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    La lección más importante de la victoria de Javier Milei

    La elección como presidente de Argentina de Javier Milei —un personaje peculiar, fanfarrón de cabello indomable, con cinco mastines clonados y una costumbre de comunión psíquica con la difunta mascota que les dio origen— ha suscitado un gran debate sobre la verdadera naturaleza del populismo de derecha en nuestra era de descontento general.En Milei hay muchas manifestaciones de una política trumpiana: la energía extravagante y poco convencional, la crítica a las élites corruptas, los ataques a la izquierda, el apoyo de los conservadores sociales y religiosos. Al mismo tiempo, en política económica es mucho más un libertario doctrinario que un mercantilista o populista al estilo Trump, es una versión más extrema de Barry Goldwater y Paul Ryan que un defensor del gasto público y los aranceles. Mientras que el movimiento al que derrotó, la formación peronista que gobernó Argentina durante la mayor parte del siglo XXI, es de hecho más nacionalista y populista en lo económico, pues llegó al poder tras la crisis financiera de 2001 que puso fin al experimento más notable de Argentina con la economía neoliberal.La divergencia entre Trump y Milei puede interpretarse de varias maneras. Una lectura es que el estilo del populismo de derecha es la esencia del asunto, que su sustancia política es negociable siempre que presente figuras que prometan el renacimiento nacional y encarnen algún tipo de rebelión bufonesca, por lo general masculina, contra las normas del progresismo cultural.Otra lectura es que, sí, la política es bastante negociable, pero en realidad hay profundas afinidades ideológicas entre el nacionalismo económico de derecha y lo que podría llamarse paleolibertarismo, a pesar de que no coinciden en cuestiones específicas. En términos estadounidenses, esto significa que el trumpismo lo anticiparon de diferentes maneras Ross Perot y Ron Paul; en términos globales, significa que cabe esperar que los partidos de la derecha populista se muevan constantemente entre tendencias de regulación y libertarias, dependiendo del contexto económico y de los vaivenes políticos.He aquí una tercera interpretación: mientras que el descontento popular debilitó el consenso neoliberal de las décadas de 1990 y 2000 en todo el mundo desarrollado, la era del populismo está creando alineamientos muy distintos en la periferia latinoamericana que en el núcleo euro-estadounidense.En Europa Occidental y Estados Unidos, ahora se ve de manera sistemática a un partido de centroizquierda de las clases profesionales enfrentarse a una coalición populista y de la clase trabajadora de derecha. Los partidos de centroizquierda se han vuelto más progresistas en política económica en comparación con la era de Bill Clinton y Tony Blair, pero se han movido mucho más a la izquierda en cuestiones culturales, sin perder su liderazgo influyente y meritocrático, su sabor neoliberal. Y, en su mayoría, han sido capaces de contener, derrotar o cooptar a aspirantes de izquierda más radicales: Joe Biden al superar a Bernie Sanders en las elecciones primarias demócratas de 2020, Keir Starmer al marginar al corbynismo en el Partido Laborista británico y Emmanuel Macron al forzar a los izquierdistas franceses a votar a su favor en la segunda vuelta contra Marine Le Pen con la estrategia del menor de los males.Por su parte, la derecha populista ha conseguido muchas veces moderar sus impulsos libertarios para apartar a los votantes de clase baja de la coalición progresista, dando lugar a una política de centroderecha que suele favorecer ciertos tipos de proteccionismo y redistribución. Eso podría significar una defensa trumpiana de los programas de prestaciones sociales, los tibios intentos de los conservadores de Boris Johnson de invertir en el desatendido norte de Inglaterra o el gasto en prestaciones familiares de Viktor Orbán en Hungría, así como la recién desbancada coalición populista en Polonia.Te puedes imaginar que el abismo entre estas dos coaliciones mantendrá a Occidente en un estado de crisis latente, en especial teniendo en cuenta la personalidad de Trump, tan propensa a las crisis. Pero también es posible imaginar un futuro en el que este orden se estabilice y normalice un poco y la gente deje de hablar de un terremoto cada vez que un populista asciende al poder o de que la democracia se salva cada vez que un partido del establishment gana unas elecciones.La situación es muy distinta en América Latina. Allí el consenso neoliberal siempre fue más endeble, el centro más frágil, y por ende la era de la rebelión populista ha creado una polarización más clara entre quien esté más a la izquierda y más a la derecha (con la izquierda culturalmente progresista, pero por lo general más expresamente socialista que Biden, Starmer o Macron y la derecha culturalmente tradicional, pero por lo general más libertaria que Trump, Orbán o Le Pen).La nueva alineación en Argentina, con su libertario revolucionario que supera a una izquierda populista-nacionalista, es un ejemplo de este patrón; la contienda entre Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva y Jair Bolsonaro en Brasil el año pasado fue otro. Pero los recientes vaivenes de la política chilena son de especial interés. A principios de la década de 2010, Chile parecía tener un entorno político más o menos estable, con un partido de centroizquierda que gobernaba a través de una Constitución favorable al mercado y una oposición de centroderecha que luchaba por distanciarse de la dictadura de Pinochet. Entonces, las protestas populares echaron por tierra este orden y crearon un giro abrupto hacia la izquierda, además de un intento de imponer una nueva Constitución de izquierda que, a su vez, provocó una reacción adversa, que dejó al país dividido entre un impopular gobierno de izquierda encabezado por un antiguo activista estudiantil y una oposición de derecha en ascenso temporal liderada por un apologista de Pinochet.En cada caso, en relación con las divisiones de Francia y Estados Unidos, se observa un centro más débil y una polarización más profunda entre extremos populistas rivales. Y ahora, si la cuestión para América Latina es qué tan estable será la propia democracia en condiciones tan polarizadas, la cuestión para Europa y Estados Unidos es si la situación argentina o chilena es un presagio de su propio futuro. Tal vez no de inmediato, pero sí después de una nueva ronda de rebeliones populistas, que podría aguardar más allá de alguna crisis o catástrofe o simplemente al otro lado del cambio demográfico.En tal futuro, figuras como Biden, Starmer y Macron ya no podrían gestionar coaliciones de gobierno y la iniciativa en la izquierda pasaría a partidos más radicales como Podemos en España o los Verdes en Alemania, a los progresistas al estilo de Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez en el Congreso de Estados Unidos, a cualquier tipo de política que surja del encuentro entre la izquierda europea y las crecientes poblaciones árabes y musulmanas del continente. Esto daría a la derecha populista la oportunidad de prometer estabilidad y reclamar el centro, pero también crearía incentivos para que la derecha se radicalice aún más, lo que produciría mayores oscilaciones ideológicas cada vez que perdiera una coalición en el poder.Esta es, en cierto modo, la lección más clara de la victoria aplastante de Milei: si no se puede alcanzar la estabilidad tras una ronda de convulsiones populistas, no hay límites inherentes a lo desenfrenado que puede llegar a ser el siguiente ciclo de rebelión.Ross Douthat es columnista de opinión del Times desde 2009. Es autor, más recientemente, de The Deep Places: A Memoir of Illness and Discovery. @DouthatNYT • Facebook More

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    Has Latin America Found Its Trump in Javier Milei?

    The election of Javier Milei, a wild-haired showboating weirdo with five cloned mastiffs and a habit of psychic communion with their departed pet of origin, as president of Argentina has inspired a lot of discussion about the true nature of right-wing populism in our age of general discontent.Milei has many of the signifiers of a Trumpian politics: the gonzo energy, the criticism of corrupt elites and the rants against the left, the support from social and religious conservatives. At the same time, on economic policy he is much more of a doctrinaire libertarian than a Trump-style mercantilist or populist, a more extreme version of Barry Goldwater and Paul Ryan rather than a defender of entitlement spending and tariffs. Whereas the party that he defeated, the Peronist formation that has governed Argentina for most of the 21st century, is actually more economically nationalist and populist, having ascended in the aftermath of the 2001 financial crisis that ended Argentina’s most notable experiment with neoliberal economics.You can interpret the Trump-Milei divergence in several ways. One reading is that the style of right-wing populism is the essence of the thing, that its policy substance is negotiable so long as it puts forward figures who promise national rebirth and embody some kind of clownish, usually masculine rebellion against the norms of cultural progressivism.Another reading is that, yes, the policy is somewhat negotiable but there are actually deep ideological affinities between right-wing economic nationalism and what might be called paleolibertarianism, despite their disagreement on specific issues. In American terms, this means that Trumpism was anticipated in different ways by Ross Perot and Ron Paul; in global terms, it means that we should expect the parties of the populist right to move back and forth between dirigiste and libertarian tendencies, depending on the economic context and political winds.Here is a third interpretation: While popular discontents have undermined the neoliberal consensus of the 1990s and 2000s all across the developed world, the age of populism is creating very different alignments in the Latin American periphery than in the Euro-American core.In Western Europe and the United States, you now consistently see a center-left party of the professional classes facing off against a populist and working-class coalition on the right. The center-left parties have become more progressive on economic policy relative to the era of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, but they have moved much more sharply left on cultural issues while retaining their mandarin and meritocratic leadership, their neoliberal flavor. And they have mostly been able to contain, defeat or co-opt more radical left-wing challengers — Joe Biden by overcoming Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primaries, Keir Starmer by marginalizing Corbynism in Britain’s Labour Party, Emmanuel Macron by forcing French leftists to cast a lesser-of-two-evils ballot in his favor in his runoffs against Marine Le Pen.The populist right, meanwhile, has often found success by moderating its libertarian impulses in order to woo downscale voters away from the progressive coalition, yielding a right-of-center politics that usually favors certain kinds of protectionism and redistribution. That could mean a Trumpian defense of entitlement programs, the halfhearted attempts by Boris Johnson’s Tories to invest in the neglected north of England or the spending on family benefits that you see from Viktor Orban in Hungary and the recently unseated populist coalition in Poland.You can imagine the gulf between these two coalitions keeping the West in a state of simmering near crisis — especially with Trump’s crisis-courting personality in the mix. But you can also imagine a future in which this order stabilizes and normalizes somewhat and people stop talking about an earthquake every time a populist wins power or democracy being saved every time an establishment party wins an election.The situation is quite different in Latin America. There the neoliberal consensus was always weaker, the center more fragile, and so the age of populist rebellion has created a clearer polarization between further left and further right — with the left culturally progressive but usually more avowedly socialist than Biden, Starmer or Macron and the right culturally traditional but usually more libertarian than Trump, Orban or Le Pen.The new alignment in Argentina, with its libertarian revolutionary overcoming a populist-nationalist left, is one example of this pattern; the contest between Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil last year was another. But the recent swings in Chilean politics are especially instructive. In the early 2010s Chile seemed to have a relatively stable political environment, with a center-left party governing through a market-friendly Constitution and a center-right opposition at pains to distance itself from the Pinochet dictatorship. Then popular rebellions cast this order down, creating a wild yaw leftward and an attempt to impose a new left-wing Constitution that yielded backlash in its turn — leaving the country divided between an unpopular left-wing government headed by a former student activist and a temporarily ascendant right-wing opposition led by a Pinochet apologist.In each case, relative to the divides of France and the United States, you see a weaker center and a deeper polarization between competing populist extremes. And if the question for Latin America now is how stable democracy itself will be under such polarized conditions, the question for Europe and America is whether the Argentine or Chilean situation is a harbinger of their own futures. Perhaps not immediately but after a further round of populist rebellions, which could await beyond some crisis or disaster or simply on the far side of demographic change.In such a future, figures like Biden and Starmer and Macron would no longer be able to manage governing coalitions, and the initiative on the left would pass to more radical parties like Podemos in Spain or the Greens in Germany, to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezan progressives in the U.S. Congress, to whatever kind of politics emerges from the encounter between the European left and the continent’s growing Arab and Muslim populations. This would give the populist right an opportunity to promise stability and claim the center — but it would also create incentives for the right to radicalize further, yielding bigger ideological swings every time an incumbent coalition lost.Which is, in a way, the clearest lesson of Milei’s thumping victory: If you can’t reach stability after one round of populist convulsion, there’s no inherent limit on how wild the next cycle of rebellion might get.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTOpinion) and Instagram. More

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    Javier Milei y sus similitudes con Donald Trump

    Se hizo famoso denigrando personas en la televisión. Lanza duros ataques contra sus críticos en línea. Porta un revoltoso corte de cabello que se ha convertido en meme. Y hoy es el líder de la extrema derecha de su país.Donald Trump, y su ascenso a la presidencia estadounidense en 2016, comparte algunas similitudes sorprendentes con el hombre detrás del momento que se desarrolla en la actualidad en Argentina, la nueva sensación política del país, Javier Milei.Milei, un economista libertario y comentarista televisivo, solía ser visto como un actor secundario en la contienda presidencial argentina, al que ni los medios de noticias ni sus rivales tomaban en serio. Pero actualmente, tras una campaña impetuosa y desde una postura de outsider basada en la promesa de que solo él puede solucionar los profundos problemas económicos del país, es el favorito para ganar los comicios este mismo domingo o pasar a una segunda vuelta el próximo mes.Milei, de 52 años, ya ha trastocado la política de su país de 46 millones de habitantes. Sus promesas de eliminar el banco central de Argentina y abandonar su moneda en favor del dolar estadounidense han dominado el debate nacional, y al mismo tiempo han ayudado a impulsar un mayor colapso en el valor del peso argentino.Sin embargo, ha sido su estilo político belicoso el que le ha ganado comparaciones con Trump, así como una preocupación generalizada en Argentina y la región sobre el daño que su gobierno podría infligir en la tercera economía más grande de América Latina.Milei ha atacado a la prensa y al papa; ha declarado que el cambio climático forma parte de la “agenda socialista”; calificó a China, el segundo socio comercial más importante de Argentina, de asesina; prometió la desregulación del mercado legal de armas; afirmó que es víctima de un fraude electoral; cuestionó las elecciones presidenciales más recientes en Estados Unidos y Brasil; y sugirió que los disturbios de extrema derecha que siguieron a esos procesos electorales habían sido complots de la izquierda.Milei rodeado de seguidores en Salta, Argentina. Su campaña impetuosa y desde una perspectiva de outsider lo ha convertido en uno de los favoritos para las elecciones del domingo.Sarah Pabst para The New York Times“Muy claramente es un mini Trump”, dijo Federico Finchelstein, un argentino que dirige el departamento de historia en la New School en Nueva York y estudia a la extrema derecha en todo el mundo.Milei, Trump y Jair Bolsonaro, expresidente de Brasil, son todos practicantes destacados de la corriente moderna de la política de extrema derecha, dijo Finchelstein, marcada por la vulgaridad, los ataques a las instituciones, el descrédito de los medios de comunicación, la desconfianza en la ciencia, el culto a la personalidad y el narcisismo.“Trump es un ícono de esta nueva forma de populismo extremo”, afirmó Finchelstein. “Y Milei quiere emularlo”.Milei ha aceptado con beneplácito las comparaciones con Trump, a quien ha llamado “uno de los mejores presidentes” en la historia de Estados Unidos. Ha utilizado gorras con el eslogan en inglés de “Make Argentina Great Again” (“Haz que Argentina sea grande de nuevo”) y, al igual que Trump, ha forjado su campaña en mayor parte en las redes sociales. Y en los dos meses previos a la votación del domingo, le concedió una entrevista a una personalidad televisiva estadounidense: el expresentador de Fox News, Tucker Carlson.El grupo de campaña de Milei rechazó repetidas solicitudes de entrevista con The New York Times.Partidarios de Milei en la sede de su partido en Salta. El uso de Milei de las redes sociales lo ha hecho especialmente popular entre los argentinos jóvenes.Sarah Pabst para The New York TimesCon dos maestrías en economía, Milei puede llegar a sonar como profesor en ocasiones, cuando opina sobre la política monetaria y una corriente del libertarismo que sigue llamada anarcocapitalismo.Ha llamado al Estado “una organización criminal” que “vive de una fuente coactiva de ingresos llamada impuestos”. Además, afirma que lo impulsa una misión de reducir el gobierno y eliminarlo de las vidas de las personas, comenzando con el banco central argentino.Sus ideales libertarios también lo han hecho menos conservador en algunos temas sociales. Ha dicho que mientras el Estado no tenga que pagar por ello, podría apoyar la legalización de las drogas, la inmigración abierta, el trabajo sexual, los derechos de las personas trans, el matrimonio igualitario y la venta de órganos.Sin embargo, ha calificado al aborto de “asesinato” y ha prometido someterlo a referendo en Argentina, donde ha sido legal desde 2020.Milei sorprendió a las encuestadoras en agosto cuando ganó las elecciones primarias de Argentina, con cerca del 30 por ciento de los votos. Desde entonces ha liderado en las encuestas, superando a sus dos principales rivales: Sergio Massa, político de centroizquierda y ministro de Economía del país; y Patricia Bullrich, exministra de Seguridad de derecha.Milei ha recibido una cobertura periodística casi general durante la campaña, tanto por sus propuestas económicas radicales como por su personalidad excéntrica. Es un autoproclamado profesor de sexo tántrico con cinco perros mastines clonados. Su novia es una imitadora profesional de una de sus archirrivales políticos. Su directora de campaña y principal asesora política es su hermana.Un dólar con la imagen de Donald Trump en la oficina de uno de los asesores de Milei. El candidato ha elogiado la presidencia de Trump.Sarah Pabst para The New York TimesAl igual que Trump, Milei habla sobre la importancia de la imagen, como cuando le dijo a Carlson que su pasado como portero de fútbol semiprofesional y cantante de una banda de versiones de The Rolling Stones conforman una “combinación atractiva en términos de producto televisivo”. Milei hace casi siempre la misma mirada con el ceño y los labios fruncidos en todas las selfies que se toma con los votantes, lo que también hace recordar a Trump.El estilo característico de Milei —una chaqueta de cuero, una melena indomable y patillas largas— está diseñado para evocar al personaje de los cómics Wolverine, según Lilia Lemoine, una artista de cosplay profesional quien también es la estilista de Milei y se está postulando para el Congreso en su fórmula. Esto, según Lemoine, es porque, al igual que Wolverine, “él es un antihéroe”.El resultado es una legión de seguidores que se asemeja a un culto. En un evento reciente en Salta, una ciudad en el noroeste montañoso de Argentina, Milei iba en la caja de una camioneta mientras miles de votantes se empujaban para verlo de cerca. Sus partidarios llevaban pelucas despeinadas, repartían billetes falsos de 100 dólares con su cara y exhibían arte de sus perros, cuatro de los cuales llevan nombres de economistas conservadores.“Sí, todos lo califican por loco, por todo, pero qué mejor que un loco para que saque adelante el país”, dijo María Luisa Mamani, de 57 años, dueña de una carnicería. “Porque los que estuvieron cuerdos no hicieron nada”.Los argentinos han sobrellevado una de las peores crisis financieras del país.Sarah Pabst para The New York TimesMilei tuvo una aparición breve pero no habló. En realidad, el evento fue en gran medida un escenario para generar contenido para redes sociales creado por influentes en edad universitaria a los que no se les paga y que viajan con Milei y lo graban.Ellos lo han ayudado a construir una enorme presencia en línea así como una intensa base de simpatizantes jóvenes. (La edad legal para votar en Argentina es de 16 años).Luján López Villa, un estudiante de último año de bachillerato de 20 años, proveniente de a pequeña localidad de Chicoana, dijo que Milei tenía un apoyo casi unánime entre sus compañeros de clase, porque era el candidato “cool”, a pesar de las advertencias de sus profesores de que sus planes para dolarizar la economía eran peligrosos.“Nos quieren cambiar el pensamiento para no votarlo”, dijo. “Igual lo seguimos”.No sorprende que los argentinos estén ansiosos por un cambio. Décadas de mala gestión económica, gran parte de ella en manos del movimiento peronista en el poder, del que Massa es parte, han sumido a la Argentina en un agujero financiero.En abril de 2020, al inicio de la pandemia, con un dólar se compraban unos 80 pesos; un día de la semana pasada, ese mismo dólar podía comprar más de 1000 pesos. Esas cifras están basadas en un tipo de cambio no oficial que refleja mejor la visión del mercado sobre el peso, parte de un sistema bizantino de controles cambiarios que el gobierno utiliza para tratar de mantener los dólares estadounidenses en el país.Seguidores de Milei en Salta. Quiere reducir el gobierno, empezando por eliminar el banco central de Argentina.Sarah Pabst para The New York TimesMilei quiere eliminar esas regulaciones cuando sea presidente, en parte haciendo una transición al dólar.Tanto Milei como varios economistas han dicho que dolarizar la economía muy probablemente requiera de decenas de miles de millones de dólares, pero no se sabe con certeza dónde podría Argentina obtener una inversión de esa escala. El país ya tiene problemas para pagar una deuda de 44.000 millones de dólares al Fondo Monetario Internacional.Milei tampoco tendría mucho apoyo en el Congreso para la dolarización, aunque ha afirmado que tiene pensado someter el tema a un referendo nacional.Emmanuel Alvarez Agis, exviceministro de Economía de Argentina durante un gobierno de izquierda, afirmó que si Milei lograra la dolarización, resolvería en gran medida la inflación, pero produciría una serie de otros problemas, incluida la disminución de los salarios reales, una mayor tasa de desempleo y menor flexibilidad para suavizar los efectos de las crisis económicas.Milei también ha expresado su compromiso con implementar cambios a favor del mercado y con una presencia menor del gobierno, y ha prometido: reducir los impuestos; eliminar regulaciones; privatizar las industrias estatales; cambiar la educación pública a un sistema basado en vouchers y la atención de salud pública a un sistema basado en seguros; reducir el número de ministerios federales de 18 a ocho; y recortar el gasto federal en un 15 por ciento del producto interno bruto de Argentina.Estos profundos recortes del gasto requerirían reducciones significativas en las pensiones, la educación y la seguridad pública, dijo Alvarez Agis. “No creo que estén discutiendo los números de manera seria”, dijo.Carteles de campaña en Salta para otro de los candidatos principales en la elección del domingo, Sergio Massa, el ministro de Economía de centroizquierda.Sarah Pabst para The New York TimesTras meses de campañas de los candidatos, este domingo será la prueba que determinará si los votantes están dispuestos a darle una oportunidad a Milei. Podría ganar las elecciones de forma directa con el 45 por ciento de los votos, o con el 40 por ciento si tiene un margen de diferencia de al menos 10 puntos porcentuales. Si ningún candidato obtiene algunas de esas condiciones, la contienda irá a una segunda vuelta el 19 de noviembre, entre los dos candidatos con más votos.Aunque ganó las elecciones primarias, Milei siguió afirmando que hubo fraude electoral y que sus rivales se robaron boletas de su partido de los establecimientos de votación, evitando que los ciudadanos votaran por él. Milei también afirmó que se encontraron boletas de su partido escondidas en una escuela. Su partido no proporcionó ninguna prueba.Milei dijo que su partido había puesto la denuncia ante las autoridades electorales, pero los funcionarios electorales la cuestionaron.“No hubo denuncia ni impugnación, ni que ocurriera robo de boletas de modo sistemático”, declaró la Cámara Nacional Electoral de Argentina a través de un comunicado. “Nos preocupa que se hagan declaraciones así sin acompañarlas con presentaciones judiciales para investigar”.El equipo de campaña de Milei dijo que había reclutado a 100.000 voluntarios para monitorear las mesas el día de las elecciones. Pero en una entrevista televisiva el jueves, Milei afirmó que todavía le preocupaba el robo de votos.Milei afirmó que el presunto fraude en las primarias le había costado al menos varios puntos porcentuales de apoyo. “Hay unos que dicen que son dos puntos y medio, otros dicen que son tres. Y otros que dicen cinco”, dijo. “Sea al número que sea, puede ser determinante”.Natalie Alcoba More

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    Javier Milei, a ‘Mini-Trump,’ Could Be Argentina’s Next President

    He made his name disparaging people on television. He levels harsh attacks against critics online. He sports an unruly hairdo that has become a meme. And he is now the leader of his country’s far right.Donald J. Trump, and his rise to the American presidency in 2016, shares some striking similarities with the man behind the moment unfolding in Argentina, the nation’s new political sensation, Javier Milei.Mr. Milei, a libertarian economist and television pundit, was once seen as a sideshow in Argentina’s presidential race, not taken seriously by the news media or his opponents. Now — after a brash, outsider campaign based on a promise that he alone can fix the nation’s deep economic woes — he is the favorite to win the election outright on Sunday or head to a runoff next month.Mr. Milei, 52, has already upended the politics of this nation of 46 million. His pledges to eliminate Argentina’s central bank and ditch its currency for the U.S. dollar have dominated the national conversation, while also helping to fuel a further collapse in the value of the Argentine peso.But it has been his bellicose political style that has attracted comparisons with Mr. Trump, as well as widespread concern in Argentina and beyond about the damage his government could inflict on Latin America’s third-largest economy.Mr. Milei has attacked the press and the pope; declared climate change part of “the socialist agenda”; called China, Argentina’s second-largest trade partner, an “assassin”; pledged looser controls on guns; claimed he is the victim of voter fraud; questioned the most recent presidential elections in the United States and Brazil; and suggested that the far-right riots that followed those votes were leftist plots.Mr. Milei surrounded by supporters in Salta, Argentina. His brash, outsider campaign has made him a favorite in Sunday’s election. Sarah Pabst for The New York Times“He is quite clearly a mini-Trump,” said Federico Finchelstein, an Argentine who chairs the history department at the New School in New York and studies the far right around the world.Mr. Milei, Mr. Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s former president, are all leading practitioners of the modern strain of far-right politics, Mr. Finchelstein said, marked by vulgarity, attacks on institutions, discrediting of the news media, distrust of science, a cult of personality and narcissism.“Trump is an icon of this new form of extreme populism,” Mr. Finchelstein said. “And Milei wants to emulate him.”Mr. Milei has embraced comparisons to Mr. Trump, whom he has called “one of the best presidents in the history of the United States.” He has worn “Make Argentina Great Again” hats and, much like Mr. Trump, waged his campaign largely on social media. And in the two months before Sunday’s vote, he granted an interview to one American broadcast personality: the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.Mr. Milei’s campaign declined repeated requests for an interview with The New York Times.Supporters of Mr. Milei in the headquarters of his party in Salta. Mr. Milei’s use of social media has made him especially popular among younger Argentines.Sarah Pabst for The New York TimesWith two master’s degrees in economics, Mr. Milei can sound professorial at times, opining on monetary policy and a strain of libertarianism he follows called anarcho-capitalism.He has called the state “a criminal organization” that collects taxes “at gunpoint.” And he says he is driven by a mission to shrink government and remove it from people’s lives, starting with Argentina’s central bank.His libertarian ideals have also made him less conservative on some social issues. He has said that as long as the state doesn’t have to pay for it, he could support drug legalization, open immigration, sex work, transgender rights, same-sex marriage and selling organs.Abortion, however, he calls “murder” and promises to put it to a referendum in Argentina, where it has been legal since 2020.Mr. Milei surprised pollsters in August when he won Argentina’s open primaries with about 30 percent of the vote. He has since led his two main challengers in the polls: Sergio Massa, Argentina’s center-left economy minister; and Patricia Bullrich, a right-wing former security minister.Mr. Milei has received nearly blanket news coverage during the campaign, both for his radical economic proposals and his eccentric personality. He is a self-proclaimed tantric-sex teacher with five cloned mastiff dogs. His girlfriend is a professional impersonator of one of his political archrivals. And his campaign manager and chief political adviser is his sister.A dollar note with Donald J. Trump’s image in the office of one of Mr. Milei’s advisers. The candidate has praised Mr. Trump’s tenure as president in the United States. Sarah Pabst for The New York TimesLike Mr. Trump, he speaks about the importance of image, telling Mr. Carlson that his past as a semipro soccer goalie and a singer in a Rolling Stones cover band “make for an attractive television product.” Mr. Milei makes nearly the same furrowed-brow, pursed-lip look for every selfie with voters, also calling to mind Mr. Trump.Mr. Milei’s signature look — a leather jacket, an untamable mop of hair and long sideburns — is designed to conjure the comic-book character Wolverine, according to Lilia Lemoine, a professional cosplay performer who is Mr. Milei’s stylist and is running for Congress on his ticket. Because, like Wolverine, she said, “he is an antihero.”The result is a cultlike following. At a recent event in Salta, a city in Argentina’s mountainous northwest, Mr. Milei rode in a truck bed as thousands of voters pushed in for a closer look. Supporters wore messy wigs, passed out fake $100 bills with his face and displayed art of his dogs, four of which are named for conservative economists.“Yes, everyone describes him as crazy, for everything, but who better than a crazy person to move the country forward?” said María Luisa Mamani, 57, a butcher-shop owner. “Because the sane ones didn’t do anything.”Argentines have weathered one of the country’s worst financial crises.Sarah Pabst for The New York TimesMr. Milei appeared briefly but did not speak. Instead, the event was largely a stage for social-media content created by unpaid college-age influencers who travel with Mr. Milei and film him.They have helped him build an enormous online presence and intense youth following. (The legal voting age in Argentina is 16.) Luján López Villa, 20, a high school senior in the small town of Chicoana, said Mr. Milei had near-unanimous support among her classmates, largely because he was the “cool” candidate, despite warnings from teachers that his plans to dollarize the economy are dangerous.“They want to change our minds,” she said. “We’re going to keep following him.”It is no surprise that Argentines are eager for change. Decades of economic mismanagement, much of it in the hands of Mr. Massa’s incumbent Peronist party, have plunged Argentina into a big financial hole.In April 2020, at the start of the pandemic, $1 bought about 80 pesos; one day last week, $1 bought more than 1,000 pesos. Those figures are under an unofficial exchange rate that best reflects the market’s view of the peso, part of a byzantine system of currency controls the government uses to try to keep U.S. dollars in the country.Supporters of Mr. Milei in Salta. He wants to shrink government, starting with getting rid of Argentina’s central bank.Sarah Pabst for The New York TimesMr. Milei wants to discard those rules as president, partly by switching to dollars.Both Mr. Milei and economists have said that dollarizing the economy will most likely require tens of billions of dollars, but it is not clear where Argentina could get such an investment. The country is struggling to pay a $44 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund. Mr. Milei would also not have much congressional support for dollarization, though he has said that he would put the issue to a national referendum.Emmanuel Alvarez Agis, Argentina’s former deputy economy minister under a leftist administration, said that if Mr. Milei could dollarize, it would mostly solve inflation — but produce a host of other problems, including a decrease in real wages, higher unemployment and less flexibility to soften the effects of economic downturns.Mr. Milei has also promised a pro-market, small-government overhaul, including pledges to: lower taxes; slash regulations; privatize state industries; shift public education to a voucher-based system and public health care to insurance based; reduce the number of federal ministries to eight from 18; and cut federal spending by 15 percent of Argentina’s gross domestic product.Such deep spending cuts would require significant reductions to pensions, education and public safety, Mr. Alvarez Agis said. “I don’t think that they are discussing numbers in a serious way,” he said.Campaign signs in Salta for another top candidate in Sunday’s election, Sergio Massa, Argentina’s center-left economy minister.Sarah Pabst for The New York TimesAfter months of campaigning by the candidates, Sunday will test whether voters are ready to take a chance on Mr. Milei. He could win the election outright with 45 percent of the vote, or 40 percent with a margin of at least 10 percentage points. If no candidate reaches any of those thresholds, the race will go to a runoff on Nov. 19 between the top two finishers.Even though Mr. Milei won the primary, he still claimed fraud, saying rivals stole his parties’ ballots from polling stations, preventing citizens from voting for him. Mr. Milei also said his party’s ballots were found in the trash at a school. His party did not provide any evidence.Mr. Milei said his party had complained to election officials, but election officials disputed that.“There was no complaint or challenge, nor was there any systematic ballot theft,” Argentina’s electoral court said in a statement. “We are concerned that such statements are made without accompanying legal filings to investigate.”Mr. Milei’s campaign said it had recruited 100,000 volunteers to monitor polling stations on Election Day. But in a television interview on Thursday, Mr. Milei said he was still worried about stolen votes.He claimed that the alleged fraud in the primaries had cost him at least several percentage points of support. “Some say two and a half points, others say three, and others say five,” he said. “Whatever the number is, it may be decisive.”Natalie Alcoba More

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    Trump Is Nothing Without Republican Accomplices

    During the first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential primary campaign last month, Donald Trump’s rivals were asked to raise their hands if they would support his candidacy, even if he were “convicted in a court of law.” Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election wasn’t just a potential criminal offense. It also violated the cardinal rule of democracy: Politicians must accept the results of elections, win or lose.But that seemed to matter little on the debate stage. Vivek Ramaswamy’s hand shot up first, and all the other leading candidates followed suit — some eagerly, some more hesitantly and one after casting furtive glances to his right and his left.Behavior like this might seem relatively harmless — a small act of political cowardice aimed at avoiding the wrath of the base. But such banal acquiescence is very dangerous. Individual autocrats, even popular demagogues, are never enough to wreck a democracy. Democracy’s assassins always have accomplices among mainstream politicians in the halls of power. The greatest threat to our democracy comes not from demagogues like Mr. Trump or even from extremist followers like those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, but rather from the ordinary politicians, many of them inside the Capitol that day, who protect and enable him.The problem facing Republican leaders today — the emergence of a popular authoritarian threat in their own ideological camp — is hardly new. It has confronted political leaders across the world for generations. In Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, mainstream center-left and center-right parties had to navigate a political world in which antidemocratic extremists on the communist left and the fascist right enjoyed mass appeal. And in much of South America in the polarized 1960s and 1970s, mainstream parties found that many of their members sympathized with either leftist guerrillas seeking armed revolution or rightist paramilitary groups pushing for military rule.The Spanish political scientist Juan Linz wrote that when mainstream politicians face this sort of predicament, they can proceed in one of two ways.On the one hand, politicians may act as loyal democrats, prioritizing democracy over their short-term ambitions. Loyal democrats publicly condemn authoritarian behavior and work to hold its perpetrators accountable, even when they are ideological allies. Loyal democrats expel antidemocratic extremists from their ranks, refuse to endorse their candidacies, eschew all collaboration with them, and when necessary, join forces with ideological rivals to isolate and defeat them. And they do this even when extremists are popular among the party base. The result, history tells us, is a political firewall that can help a democracy survive periods of intense polarization and crisis.On the other hand, too often, politicians become what Mr. Linz called semi-loyal democrats. At first glance, semi-loyalists look like loyal democrats. They are respectable political insiders and part of the establishment. They dress in suits rather than military camouflage, profess a commitment to democracy and ostensibly play by its rules. We see them in Congress and in governor’s mansions — and on the debate stage. So when democracies die, semi-loyalists’ fingerprints may not be found on the murder weapon.But when we look closely at the histories of democratic breakdowns, from Europe in the interwar period to Argentina, Brazil and Chile in the 1960s and 1970s to Venezuela in the early 2000s, we see a clear pattern: Semi-loyal politicians play a pivotal role in enabling authoritarians.Rather than severing ties to antidemocratic extremists, semi-loyalists tolerate and accommodate them. Rather than condemn and seek accountability for antidemocratic acts committed by ideological allies, semi-loyalists turn a blind eye, denying, downplaying and even justifying those acts — often via what is today called whataboutism. Or they simply remain silent. And when they are faced with a choice between joining forces with partisan rivals to defend democracy or preserving their relationship with antidemocratic allies, semi-loyalists opt for the latter.It is semi-loyalists’ very respectability that makes them so dangerous. As members of the establishment, semi-loyalists can use their positions of authority to normalize antidemocratic extremists, protect them against efforts to hold them legally accountable and empower them by opening doors to the mainstream media, campaign donors and other resources. It is this subtle enabling of extremist forces that can fatally weaken democracies.Consider the example of France. On Feb. 6, 1934, in the center of Paris, thousands of disaffected and angry men — veterans and members of right-wing militia groups — gathered near the national Parliament as its members were inside preparing to vote for a new government. They threw chairs, metal grates and rocks and used poles with razor blades on one end to try breach the doors of Parliament. Members of Parliament, frightened for their lives, had to sneak out of the building. Seventeen people were killed, and thousands were injured. Although the rioters failed to seize the Parliament building, they achieved one of their objectives: The centrist prime minister resigned the next day and was replaced by a right-leaning prime minister.Although French democracy survived the Feb. 6 attack on Parliament, the response of some prominent politicians weakened its defenses. Many centrist and center-left politicians responded as loyal democrats, publicly and unequivocally condemning the violence. But many conservative politicians did not. Key members of France’s main conservative party, the Republican Federation, many of whom were inside the Parliament building that day, sympathized publicly with the rioters. Some praised the insurrectionists as heroes and patriots. Others dismissed the importance of the attack, denying that there had been an organized plot to overthrow the government.When a parliamentary commission was established to investigate the events of Feb. 6, Republican Federation leaders sabotaged the investigation at each step, blocking even modest efforts to hold the rioters to account. Protected from prosecution, many of the insurrection’s organizers were able to continue their political careers. Some of the rioters went on to form the Victims of Feb. 6, a fraternity-like organization that later served as a recruitment channel for the Nazi-sympathizing Vichy government established in the wake of the 1940 German invasion.The failure to hold the Feb. 6 insurrectionists to account also helped legitimize their ideas. Mainstream French conservatives began to embrace the view — once confined to extremist circles — that their democracy was hopelessly corrupt, dysfunctional and infiltrated by Communists and Jews. Historically, French conservatives had been nationalist and staunchly anti-German. But by 1936, many of them so despised the Socialist prime minister, Léon Blum, that they embraced the slogan “Better Hitler than Blum.” Four years later, they acquiesced to Nazi rule.The semi-loyalty of leading conservative politicians fatally weakened the immune system of French democracy. The Nazis, of course, finished it off.A half-century later, Spanish politicians responded very differently to a violent assault on Parliament. After four decades of dictatorship, Spain’s democracy was finally restored in the late 1970s, but its early years were marked by economic crisis and separatist terrorism. And on Feb. 23, 1981, as the Parliament was electing a new prime minister, 200 civil guardsmen entered the building and seized control at gunpoint, holding the 350 members of Parliament hostage. The coup leaders hoped to install a conservative general — a kind of Spanish Charles de Gaulle — as prime minister.The coup attempt failed, thanks to the quick and decisive intervention of the king, Juan Carlos I. Nearly as important, though, was the reaction of Spanish politicians. Leaders across the ideological spectrum — from communists to conservatives who had long embraced the Franco dictatorship — forcefully denounced the coup. Four days later, more than a million people marched in the streets of Madrid to defend democracy. At the head of the rally, Communist, Socialist, centrist and conservative franquista politicians marched side by side, setting aside their partisan rivalries to jointly defend democracy. The coup leaders were arrested, tried and sentenced to long prison terms. Coups became virtually unthinkable in Spain, and democracy took root.That is how democracy is defended. Loyal democrats join forces to condemn attacks on democracy, isolate those responsible for such attacks and hold them accountable.Unfortunately, today’s Republican Party more closely resembles the French right of the 1930s than the Spanish right of the early 1980s. Since the 2020 election, Republican leaders have enabled authoritarianism at four decisive moments. First, rather than adhering to the cardinal rule of accepting election results after Joe Biden won in November, many Republican leaders either questioned the results or remained silent, refusing to publicly recognize Mr. Biden’s victory. Vice President Mike Pence did not congratulate his successor, Kamala Harris, until the middle of January 2021. The Republican Accountability Project, a Republican pro-democracy watchdog group, evaluated the public statements of 261 Republican members of the 117th Congress after the election. They found that 221 of them had publicly expressed doubt about its legitimacy or did not publicly recognize that Biden won. That’s 85 percent. And in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot, nearly two-thirds of House Republicans voted against certification of the results. Had Republican leaders not encouraged election denialism, the “stop the steal” movement might have stalled, and thousands of Trump supporters might not have violently stormed the Capitol in an effort to overturn the election.Second, after Mr. Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly voted to acquit him, even though many conceded that, in Senator Mitch McConnell’s words, the president was “practically and morally responsible” for the attack. The acquittal allowed Mr. Trump to continue his political career despite having tried to block the peaceful transfer of power. Had he been convicted in the Senate, he would have been legally barred from running again for president. In other words, Republican senators had a clear opportunity to ensure that an openly antidemocratic figure would never again occupy the White House — and 43 of them, including Mr. McConnell, declined to take it.Third, Republican leaders could have worked with Democrats to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 uprising. Had both parties joined forces to seek accountability for the insurrection, the day’s events would have gone down in U.S. history (and would likely have been accepted by a larger majority of Americans) as a criminal assault on our democracy that should never again be allowed to occur, much like Spain’s 1981 coup attempt. Republican leaders’ refusal to support an independent investigation shattered any possible consensus around Jan. 6, making it far less likely that Americans will develop a shared belief that such events are beyond the pale.Finally, with remarkably few exceptions, Republican leaders say they will still support Mr. Trump even if he is convicted of plotting to overturn an election. Alternatives exist. The Republican National Committee could declare that the party will not nominate an individual who poses a threat to democracy or has been indicted on serious criminal charges. Or Republican leaders could jointly declare that, for the sake of democracy, they will endorse Mr. Biden if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee. Such a move would, of course, destroy the party’s chances in 2024. But by keeping Mr. Trump out of the White House, it would help protect our democracy.If Republican leaders continue to endorse Mr. Trump, they will normalize him yet again, telling Americans that he is, at the end of the day, an acceptable choice. The 2024 race will become another ordinary red vs. blue election, much like 2016. And as in 2016, Mr. Trump could win.Republican leaders’ acquiescence to Mr. Trump’s authoritarianism is neither inevitable nor unavoidable. It is a choice.Less than a year ago in Brazil, right-wing politicians chose a different path. President Jair Bolsonaro, who was elected in 2018, was an extreme-right politician who had praised torture, death squads and political assassination. Like Mr. Trump in 2020, Mr. Bolsonaro faced an uphill re-election battle in 2022. And like Mr. Trump, he tried to undermine public trust in the electoral system, attacking it as rigged and seeking to replace the country’s sophisticated electronic voting system with a paper ballot system that was more prone to fraud. And despite some dirty tricks on Election Day (police roadblocks impeded voter access to the polls in opposition strongholds in the northeast), Mr. Bolsonaro, like Mr. Trump, narrowly lost.But the similarities end there. Whereas most Republican leaders refused to recognize Mr. Biden’s victory, most of Mr. Bolsonaro’s major political allies, including the president of Congress and the newly elected governors of powerful states like São Paulo and Minas Gerais, unambiguously accepted his defeat at the hands of Lula da Silva, the winner on election night. Although Mr. Bolsonaro himself remained silent, almost no major Brazilian politician questioned the election results.Likewise, on Jan. 8, 2023, when angry Bolsonaro supporters, seeking to provoke a coup, stormed Congress, the office of the presidency and the Supreme Court building in Brasília, conservative politicians forcefully condemned the violence. In fact, several of them led the push for a congressional investigation into the insurrection. And when the Superior Electoral Court barred Mr. Bolsonaro from seeking public office until 2030 (for abusing his political power, spreading disinformation and making baseless accusations of fraud), the response among right-wing politicians was muted. Although the electoral court’s ruling was controversial, few Brazilian politicians have attacked the legitimacy of the court or defended Mr. Bolsonaro as a victim of political persecution.Not only is Mr. Bolsonaro barred from running for president in the next election, he is politically isolated. For U.S. Republicans, then, Brazil offers a model.Many mainstream politicians who preside over a democracy’s collapse are not authoritarians committed to overthrowing the system; they are careerists who are simply trying to get ahead. They are less opposed to democracy than indifferent to it. Careerism is a normal part of politics. But when democracy is at stake, choosing political ambition over its defense can be lethal.Mr. McConnell, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other top Republican leaders are not trying to kill democracy, but they have subordinated its defense to their own personal and partisan interests. Such reckless indifference could make them indispensable partners in democracy’s demise. They risk joining the long line of semi-loyal politicians littering the histories of interwar Europe and Cold War Latin America who sacrificed democracy on the altar of political expediency. American voters must hold them to account.Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt (@dziblatt), professors of government at Harvard, are the authors of “The Tyranny of the Minority” and “How Democracies Die.”The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    Bolsonaro ha sido inhabilitado en Brasil. Trump busca la presidencia en EE. UU.

    Aunque el comportamiento de ambos expresidentes fue muy similar, las consecuencias políticas que enfrentan han sido drásticamente diferentes.El presidente de extrema derecha, que no era el favorito en las encuestas, alertó sobre un fraude electoral a pesar de no tener ninguna prueba. Tras perder, afirmó que las elecciones estaban amañadas. Miles de sus seguidores —envueltos en banderas nacionales y engañados por teorías de la conspiración— procedieron a asaltar el Congreso, buscando anular los resultados.Ese escenario describe las elecciones presidenciales más recientes en las democracias más grandes del hemisferio occidental: Estados Unidos y Brasil.Pero si bien el comportamiento de los dos expresidentes —Donald Trump y Jair Bolsonaro— fue muy similar, las consecuencias políticas han sido drásticamente diferentes.Si bien Trump enfrenta cargos federales y estatales que lo acusan de pagarle a una actriz de cine porno por su silencio y de manejar de manera indebida documentos clasificados, sigue siendo la figura más influyente de la derecha estadounidense. Más de dos años después de dejar la Casa Blanca, Trump parece estar destinado a convertirse en el candidato republicano a la presidencia, con una amplia ventaja en las encuestas.En Brasil, Bolsonaro ha enfrentado represalias más rápidas y feroces. También enfrenta numerosas investigaciones criminales. Las autoridades allanaron su casa y confiscaron su teléfono celular. Y el viernes, menos de seis meses después de que dejara el poder, el Tribunal Superior Electoral de Brasil votó para inhabilitar a Bolsonaro de optar a un cargo político durante lo que queda de la década.Las secuelas de un asalto en el complejo de oficinas del gobierno brasileño por parte de los partidarios de Bolsonaro en enero.Victor Moriyama para The New York TimesEl tribunal dictaminó que el expresidente abusó de su poder cuando hizo afirmaciones sin fundamento sobre la integridad de los sistemas de votación de Brasil en la televisión estatal. Su próxima oportunidad a la presidencia sería en las elecciones de 2030, en las que tendría 75 años.Trump, incluso si es hallado culpable en un caso antes de las elecciones del año que viene, no sería descalificado automáticamente de postularse a la presidencia.El contraste entre las consecuencias que enfrentan ambos hombres refleja las diferencias de las estructuras políticas y gubernamentales de los dos países. El sistema estadounidense ha dejado el destino de Trump en manos de los votantes y del proceso lento y metódico del sistema judicial. En Brasil, los tribunales han sido proactivos, rápidos y agresivos para eliminar cualquier cosa que consideren una amenaza para la joven democracia de la nación.Las elecciones estadounidenses están a cargo de los estados, con un mosaico de reglas en todo el país sobre quién es elegible para postularse y cómo. En muchos casos, uno de los pocos obstáculos para aparecer en una boleta es recolectar suficientes firmas de votantes elegibles.En Brasil, las elecciones están regidas por el Tribunal Superior Electoral, el cual, como parte de sus funciones, sopesa regularmente si los candidatos tienen derecho a postularse para un cargo.“El alcalde, el gobernador o el presidente tienden a abusar de su poder para ser reelectos. Por eso creamos la ley de inelegibilidad”, dijo Ricardo Lewandowski, juez jubilado del Supremo Tribunal Federal de Brasil y expresidente del Tribunal Superior Electoral.La ley brasileña establece que los políticos que abusen de sus cargos sean temporalmente inelegibles para cargos. Como resultado, el Tribunal Superior Electoral ha bloqueado rutinariamente la postulación de políticos, incluidos, junto con Bolsonaro, tres expresidentes.“Lo que nuestro sistema trata de hacer es proteger al votante”, dijo Lewandowski. “Quienes cometieron delitos contra el pueblo deben permanecer fuera del juego durante cierto periodo de tiempo hasta que se rehabiliten”.Según algunos analistas, esta estrategia ha puesto demasiado poder en manos de los siete jueces del Tribunal Superior Electoral, en lugar de que sean los votantes quienes decidan.“Es una diferencia estructural entre los dos países”, dijo Thomas Traumann, analista político y exsecretario Especial de Comunicación Social de una presidenta brasileña de izquierda. Los políticos en Brasil conocen las reglas, dijo, y el sistema ha ayudado a mantener alejados del poder a algunos políticos corruptos. “Por otro lado, estás impidiendo que la gente decida”, dijo.El sistema electoral centralizado de Brasil también impidió que Bolsonaro librara una batalla tan prolongada por los resultados de las elecciones como lo hizo Trump.En Estados Unidos, un conteo lento de votos retrasó una semana la proclamación del ganador y luego el proceso del Colegio Electoral tomó varios meses más. Cada estado también realizó sus propias elecciones y auditorías. Eso le dio a Trump, y a los políticos y grupos que lo apoyaban, tiempo y varios frentes para implementar ataques contra el proceso.En Brasil, un país con 220 millones de habitantes, el sistema electrónico de votación contó las boletas en dos horas. La autoridad electoral central y no los medios de comunicación, procedieron a anunciar al ganador esa noche, en una ceremonia que involucró a líderes del Congreso, los tribunales y el gobierno.El sistema de votación electrónica de Brasil contó las papeletas en dos horas.Victor Moriyama para The New York TimesBolsonaro permaneció en silencio durante dos días pero, con pocas opciones, al final se hizo a un lado.Sin embargo, ese enfoque también conlleva riesgos.“Se podría alegar que ser tan centralizado también te hace propenso a más abusos que en el sistema estadounidense, que está más descentralizado y permite básicamente una supervisión local”, dijo Omar Encarnación, profesor del Bard College que ha estudiado los sistemas democráticos en ambos países.Sin embargo, añadió, en Estados Unidos, varios estados han aprobado recientemente leyes de votación restrictivas. “Resulta claro que son dos modelos muy diferentes y, dependiendo del punto de vista, se podría argumentar cuál es mejor o peor para la democracia”.En el periodo previo a las elecciones, el sistema de Brasil también le permitió combatir de manera mucho más agresiva contra cualquier desinformación o conspiración antidemocrática. El Supremo Tribunal Federal ordenó redadas y arrestos, bloqueó a miembros del Congreso de las redes sociales y tomó medidas para prohibir a las empresas de tecnología que no cumplieran con las órdenes judiciales.El resultado fue una campaña radical e implacable destinada a combatir la desinformación electoral. Sin embargo las medidas también generaron reclamos generalizados de extralimitación. Algunas redadas se enfocaron en personas solo porque estaban en un grupo de WhatsApp que había mencionado un golpe de Estado. Algunas personas fueron encarceladas temporalmente sin juicio por criticar al tribunal. Un congresista fue sentenciado a prisión por amenazar a los jueces en una transmisión en vivo.Estas acciones estrictas de los tribunales han ampliado su enorme influencia en la política brasileña en los últimos años, incluido su papel central en la llamada investigación Lava Jato que envió a prisión al presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.“La audacia, la temeridad con la que los tribunales han actuado, no solo contra Bolsonaro, sino incluso contra Lula, sugiere que los tribunales se están comportando de una manera un tanto —odio usar la palabra irresponsable— pero tal vez incluso represiva”, dijo Encarnación.Sin embargo, a pesar de los esfuerzos del tribunal, miles de partidarios de Bolsonaro procedieron a atacar y saquear los recintos del poder de la nación en enero, una semana después de la toma de posesión de Lula.Si bien la situación fue inquietantemente similar al asalto al Capitolio de Estados Unidos el 6 de enero de 2021, los roles de los dos expresidentes fueron diferentes.Cientos de simpatizantes de Bolsonaro fueron detenidos temporalmente después de los disturbios de enero.Victor Moriyama para The New York TimesAmbos avivaron los reclamos y convencieron a sus seguidores de que se cometió un supuesto fraude, pero Trump les ordenó de manera explícita que marcharan hacia el Capitolio durante un discurso en las inmediaciones del lugar.Cuando los simpatizantes de Bolsonaro formaron su propia turba, Bolsonaro se encontraba a miles de kilómetros en Florida, donde permaneció por tres meses.En ambos países, cientos de invasores fueron arrestados y condenados, e investigaciones de los congresos están investigando lo sucedido. Por lo demás, las consecuencias han sido distintas.Al igual que Trump, Bolsonaro también ha defendido a sus seguidores.El viernes, Bolsonaro dijo que la revuelta no había sido un intento de golpe de Estado sino “viejitas y viejitos con banderas brasileñas en sus espaldas y biblias bajo sus brazos”.Pero las repercusiones políticas han sido diferentes.En Estados Unidos, gran parte del Partido Republicano ha aceptado las afirmaciones infundadas de fraude electoral, los estados han aprobado leyes que dificultan el voto y los votantes han elegido candidatos para el Congreso y las legislaturas estatales que niegan los resultados de las elecciones presidenciales.En Brasil, la clase política se ha alejado en gran medida del discurso de fraude electoral, así como del propio Bolsonaro. Los líderes conservadores están impulsando en la actualidad a un gobernador más moderado como el nuevo abanderado de la derecha brasileña.Encarnación afirmó que, a pesar de sus problemas, el sistema democrático de Brasil puede proporcionar un modelo sobre cómo combatir las nuevas amenazas antidemocráticas.“Básicamente, las democracias están luchando contra la desinformación y Dios sabe qué otras cosas con instituciones muy anticuadas”, dijo. “Necesitamos actualizar el hardware. No creo que haya sido diseñado para personas como las que enfrentan estos países”.Jack Nicas es el jefe de la corresponsalía en Brasil, que abarca Brasil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay. Anteriormente reportó de tecnología desde San Francisco y, antes de integrarse al Times en 2018, trabajó siete años en The Wall Street Journal. @jacknicas • Facebook More

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    Why Trump and Bolsonaro Cases Were Handled Differently

    In both the United States and Brazil, former presidents made baseless claims of fraud, and their supporters stormed government buildings.Down in the polls, the far-right president warned of voter fraud, despite no evidence. After losing, he claimed the vote was rigged. Thousands of his supporters — draped in the national flag and misled by conspiracy theories — then stormed Congress in a bid to overturn the results.That scenario describes the latest elections in the Western Hemisphere’s largest democracies: the United States and Brazil.But while the behavior of the two former presidents — Donald J. Trump and Jair Bolsonaro — was remarkably similar, the political aftermath has been drastically different.While Mr. Trump faces federal and state charges that accuse him of paying off a porn star and mishandling classified documents, he remains the most influential figure on the American right. More than two years after leaving the White House, he again appears poised to become the Republican nominee for president, with a wide lead in the polls.In Brazil, Mr. Bolsonaro has faced much swifter and fiercer blowback. He, too, faces numerous criminal investigations. The authorities have raided his house and confiscated his cellphone. And on Friday, less than six months after he left power, Brazil’s electoral court voted to block Mr. Bolsonaro from political office for the rest of the decade.The aftermath of a riot at the Brazilian government office complex by supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro in January.Victor Moriyama for The New York TimesThe court ruled he had abused his power when he made baseless claims about the integrity of Brazil’s voting systems on state television. His next shot at the presidency would be in the 2030 election, when he is 75.Mr. Trump, even if he is convicted in a case before next year’s election, could still potentially run.The contrasting fallout for the two men reflect key differences in the two countries’ political and governing structures. The U.S. system has left Mr. Trump’s fate up to voters and the slow, methodical process of the justice system. In Brazil, the courts have been proactive, fast and aggressive in snuffing out anything they see as a threat to the nation’s young democracy.U.S. elections are run by the states, with a patchwork of rules across the country on who is eligible to run and how. In many cases, one of the few hurdles to appearing on a ballot is collecting enough signatures from eligible voters.In Brazil, elections are governed by a federal electoral court, which, as part of its duties, regularly weighs in on whether candidates have the right to seek office.“The mayor, governor or president tend to abuse their power to be re-elected. So we created the law of ineligibility,” said Ricardo Lewandowski, a retired Brazilian Supreme Court justice and former head of the electoral court.Brazilian law states that politicians who abuse their positions are temporarily ineligible for office. As a result, the electoral court has routinely blocked politicians from running, including, with Mr. Bolsonaro, three former presidents.“What our system has tried to do is protect the voter,” Mr. Lewandowski said. “Those who committed crimes against the public have to stay out of the game for a certain amount of time until they rehabilitate.”The approach has also put what some analysts say is too much power in the hands of the electoral court’s seven judges, instead of voters.“It’s a structural difference between the two countries,” said Thomas Traumann, a political analyst and former press secretary for a leftist Brazilian president. Politicians in Brazil know the rules, he said, and the system has helped keep some corrupt politicians from power. “On the other hand, you are preventing the people from deciding,” he said.Brazil’s centralized electoral system also thwarted Mr. Bolsonaro from waging as protracted a fight over the election’s results as Mr. Trump did.In the United States, a slow vote count delayed the declaration of a winner for a week, and the Electoral College process then took several more months. Each state also ran its own election and audits. That gave Mr. Trump and politicians and groups supporting him time and various fronts to mount attacks against the process.In Brazil, a nation of 220 million people, the electronic voting system counted the ballots in two hours. The central electoral authority, not the news media, then declared the winner that night, in a ceremony involving leaders of Congress, the courts and the government.Brazil’s electronic voting system counted the ballots in two hours. Victor Moriyama for The New York TimesMr. Bolsonaro remained silent for two days but, with few options, eventually stepped aside.But that approach also carries risks.“You can argue that being that centralized is also prone to more abuse than the American system, which is more decentralized and allows for basically local supervision,” said Omar Encarnación, a Bard College professor who has studied the democratic systems in both countries.Yet in the United States, several states have recently passed restrictive voting laws, he added. “So clearly, these are two very different models, and one can argue in either direction, which one is best or worst for democracy.”In the run-up to the election, Brazil’s system also allowed it to fight far more aggressively against any anti-democratic misinformation or plotting. The nation’s Supreme Court ordered raids and arrests, blocked members of Congress from social networks and moved to ban tech companies in Brazil that did not comply with court orders.The result was a sweeping and unrelenting campaign aimed at fighting election misinformation. But the moves also drew widespread claims of overreach. Some raids targeted people just because they were in a WhatsApp group that had mentioned a coup. Some people were temporarily jailed without a trial for criticizing the court. A congressman was sentenced to prison for threatening judges on a livestream.Such stringent actions by the courts extends their outsized influence in Brazilian politics in recent years, including their central role in the so-called Car Wash investigation that sent President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to prison.“The boldness, the fearlessness in which the courts have acted, not just against Bolsonaro, but even toward Lula, would suggest that the courts are behaving in a somewhat — I hate to use the word reckless — but perhaps even in a repressive mode,” Mr. Encarnación said.Yet regardless of the court’s efforts, thousands of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters still raided and ransacked the nation’s halls of power a week after Mr. Lula’s inauguration in January.While the scenes were eerily similar to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the roles of the two ex-presidents were different.Hundreds of Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters were temporarily detained after the riot in January.Victor Moriyama for The New York TimesBoth had fanned the flames, convincing their followers there had been fraud, but Mr. Trump explicitly directed his supporters to march to the Capitol during a speech nearby.When Mr. Bolsonaro’s supporters formed their own mob, Mr. Bolsonaro was thousands of miles away in Florida, where he remained for three months.In both countries, hundreds of trespassers were arrested and charged, and congressional investigations are digging into what happened. Otherwise the aftermath has been different.Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolsonaro has also defended his supporters.Mr. Bolsonaro said on Friday that the riot was not an attempted coup, but instead “little old women and little old men, with Brazilian flags on their back and Bibles under their arms.”But the political reverberations have differed.In the U.S., much of the Republican Party has embraced the baseless claims of election-fraud, states have passed laws that make it harder to vote, and voters have elected election-denying candidates to Congress and state legislatures.In Brazil, the political establishment has largely moved away from talk of election fraud — and from Mr. Bolsonaro himself. Conservative leaders are now pushing a more moderate governor as the new standard-bearer of the Brazilian right.Mr. Encarnación said that, despite its problems, Brazil’s democratic system can provide a model on how to fight new anti-democratic threats.“Democracies basically are fighting misinformation and God knows what else with very antiquated institutions,” he said. “We do need to upgrade the hardware. I don’t think it was designed for people of the likes these countries are facing.” More

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    Brazil’s Bolsonaro Blocked From Office for Election-Fraud Claims

    Brazil’s electoral court banned former President Jair Bolsonaro from seeking office until 2030 for spreading false claims about the nation’s voting system.Brazilian election officials on Friday blocked former President Jair Bolsonaro from seeking public office until 2030, removing a top contender from the next presidential contest and dealing a significant blow to the country’s far-right movement.Brazil’s electoral court ruled that Mr. Bolsonaro had violated Brazil’s election laws when, less than three months ahead of last year’s vote, he called diplomats to the presidential palace and made baseless claims that the nation’s voting systems were likely to be rigged against him.Five of the court’s seven judges voted that Mr. Bolsonaro had abused his power as president when he convened the meeting with diplomats and broadcast it on state television.“This response will confirm our faith in the democracy,” said Alexandre de Moraes, a Supreme Court justice who leads the electoral court, as he cast his vote against Mr. Bolsonaro.The decision is a sharp and swift rebuke of Mr. Bolsonaro and his effort to undermine Brazil’s elections. Just six months ago, Mr. Bolsonaro was president of one of the world’s largest democracies. Now his career as a politician is in jeopardy.Under the ruling, Mr. Bolsonaro, 68, will next be able to run for president in 2030, when he is 75. The next presidential election is scheduled for 2026.Mr. Bolsonaro said Friday that he was not surprised by the 5-to-2 decision because the court had always been against him. “Come on. We know that since I took office they said I was going to carry out a coup,” he told reporters (though he, too, had hinted at that possibility). “This is not democracy.”His lawyers had argued that his speech to diplomats was an “act of government” aimed at raising legitimate concerns about election security.Mr. Bolsonaro appeared to accept his fate, saying Friday that he would focus on campaigning for other right-wing candidates.Yet he is still expected to appeal the ruling to Brazil’s Supreme Court, though that body acted aggressively to rein in his power during his presidency. He has harshly attacked the high court for years, calling some justices “terrorists” and accusing them of trying to sway the vote against him.Judge Alexandre de Moraes, center, a member of Brazil’s Supreme Court, used the court to curb Mr. Bolsonaro’s power during his administration.Dado Galdieri for The New York TimesEven if an appeal is successful, Mr. Bolsonaro would face another 15 cases in the electoral court, including accusations that he improperly used public funds to influence the vote and that his campaign ran a coordinated misinformation campaign. Any of those cases could also block him from seeking the presidency.He is also linked to several criminal investigations, involving whether he provoked his supporters to storm Brazil’s halls of power on Jan. 8 and whether he was involved in a scheme to falsify his vaccine records. (Mr. Bolsonaro has declined the Covid-19 vaccine.) A conviction in any criminal case would also render him ineligible for office, in addition to carrying possible prison time.Mr. Bolsonaro was a shock to Brazil’s politics when he was elected president in 2018. A former Army captain and fringe far-right congressman, he rode a populist wave to the presidency on an anti-corruption campaign.His lone term was marked by controversy from the start, including a sharp rise in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, a hands-off approach to the pandemic that left nearly 700,000 dead in Brazil and harsh attacks against the press, the judiciary and the left.Mr. Bolsonaro in 2017, when he was a member of congress.Lalo de Almeida for The New York TimesBut it was his repeated broadsides against Brazil’s voting systems that alarmed many Brazilians, as well as the international community, stoking worries that he might try to hold on to power if he lost last October’s election.Mr. Bolsonaro did lose by a slim margin and at first refused to concede. Under pressure from allies and rivals, he eventually agreed to a transition to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.Yet, after listening to Mr. Bolsonaro’s false claims for years, many Bolsonaro supporters remained convinced that Mr. Lula, a leftist, had stolen the election. On Jan. 8, a week after Mr. Lula took office, thousands of people stormed Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential offices, hoping to induce the military to take over the government and restore Mr. Bolsonaro as president.Mr. Bolsonaro said on Friday that the riot was not an attempted coup, but instead “little old women and little old men, with Brazilian flags on their back and Bibles under their arms.”Since then, more evidence has emerged that at least some members of Mr. Bolsonaro’s inner circle were entertaining ideas of a coup. Brazil’s federal police found separate drafts of plans for Mr. Bolsonaro to hold on to power at the home of Mr. Bolsonaro’s justice minister and on the phone of his former assistant.Mr. Bolsonaro’s attacks on the voting system and the Jan. 8 riot in Brazil bore a striking resemblance to former president Donald J. Trump’s denials that he lost the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.The aftermath of the riot at the Brazilian government complex in Brasília in January.Victor Moriyama for The New York TimesYet the result for the two former presidents has so far been different. While Mr. Bolsonaro has already been excluded from the next presidential race, Mr. Trump remains the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Mr. Trump could also still run for president even if he is convicted of any of the various criminal charges he faces.The ruling against Mr. Bolsonaro upends politics in Latin America’s largest nation. For years, he has pulled Brazil’s conservative movement further to the right with harsh rhetoric against rivals, skepticism of science, a love of guns and an embrace of the culture wars.He received 49.1 percent of the vote in the 2022 election, just 2.1 million votes behind Mr. Lula, in the nation’s closest presidential contest since it returned to democracy in 1985, following a military dictatorship.Yet conservative leaders in Brazil, with an eye toward Mr. Bolsonaro’s legal challenges, have started to move on, touting Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, the right-wing governor of Brazil’s largest state, São Paulo, as the new standard-bearer of the right and a 2026 challenger to Mr. Lula.“He is a much more palatable candidate because he doesn’t have Bolsonaro’s liabilities and because he is making a move to the center,” said Marta Arretche, a political science professor at the University of São Paulo.The Brazilian press and pollsters have speculated that Mr. Bolsonaro’s wife, Michelle, or two of his sons would run for president. Mr. Bolsonaro said recently that he told Ms. Bolsonaro she doesn’t have the necessary experience, “but she is an excellent campaigner.”Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, the right-wing governor of São Paulo state, is emerging as a new standard-bearer of the Brazilian right.Adriano Machado/ReutersFriday’s decision is also further proof that Mr. Moraes, the head of the electoral court, has become one of Brazil’s most powerful men.During Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration, Mr. Moraes acted as the most effective check on the president’s power, leading investigations into Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies, jailing some of his supporters for what he viewed as threats against Brazil’s institutions and ordering tech companies to remove the accounts of many other right-wing voices.Those tactics raised concerns that he was abusing his power, and Mr. Bolsonaro and his supporters have called Mr. Moraes an authoritarian. On the left, he has been praised as the savior of Brazil’s democracy.Mr. Bolsonaro’s case before the electoral court stemmed from a 47-minute meeting on July 18 in which he called dozens of foreign diplomats to the presidential residence to present what he promised was evidence of fraud in past Brazilian elections.He made unfounded claims that Brazil’s voting machines changed ballots for him to other candidates in a previous election and that a 2018 hack of the electoral court’s computer network showed the vote could be rigged. But security experts have said the hackers could never gain access to the voting machines or change votes.The speech was broadcast on the Brazilian government’s television network and its social media channels. Some tech companies later took the video down because it spread election misinformation.As for Mr. Bolsonaro’s future plans? He told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo that during the three months he spent in Florida this year after his election loss, he was offered a job as a “poster boy” for American businesses wanting to reach Brazilians.“I went to a hamburger joint and it filled with people,” he said. “But I don’t want to abandon my country.”Ana Ionova More