Image: Hamilton Grimaldi


The only way to prevent Bolsonaro's re-election is to intensify day-to-day political work

After the municipal elections, attention turns to 2022. This is the trap of electoral politics, which channels our energies and our hopes into a structurally biased dispute in favor of who controls money and information.

It is easy to predict that Bolsonaro will be in the second round, starting with about a third of the votes. Today he has no party, but he has the strength given him by the presidential business desk and the attraction exercised by the favorites. In addition to the small parties allied with it, such as the PRTB and Patriota, it already has the Republicans and probably the Progressives and PTB. In short, he is an incumbent president, running for re-election, with a strong party base. He can be expected to get somewhere between 35 and 40% of the votes in the first round.

The part of the PSL that broke away from Bolsonaro will be between getting back together with him or following the path of Alexandre Frota and joining Doria. Still on the extreme right, Novo, with the growth of its Bolsonarist wing, will arrive at the election under enormous tension. The policy turned out to be more complicated than Itaú's ironies imagined.

The reduction in the size of the PSDB in the municipal elections frustrated Dória's claim to establish himself as the undisputed name of the right that now wants to appear democratic. It is difficult for the toucans to be able to satisfy all the allies they need to boost the candidacy of the governor of São Paulo (MDB, PSD and DEM).

It is likely that some of these parties will seek their own alternative to the right (Luciano Huck, the increasingly unlikely Sérgio Moro or another) and/or embark on the canoe of Ciro Gomes, who intends to establish himself as a name for the “center” – which is why he deliberately distances itself from the PT.

It is unlikely that a maneuver like that of Lula in 2018, which suppressed PSB support for Ciro, will succeed again. But Ciro will also have to be able to sew together multiple supports, projecting the image that he is capable of overcoming his ceiling (around 12% of the votes). The poor performance of the PDT in past elections does not help.

It is to be expected, therefore, that three or four candidacies, in principle, would be competitive, trying to occupy the mythical space of the “center”, which leads to not very good prognoses for all of them.

On the left, there is only room for a competitive candidacy, which will concentrate the votes. It will be the candidacy that Lula supports – today, it seems, that of Fernando Haddad. The stock of votes that Lulism is able to mobilize is around 25%. What is more likely, therefore, is a new runoff between Bolsonaro and a candidate supported by Lula.

In him, if all the signs are to be believed, the right that wants to be democratic will again throw all scruples to the winds and will support the former captain, some more happily, others more ashamed. With the media in his favor, businessmen, pastors, the public machine, the fake news factories – behold, Bolsonaro wins a new mandate. Now, who knows, with Damares from Vice: representativeness is everything, isn't it?

How do we stop this?

It is not moving the pieces in the electoral chess. In it, vanities and short-term interests prevail, which the prevailing uncertainties only exacerbate. Even the left's submission to the new center embodied in Cyrus, which I see many defending out of desperation and which has harmful effects strong enough to be ill-advised, does not lead to any guarantee of success.

Nor is expecting a silver bullet. Many have already emerged: jet leaks, threats to the Supreme Court, Queiroz, coronavirus. None worked. Whoever put Bolsonaro in power – and I'm not talking about his voters – he knows very well what he wants and that's why he prefers to keep it.

The only way to prevent Bolsonaro's re-election is to intensify day-to-day political work, organizing the vast sectors that are victims of the current government to resist and fight against the twin scourges of authoritarianism and neoliberalism. This is the work to be done. The electoral result may be a consequence of it, but it is not its only horizon. Politics goes far beyond the ballot box.

If we manage to defeat Bolsonaro, we will need mobilization to ensure that a democratic government is truly capable of governing. If he is replaced by a less caricatured right or any “center”, mobilization will be necessary to prevent us from simply having a neoliberal policy with a smile on our face.

And if unfortunately he wins once more, lulled by the approval of the polls for an even more destructive second term, that is exactly where our resistance will be more necessary than ever.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB, where he coordinates the Research Group on Democracy and Inequalities (Demodê). Author, among other books, of Domination and resistance: challenges for an emancipatory policy (Boitempo).


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