Our fellow contributor, Nico, lives in Argentina. Nico is a former Muslim, and aspiring American. But until America gets smart and starts accepting former Muslims (and Arab Christians) as the true Asylum seekers they are, I guess Nico will have to live in Argentina (and we'll just have to put sit here with all the Muslims our President wants to import into our country).
Because he lives in Argentina, Nico has watched the rise of Argentine President, Mauricio Macri.
Nico sent me the following text in an email.
Mauricio Macri is the son of a millionaire (net worth around 400 million dollars) Francisco Macri. Francisco Macri immigrated to Argentina from Italy at the age of 19 dead broke. With hard work and smarts he was able to make a ton of money in the construction business. Mauricio Macri grew up taking part in his father's business, attending meetings at the age of 13 and learning the ins and outs of the business world and deal making.
Even though he had his future taken care of in his father's company, Mauricio Macri wanted to work for himself. He left his father's company and started doing business on his own. Some time later he campaigned for and became the president of Boca Juniors, one of the most famous soccer clubs of the Argentina. Under his presidency the club flourished and won various championships. Why is this part important? Because soccer clubs in Argentina (and in South America) are extremely important. Imagine soccer clubs here like reality TV in the US, everyone knows your name if you're the president of a club and even more so if you're the president of Boca Juniors.
After being reelected twice as president of Boca Juniors Macri decided to enter politics. At the time there were two main political parties (with countless smaller parties allied or associated with either one of them) The Radicales and The Justicialistas (or Peronistas). This is a terrible example because of how different political ideologies here are compared to the US but think of the Radicales as the Republican Party and think of the Peronistas as the Democrat Party. However, Macri decided to launch his own political party because his political thought and ideas were different from the existing ones offered to the people of Argentina (this is what he thought). He was known as a "right winger" in the media and by his opponents.
He decided to run to become the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires (the capital city and the richest and most important city of Argentina). After losing the election in a runoff in 2003 he announced he was going to run again in 2007. When he announced his plans to run almost universally people said that "it is impossible that the city of Buenos Aires would EVER elect a right winger as their mayor". Against all odds he became the mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007 and then got reelected in 2011. The opposition threw everything against him including inventing court cases against him with judges that were in the pocket of those opposing him.
He did a much better job as mayor of the city than career politicians and in 2013 he announced that instead of running to become the mayor of the city again, he was going to run as candidate for president of Argentina. Obviously that was met with laughter from all corners of politics because "Argentina would NEVER EVER elect a right wing president". Also, everyone said Macri was not popular and virtually unknown in most parts of Argentina other than the capital city. And that he would never be able to beat a "Justicialista" because he was a "xenophobe, racist" (because he had in the past spoken against unchecked illegal immigration from neighboring countries that resulted in countless criminals pouring into Argentina) etc etc.
Anyway, to become president he decided to unite his party with the Radicales. Half of the Radicales were VEHEMENTLY against this "right winger racist" and vowed to never support him. The other half prevailed though and the alliance was formed.
Macri campaigned tirelessly and promised to make Argentina into a great nation. He said Argentina had the potential to be a first world country but because of corrupt politicians, a political system designed to keep people poor and dependent on government and a lack of respect for the rule of law it was relegated to being a third world crap hole. People asked him why the hell he was running for president when he belonged to one of the richest families in Argentina because the assumption was that you only become a politician and run for president if you want to line your pockets and he kept saying that it was because he loved Argentina and believed that with hard work and dedication the country could become one of the best places on the planet.
His message, after years and years of negative attitudes and corruption and the political class ignoring the people, struck a chord with a lot of angry people and they started ignoring attacks against him and started paying attention to what he was offering. All of a sudden he had a fighting chance against the established political machine. He wasn't offering any handouts, in fact he was honest with people (a huge change from the past) saying that things are going to get expensive because the country was broke and all the handouts and subsidies were unsustainable (one example, after him becoming president our electricity bills have increased by about 500%). But people knew he was honest and people were willing to make sacrifices to save their country.
During the campaign, he was attacked from countless sides. His main competitor launched attacks against him like "Macri is going to sell Argentina to the IMF", "Macri is going to privatize all universities, hospitals and public spaces" (we have publicly funded universities here which are a mess by the way), "Macri is white and has blue eyes and so is going to only benefit the rich because he hates poor people" (I swear I'm not making this up. Keep in mind that Argentina is a majority white country, about 80-90% of the population would be considered white but years of anti white propaganda has turned a lot of the nation into self hating idiots). And countless others. Obviously none of this was true but these attacks started to chip away at his support. He was poised to win with a 7-10% margin in the runoff elections but in the end won the presidency with only about 1-1.5% margin.
Before he was elected many people in the media said that they would leave the country if Macri was ever elected president. Obviously none of them did that after he was elected.
During the campaign Macri changed some of his positions after he learned and understood things better. He admitted as much and didn't try to lie his way out of it like a typical politician. Some of his changed views were not welcome by his supporters and some were. However, people stuck with him because he was seen as the best chance to save Argentina from this suicidal path it had been on for so many decades.
However, with all of that, and a tighter than expected elections, he was able to prevail because all of us (even me) were campaigning for him after educating ourselves on who the guy really was. He wasn't perfect, he has a lot of flaws but he was exactly who we needed at the moment to get us out of the mess we were in. He has been president since only December 10, 2015 and already we see a HUGE improvement and everyone who supported him is going to vote for him again in a heart beat.
I see a lot of similarities between Macri and Trump. Both of them are successful and proud of their successes. Both of them are vehemently hated by the established politicians. Both of them have faced a barrage of attacks never seen before but have stood their ground. They love their countries and they want to make their countries great again.
There are differences as well. Macri during the campaign was soft spoken and never had a bad word to say about anyone (except during one of the presidential debate when he lost his cool). Trump on the other hand is outspoken and that's what people love about him. It is understandable though. Macri was trying to calm down the divisiveness and the rhetoric and trying to emulate Europe with politically correct and respectful way of talking whereas Trump is fighting against political correctness and the constant bending over. Argentina needs to be politically correct to deal with the rest of the world whereas America needs to show strength and stop bending over.
Anyway, I hope this email answers your question about Macri. Let me know if there's anything else you wanted to know or if I didn't address your comment.
UPDATE - One very important thing I forgot to mention is that Macri is ideologically flexible. But he's a realist. And that's another quality I see in Trump.