The conquest of Together for Change’s 6.2 million votes, out of some 27 million votes cast (77.6% participation), presents unknowns for both Sergio Massa and Javier Milei. To Massa, to begin with, because that group of voters preferred a candidate whose central proposal was to “end Kirchnerism.” The motto may have been crude, Patricia Bullrich may have raised it with poor skill, but its meaning was unequivocal.
Escorted by the leadership of the conservative coalition, Bullrich spoke in Costa Salguero, a property on the river, in a somber tone. She went on the offensive and vindicated “values that may have been dormant.” She gave some indication about her preference for the second round, on November 19: “We will never be complicit with populism in Argentina. Nor will we ever be accomplices of the mafias that destroyed this country. From wherever I am, I will never give up.” She is her opinion, but she will hardly be accompanied by all of her coalition partners.
Although the ideological coincidences of Bullrich and Macri themselves with Milei were explicit until the first half of the year, more recently the ultra offensive reached insulting and hurtful edges. The former Minister of Security had her electoral base among older adults, while the extremist garnered more votes from the other age group, adolescents and young people. There are some cultural walls there that will not be easy for Milei to overcome.
The difference between La Libertad Avanza and Juntos por el Cambio is also socioeconomic in certain districts, especially the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. Bullrich received the most votes in upper and upper middle class neighborhoods, while Milei competed in the Peronist field in workers and lower and lower middle class areas.
This distance in the type of voter between Milei and Bullrich is much less clear in provinces such as Santa Fe, Córdoba and Mendoza – three of the five most populated in Argentina – where the economist’s progress seems to have been mainly at the expense of the conservative coalition. .
Massa can weave below and above with leaders of the Radical Civic Union, several of whom he knows well from past alliances. The hatred professed by Milei for Raúl Alfonsín and Hipólito Yrigoyen, two of the greatest radical heroes, will be difficult to forget for a part of the electorate that feels anti-Kirchnerist, but not right-wing.
At that point, Massa has the advantage that he is far from being a pure Kirchnerist. The Unión por la Patria candidate showed off her ideological eclecticism and never subscribed to the leftist drift of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other progressive sectors that identified with her. Even between 2008 and 2017, he was a harsh opponent of that sector.
Given the tough profile of Milei and Bullrich, Massa’s task was made easier in this campaign to capitalize on the “useful vote” against the right, to the detriment of the Trotskyist Bregman.
The ambiguity that earned Massa the distrust of various political sectors, this time, in the face of a complicated second round, can work in his favor.