A far-right libertarian candidate won Argentina’s open presidential primary election on Sunday, a surprising showing for a politician who wants to adopt the U.S. dollar as Argentina’s official currency and embraces comparisons to Donald Trump.

Javier Milei, 52, a congressman, economist and former television pundit, secured 30 percent of the vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, making him the front-runner for the presidency in the fall general election.

Polls had suggested that Mr. Milei’s support was at about 20 percent, and political analysts had predicted that his radical policy proposals — including abolishing the country’s central bank — would prevent him from attracting many more voters.

But the vote on Sunday made clear that Mr. Milei now has a clear shot at leading Argentina, a South American nation of 46 million with some of the world’s largest reserves of oil, gas and lithium.

“I think these results are surprising even to him,” said Pablo Touzon, an Argentine political consultant. “Up until now, he was a protest candidate.”

Argentina’s general election in October, which could go to a November runoff, will now become a new test of the strength of the far right around the world. Although hard-right forces have gained new influence in several powerful nations in recent years, including the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Finland, they have also suffered some defeats, including in Spain and Brazil.

Mr. Milei has pitched himself as the radical change that the collapsing Argentine economy needs, and he could be a shock to the system if elected. Besides his ideas about the currency and the central bank, he has proposed drastically lowering taxes and cutting public spending, including by charging people to use the public health care system; closing or privatizing all state-owned enterprises; and eliminating the health, education and environment ministries.

Sergio Massa, Argentina’s center-left finance minister, finished second in the primary, with 21 percent of the vote. Patricia Bullrich, a conservative former security minister, finished in third place, with 17 percent.

The general election takes place on Oct. 22, but it appears likely that the race will be decided in a runoff vote on Nov. 19. The Sunday results showed that Argentina’s three separate coalitions have similar levels of support, making it unlikely that any candidate will exceed the 50-percent threshold necessary to win outright in the first round.

The center-right coalition’s candidates received a combined 28 percent of the vote on Sunday, while the center-left coalition received 27 percent — both slightly less than Mr. Milei’s total.

The incumbent center-left party has held power in Argentina for 16 of the past 20 years and has been controlled largely by former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

“We’re not only going to end Kirchnerism, but we’re also going to end the useless, parasitic, criminal political caste that is sinking this country,” Mr. Milei told supporters in a speech on Sunday night. He then thanked his sister, who runs his campaign, and his five Mastiff dogs, each named after a conservative economist.

Argentina, which has weathered economic crises for decades, is in the midst of one of its worst. The Argentine peso has plummeted in value, annual inflation has surpassed 115 percent, nearly 40 percent of the population is impoverished and the country is struggling to repay its $44 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Milei has said that his economic policies would represent an austerity package that goes beyond even what the I.M.F. is requesting of Argentina.

He could also have a profound effect on other parts of Argentine society. He and his running mate, a lawyer who has defended the country’s past military dictatorship, have suggested they would loosen gun laws, reverse recent policies allowing abortion and even permit the sale of human organs, an example of commerce that Mr. Milei says the government has no business restricting.

Yet implementing such changes would lead to a major challenge. Sunday’s results suggested that Mr. Milei, if elected, would have limited direct support in Congress. His party, called Liberty Advances, said it would control just 8 of the 72 seats in the Senate and 35 of the 500 seats in the House, according to the results for its other candidates.

Mr. Touzon said Mr. Milei would have less institutional support than far-right candidates who were swept into office elsewhere in recent years, including Mr. Trump and former President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. “Bolsonaro leaned on the army. Trump had the Republican Party. Milei has nothing,” he said.

He added that Mr. Milei’s economic plan, while radical, is lacking in details and has been revised frequently. “His dollarization plan was changed 50 times,” Mr. Touzon said. “Today, he does not have a team to govern Argentina.”

Yet Mr. Milei has proved to be a skilled politician in the internet age, with a trademark scowl and head of unruly hair that have given him a larger-than-life persona and made him an easy subject of internet memes, much like Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro.

In a public video posted online ahead of the vote, Mr. Bolsonaro endorsed Mr. Milei and said they were political kindred spirits. “We have a lot of things in common,” he said, citing what he called their support for private property, freedom of expression, the free market and the right to self-defense.

And not unlike supporters of Mr. Trump and Mr. Bolsonaro, Argentines who voted for Mr. Milei said on Sunday that they liked him because he was a political outsider who would shake up a broken system and tell it like it is.

“The Argentine people have finally woken up,” said Rebeca Di Iorio, 44, an administrative worker celebrating at Mr. Milei’s election-night street party in Buenos Aires. “Argentina needs that. It needs a change.”

Santiago Manoukian, research chief of Ecolatina, an Argentine economic consulting firm, said that of the different scenarios for primary results that analysts had mapped out, Mr. Milei’s victory was the least expected.

Now Mr. Manoukian said he would have to rethink his predictions of the election, as Mr. Milei has a clear chance to reach the second round, which then could be a tossup.

“He was not seen as a competitive candidate for a runoff,” Mr. Manoukian said. “Now something very different is happening.”

2020 was an off-year for humanity, but strangely enough, the Netflix series “Tiger King” which dove into the lives of former Oklahoma zoo owner turned felon, Joe Exotic, and his peculiar friends (and enemies), was able to mostly unite everyone during some pretty scary days. Well, for like five minutes at least before we went back to riots, COVID-madness, UFO sightings and other dumb things.

Well, Joe Exotic is fighting to appear in the public consciousness once again, albeit while still serving time in federal prison, this time declaring that he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President in the upcoming 2024 election.

Joe Exotic

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado, announced on twitter over a week ago “It’s official! I am now a candidate for President of the United States in 2024.”

You’ve probably already got a hundred different questions jumping around in your head, so let’s go ahead and answer the most obvious one.

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Can He Actually Run for President?

Yes, technically he can.

While other candidates will be attending state conventions, fundraising dinners, and pretending to like Iowa, Exotic has no other choice than to run his campaign entirely from his cell in an Atlanta prison where he is currently service a 21-year sentence for taking part in a murder-for-hire plot.

Honestly, the only difference between him and most people who served as President is that Exotic actually ended up getting arrested for his crimes while the others got away with theirs. I didn’t say which former POTUS either, you’ll have to go figure that one out.

Despite this challenge, Exotic has Nelson Mandela level aspirations. According to his website, “Yes, I know I am in Federal Prison and you might think this is a joke but it’s not. It is my Constitutional right to do this even from here.”

“So put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more than one boyfriend at once, and that Carole hates my guts, this all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice.”

That is where he’s correct– felons can legally run for political office.

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The Road to the White House is Paved With… Something

As of Monday, Exotic’s campaign team is still in need of more staff according to a Twitter post asking for a volunteer graphic designer. Despite this, he’s making decent progress on other fronts.

He has outlined his platform ranging from criminal justice reform to taxes and government corruption. Otherwise, aside from a store selling shirts with his “Make America Exotic” tagline, not much else is going on.

While Exotic might be the most high profile individual to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination in 2024, some within the third party are not pleased.

“We stand for personal and economic freedom, we are not a landing pad for former reality stars and D-list celebrities,” said Libertarian Party Chairwoman Angela McCardle to TMZ.

This isn’t Exotic’s first attempt to seek public office nor the highest office in the land though. He ran for President (kinda, sorta) in 2016 and also ran as a Libertarian for Governor of Oklahoma in 2018.

What are your thoughts on the “Tiger King’s” long shot campaign? Let us know in the comments below.

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