I knew the more conservative candidate had won the presidential runoff in Chile the moment I read the headline on Yahoo!’s home page: President-elect’s victory could complicate Chile’s diplomacy. The AP also does seem to cast conservative victories in a negative light.
Writer Michael Warren was quick to link the people’s choice to a previous (and much maligned) military dictator of the South American nation:
Pinera’s election victory Sunday night ends two decades of uninterrupted rule by a center-left coalition, and returns to power the same political parties that provided civic support for Augusto Pinochet’s brutal 1973-1990 dictatorship.
For all Pinochet’s faults–and they were many–he did restore capitalism and democracy to his country. It continues to be one of the most prosperous nations in our hemisphere, in large measure because that center-left coalition, like a certain former certain-left American president, did not undermine the free market reforms of a previous bogeyman of the left, though the American one at least had a popular mandate.