As presidential elections approach this Sunday, the latest polls indicate that Cristina wins the election and that the second would be the incumbent governor of Santa Fe, Hermes Binner.
Both candidates are considered and/or claim to be center-left, progressives, liberals (according to the US use of the term), whatever.
This post is not about what exactly that means, but about what this fact reasserts: that there are no openly conservative parties in this election. And there hasn’t been for a time. So many right-wing voters were left without a clear option.
(Note: I guess some readers may say “hey, I think big government is bad, and that free markets should always be used to allocate resources and wealth, but I’m not a rightwinger because I’m not a conservative in social issues”. I learnt, thanks to Dan, that that is called a “libertarian”. But that practically doesn’t exist in Argentina, as most fiscal conservatives are socially conservatives as well, and viceversa)
Let me stress the word “openly”. Because if one analyzes what candidates say, in order to place them on the political spectrum, we could say that former caretaker president Eduardo Duhalde is that conservative candidate.
For instance, he advocates clearing piquetes by force if necessary, he favors some kind of amnesty for the military accused of HHRR violations, he’s anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion , and is a very religious person.
But he’s not entirely a fiscal conservative, and as a peronist has implemented social programs and has an interventionist approach to economy that would irk free-market, small government, pro-business supporters.
It is believed that BA Mayor Mauricio Macri is that guy. He is a businessman, he doesn’t get along at all with unions, he dennounces out-of-control immigration (of Paraguayans, Bolivians and Peruvians, not of US Americans and Europeans, don’t worry). According to the US diplomatic wires exposed by Wikileaks, he went to the US embassy in BA and said his political party PRO “is the first openly pro-business and pro-market party to exist in Argentina in 80 years”. The problem is that he dropped out of the presidential race because his campaign chief told him he had no chance of beating Cristina. So he chose to re-run as mayor, and he easily won the local elections back in July, and everybody expects him to figth for the presidency in 2015.
It strikes me as something distinctively opposed to the campaign in the US, in which GOP candidates compete for being the most conservative, anti-big government, while Obama attempts to canvass himself as a moderate, not a “leftist”.
Check out episode 7 for an explanation of why so few politicians identify themselves as right-winger, conservative.