What American Conservatives Can Learn From Argentina’s Javier Milei

“While there might be some overlap with American conservatives when it comes to cutting certain taxes and regulations, the rest of Milei’s political agenda is expressly libertarian and often directly at odds with the aims of the so-called “New Right.”
On social and economic issues, Milei has advocated reducing or eliminating the role of government. (The one arguable exception is his support for abortion laws, but that is an issue that has long divided libertarians.) America’s conservatives are moving in the opposite direction: ginning up culture wars to justify further intrusions into individuals’ right to live as they see fit, and competing with the progressive left to pander with promises of more economic interventions: tariffs, industrial policies, direct subsidies to the working and middle classes. The loudest contingent of the American conservative movement has been promising that a more muscular and centralized government is the answer.

Milei’s victory is not a part of that narrative. In fact, it should undermine it.

His is undeniably a populist victory, but it seems to have more in common with the so-called “Tea Party” era of Republican politics—when American conservatives called for slashing government programs and spending, even though they rarely followed through—or to the surprising presidential runs by former congressman Ron Paul than with anything Trump or his acolytes have supported.”

“Milei’s election looks a lot like a rejection of the kind of economic nationalism that leading politicians in America are pushing, from Biden’s “Buy American” mandates to Trump’s anti-trade and anti-immigration views.

There are, of course, limits to how useful any foreign election can be as a guide for U.S. politicians. The political terrain in Argentina is not the same as it is in the United States. Most notably, the place suffers an inflation rate that makes what we have experienced in recent years look mild by comparison.”


How red-state politics are shaving years off American lives

“Ashtabula’s problems stand out compared with two nearby counties – Erie, Pa., and Chautauqua, N.Y. All three communities, which ring picturesque Lake Erie and are a short drive from each other, have struggled economically in recent decades as industrial jobs withered – conditions that contribute toward rising midlife mortality, research shows. None is a success story when it comes to health. But Ashtabula residents are much more likely to die young, especially from smoking, diabetes-related complications or motor vehicle accidents, than people living in its sister counties in Pennsylvania and New York, states that have adopted more stringent public health measures.
That pattern held true during the coronavirus pandemic, when Ashtabula residents died of covid at far higher rates than people in Chautauqua and Erie.

The differences around Lake Erie reflect a steady national shift in how public health decisions are being made and who’s making them.

State lawmakers gained autonomy over how to spend federal safety net dollars following Republican President Ronald Reagan’s push to empower the states in the 1980s. Those investments began to diverge sharply along red and blue lines, with conservative lawmakers often balking at public health initiatives they said cost too much or overstepped. Today, people in the South and Midwest, regions largely controlled by Republican state legislators, have increasingly higher chances of dying prematurely compared with those in the more Democratic Northeast and West, according to The Post’s analysis of death rates.

The differences in state policies directly correlate to those years lost, said Jennifer Karas Montez, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies at Syracuse University and author of several papers that describe the connection between politics and life expectancy.

Ohio sticks out – for all the wrong reasons. Roughly 1 in 5 Ohioans will die before they turn 65, according to Montez’s analysis using the state’s 2019 death rates. The state, whose legislature has been increasingly dominated by Republicans, has plummeted nationally when it comes to life expectancy rates, moving from middle of the pack to the bottom fifth of states during the last 50 years, The Post found. Ohioans have a similar life expectancy to residents of Slovakia and Ecuador, relatively poor countries.

Like other hard-hit Midwestern counties, Ashtabula has seen a rise in what are known as “deaths of despair” – drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicides – prompting federal and state attention in recent years. But here, as well as in most counties across the United States, those types of deaths are far outnumbered by deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, smoking-related cancers and other health issues for residents between 35 and 64 years old, The Post found. Between 2015 and 2019, nearly five times as many Ashtabula residents in their prime died of chronic medical conditions as died of overdoses, suicide and all other external causes combined, according to The Post analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s death records.

Public health officials say Ohio could save lives by adopting measures such as a higher tobacco tax or stricter seat-belt rules, initiatives supported by Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican generally friendly to their cause.”


What a new conservative call for “regime change” in America reveals about the culture war

“most of his anti-liberal broadside is at once underbaked and overheated.
The critique is underbaked in the sense that it’s not clear from his account how exactly this rather large “elite” is responsible for the destruction of conservative norms and small-town America. How can we hold a graphic designer in Chicago or a Whole Foods supply chain specialist in Austin responsible for the decline of Christian morals and the hollowing out of small towns?

It’s overheated in the sense that Deneen turns his rivals into cartoon villains, arguing that “the current ruling class is uniquely ill-equipped for reform, having become one of the worst of its kind produced in history.”

Roman nobles were legally permitted to rape their slaves. The military elites of the Mongol Empire were constantly murdering civilians and each other. In France after the Black Plague, the impoverished aristocracy stole from their already-suffering peasants to continue funding their lavish lifestyles. The elite of the early American South centered their entire society around the racist brutality of chattel slavery.

Is the American elite out of touch with the working class in ways that have tangible and negative consequences for the country? Sure. But it’s not remotely comparable to the bad elites of previous centuries.

This loss of perspective tarnishes Deneen’s argument throughout the book — a problem most vividly on display in his treatment of the divide between “the many” and “the few.”

In Deneen’s thinking, it is axiomatic that the central divide in Western politics is between the villainous liberal elite (the “few”) and the culturally conservative mass public (“the many”). The liberal elites wish to impose their cultural vision on society and attack the customs and traditions of ordinary people; the many, who are instinctively culturally conservative, have risen under the banner of leaders like Trump to oppose them.

Except how do we know that liberals really are “the few?”

Deneen doesn’t cite election or polling data to support his theory of a natural conservative majority. Trump has never won the popular vote while on the ballot; his party performed historically poorly in two midterm elections since his rise to power. Polling on the cultural issues Deneen so cares about, like same-sex marriage, often finds majority support for liberal positions.”

Why Trump Is Polling Much Better Among Very Conservative Primary Voters Than In 2016

“Trump has come to define who and what Republican Party activists — that is, people who volunteer for political campaigns, donate money, work for politicians, etc. — think of as conservative. Their research, for instance, found that GOP activists viewed Trump critics like former Sens. Ben Sasse and Patrick Toomey as much less conservative than their voting records in Congress indicated. Meanwhile, GOP activists viewed Trump boosters as the most reliably conservative politicians.

But Trump has also powerfully redefined what constitutes conservatism for rank-and-file Republican voters, according to my analyses of data from the Cooperative Election Survey — a massive academic survey administered by YouGov that asks over 50,000 respondents every two years to, among other things, rate politicians’ ideologies on a seven-point scale from “very liberal” to “very conservative.”

According to CES data, Republicans nationwide now view Trump as more conservative than they did immediately before the 2016 general election. On the other hand, Utah Republicans perceived Sen. Mitt Romney as a lot less conservative after his February 2020 vote to convict Trump during his first impeachment trial. But that decline pales in comparison to the utter evaporation of former Rep. Liz Cheney’s conservative credentials. Wyoming Republicans repeatedly rated Cheney as a solid conservative in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Yet her reputation as a stalwart conservative vanished entirely after she voted to impeach Trump in January 2021 and subsequently became one of the former president’s most vocal critics in Congress as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection — so much so, that Wyoming Republicans placed her all the way on the liberal side of the ideological spectrum in the 2022 CES.”

“The seven Republican senators who voted to convict the former president during his second impeachment trial were all rated as much less conservative than we would otherwise expect from their Senate voting records”

Target giving in to conservative pressure on Pride is not a great sign

“Target has offered products celebrating Pride Month for years, generally without much pushback. Indeed, Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell, said on a podcast in mid-May that the company’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion “has fueled much of our growth over the last nine years.” This year, however, some people on the right began to seize on Target’s fairly par-for-the-course Pride marketing efforts to encourage a boycott of the retailer. Some made scenes in stores.

Much of the controversy appeared to center around misinformation that Target was selling “tuck-friendly” bathing suits for kids. As the Associated Press points out, they were only available in adult sizes.

Some conservatives were angered by Target’s partnership with Abprallen, a UK brand that they believe is associated with Satanist designs. Conservative media outlet the Washington Examiner posted about Abprallen, which is “headed by a self-proclaimed gay, transgender man,” offering sweatshirts that read “cure transphobia not trans people” and a tote bag that says “too queer for here.” It also points to a design on the brand’s Instagram that says, “Satan respects pronouns.” (Rolling Stone points out that while some of Abprallen’s designs do feature horns and pentagrams, none of that was on sale at Target. The designer behind the brand, Erik Carnell, also told the outlet he was getting death threats.)”