"You can celebrate both Trump and Milei—it’s not hard," writes Micah Meadowcroft in The American Conservative.
Celebrations by the MAGA right of Javier Milei’s victory in the Argentine presidential election have been met with accusations of incoherence. This says as much about the critics as it does global right-wing populism.
The differences between Donald Trump’s economic nationalism and Milei’s self-described anarcho-capitalism, even tempered by the guaranteed compromises of party government, are obvious. But they share more than “owning the libs.” Or, rather, such liberal ownership is more than an emotionally reactionary opportunity for schadenfreude, but a coherent, if often inarticulate, program of political restoration—that is, restoring the political to politics.
Milei, like Trump, puts persons, and personality, above process and programs.
The temptation for the conservative commentariat, Republican electioneers, and think-tank theorists, on the other hand, has been an effort to make a system out of MAGA and to define the populist moment by a set of principles. The right policy stack, the susceptible have argued since 2016, can recapture Trump’s electoral magic for fill-in-the-blank candidate because the voting coalition can be reduced to an inchoate social democratic working class, ready to cleave to whichever party acknowledges its existence in appropriate class-based analytical terms.
But this ideological version of the so-called New Right makes the same mistake it rightly calls “Zombie Reaganism” in Conservatism, Inc.: turning one man’s prudential responses to the needs of a particular period of national life into a propositional creed for all time, and even all places. A former Democrat, Ronald Reagan knew politics and politicians must adapt to new conditions—so does Donald Trump. Voters elected the men, and their instincts, not a series of white papers. Argentina’s voters have elected Javier Milei…