The Lula 3 government’s poor communication

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By ANGELITA MATOS SOUZA*

Poor communication reflects the difficulty in competing with far-right forces on social media

On the 100th day of the Lula 3 government, I published [on GGN] an article entitled “One hundred days of joy”. Would it now be possible to write a text entitled 365 days of joy?

Unfortunately not. At the time, we were at the height of the feeling of relief with the removal of the goat from the room, a feeling that has now dissipated. Furthermore, Brazil is not an island, without communication with the outside world, and the tragedy in Gaza prohibits the word joy when addressing the year 2023. To make matters worse, the brothers elected El loco, Argentina being that brother we criticize , but we don't want to lose it, because it's part of us. And it could continue with more international sadness, but nothing compares to the massacre in Gaza.

However, considering only Brazil, I agree with Celso Rocha de Barros, it is not possible to classify as bad a year that started with an attempted coup and ended with a tax reform. During which it was possible to sleep without fear of waking up in a dictatorship, or of experiencing some great international shame (yes, I care about foreigners' eyes).

As they say, “Brazil is back”, it is no longer a pariah on the international scene, largely because the government “broke with the rupture” in the fight against deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which has cooled down, bringing hope for the preservation of the environment. Furthermore, the president is a charismatic leader, whose biography enchants the world.

From a political-institutional and economic point of view, relations with the Legislature flowed, expensively, but the so-called governability was present. As well as the growth of the economy, contrary to all market forecasts, unemployment fell. It probably could have been better, had it not been for market forecasts that discouraged investments, not to mention high interest rates. In this context, the new tax framework seemed to me to be the possible answer.

Many people wrote about the positive aspects of the first year of the Lula 3 government, I will not be repetitive, and I will only note one negative aspect highlighted by several analysts: poor communication, reflected in the stability of the government's approval ratings, which were barely satisfactory.

It is likely to improve when the effects of various political initiatives in the socioeconomic field begin to appear throughout this year. For now, political polarization remains intense and the feeling of material well-being is insufficient to increase the government's approval ratings.

Poor communication reflects the difficulty in competing with far-right forces on social media, since the main instrument used by them is spectacularization based on outright lies. A social democratic government must combat this underworld and not enter it. During the campaign, a certain concession to Janonism was useful, but enough is enough. The fact is that the government is unlikely to win on social media, but it certainly has incompetence in conducting communication, and it is possible to improve.

In turn, the traditional media acts with a gun pointed at the Lula 3 government, any deviation from the desires of that market, they send fire. See how they criticized the president's statements about high interest rates. In this war, I even discovered an advantage in the independence of the Central Bank, not that I will defend it, however I appreciated hearing President Lula criticize the high interest rate policy throughout 2023. Something impossible in the Lula 1 and 2 governments.

Now I imagine that when the president speaks against a directive this has weight, much more than the same criticism from heterodox economists. I eagerly await the post-Bob Central Bank, including (or above all) because I study the structural limits imposed by situations of dependence, opposed to political will, and I root for it (but I tend to lose).  

Finally, if market forecasts are correct in relation to 2024 and GDP growth disappoints, I think that electorally it will not be very serious, as two years are enough to turn the tide and win the elections with the expansion of spending and the State machine in hands. Bolsonaro lost because his government was very bad, especially in handling the pandemic, and the opponent was Lula. He also did not have the support of the Biden government for coup exits

Lula, on the other hand, is quite capable of winning over Trump (if he returns) and, internally, I believe it would help if the PT renounced its hegemonism and formed a ticket headed by someone from another party. I'm not even thinking about re-election because I think octogenarians shouldn't carry the weight of a presidency. But if you don't have it, go yourself.

*Angelita Matos Souza is a political scientist and professor at the Institute of Geosciences and Exact Sciences at Unesp. [https://amzn.to/47t2Gfg]

Originally published on GGN.


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