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Election of the Day: Argentina, Part II

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Today, Argentinians will select their next President. I covered the first round election here. The good news, since that was posted, is that the center-left Peronist candidate Sergio Massa performed notably better than expected in Round I. The bad news is that the 3rd place candidate, the center-right Together for Change candidate Patricia Bullrich, made the unfortunate decision to endorse a man she sued for defamation earlier this year, Javier Milei. (It is noteworthy that the leaders of the other two parties that made up Bullrich’s Together for Change coalition, Elisa CarriĆ³ of the Civic Coalition and Geraldo Morales of the Radical party, did not follow Bullrich in this endorsement. CarriĆ³ has predicted that his policy proposals would lead to crimes against humanity; Morales said he was embarrassed by Bullrich’s decision.) Still, this endorsement appears to coincide with a significant shift in the polling. After the runoff but before the Bullrich’s endorsement, Massa lead in 4/5 polls, by 8 or more in each of them. Since the endorsement, Milei has held a narrow lead in a majority of polls, with an average lead of 1-2% and a 4% lead in the most recent poll. In following the coverage and chatter around this election, I can’t help but feel like Milei’s chances are being underrated. “Too close to call” seems like the right way to think about today’s election, although the hopeful can cling to the “Massa outperformed polls 4 weeks ago, maybe he can do so again” piece of straw should they wish to do so.

I pity sane Argentinian voters. Rarely does a political establishment richly deserve to be fired with extreme prejudice as much as those presiding over the Argentinian economy do. We’ll find out if enough of them can overcome this temptation and do the right thing. Should Massa prevail, expect Milei to follow the Trump/Bolsonaro playbook and claim fraud.

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