They say history repeats itself, but let’s hope that doesn’t mean America is turning into Argentina.
There are some disquieting omens that it may be, though. Their names are (or, were) Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Colonel and Mrs. Juan Domingo Perón.
Let’s start with Juan and Don. The late South American strongman and the current GOP frontrunner share a number of attributes: both are masters of collectivist campaign techniques (e.g. fostering personality cults, skillfully using mass media for political manipulation, and making big empty promises at huge get-out-the-vote rallies).
And, when you get right down to it, Perón’s biggest promise was to “Make Argentina Great Again.”
The reality, though, is that he and his disciples in subsequent decades actually ruined a once-great country. In the process, they also badly damaged the rule of law. Authoritarian regimes are not terribly fond of checks and balances on their political powers — such as those exercised by independent and conscientious judges.