According to the Daily Mail, Milei has five English mastiffs named Conan, Milton, Murray, Robert and Lucas. He named four of the five dogs for classical economists Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard and Robert Lucas.
Rise to Fame
Milei achieved national prominence in the last decade thanks to appearances on multiple television programs, including the Argentine talk show “Animales Sueltos” (“Stray Animals”).
He joined Argentina’s Libertarian Party in 2019. Two years later, he founded the La Libertad Avanza (“Freedom Moves Forward”) coalition and made a successful run for the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.
Milei espouses classical liberalism, which Americans often call libertarianism to distinguish it from modern leftist liberalism. He considers himself a disciple of the great 18th-century Scottish philosopher and political economist Adam Smith.
“Socialists don’t much like the invisible hand; they prefer the claws of the state,” Milei told Carlson.
In “The Wealth of Nations” (1776), Smith used the image of an invisible hand directing the free market toward beneficial outcomes.
Because he believes in free markets, Milei counts himself an enemy of centralized state power.
“I have a clear agenda, which goes against everything that is socialism or communism,” he said, according to Fox News. “Everyone who is against socialism or communism is on the side I am on. This is my guiding principle.”
Thus, much like U.S. libertarians, Milei supports private gun ownership.
On the economic front, he hopes to put an end to Argentina’s central bank, a position that aligns him with U.S. conservative and libertarian icons such as Ron Paul and Thomas Sowell, who for years have argued against the Federal Reserve.
Milei also plans to peg the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar.
According to the horrified Associated Press, Milei has called climate change a “socialist lie.”
Above all, Milei intends to eliminate the influence of a corrupt socialist state on the Argentine economy, which is suffering under an annual inflation rate of over 100 percent.
Why They Call Him the “Argentine Trump”
Trump and Milei have not taken identical policy positions across the board, but the overall similarities are unmistakable.
Fox, for instance, noted that “Trumpian elements in the anti-establishment rage” have fueled Milei’s rise.
Milei himself appears to have embraced aspects of the Trump comparison that highlight his own pro-liberty stance.
The Fox story featured a February photograph of Milei posing with a Gadsden (“Don’t Tread on Me”) flag, an American Revolution-era symbol popular with Trump voters who view the U.S. establishment as tyrannical.
According to the Foundation for Economic Education, one Argentine voter summed up Milei’s Trump-like appeal.
“He doesn’t lie to us and he doesn’t take our money with taxes,” the voter said.
Indeed, that truth-telling quality has made both Trump and Milei appear as rare authentic characters in politics.
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