The election and its challenges

Image: Kendall Hoopes


The confrontation with the extreme right may not only be electoral

Recent electoral polls of voting intentions approximately repeat the results of previous ones. Lula comfortably wins in the second round, being able to win in the first by a tight margin. This possibility has become more difficult in recent months, which was attributed, among other factors, to the release of public money from the secret budget to benefit parliamentarians and their electorate, the votes received with the withdrawal of candidate Moro, as well as the relative slowdown of the pandemic that caused Bolsonaro great political distress. On the other hand, relentless inflation, mainly in energy and food prices, weighs unfavorably on candidate Bolsonaro.

But not everything can be explained by economics. The late political scientist Wanderley Guilherme dos Santos said that, in Brazil, 30% vote for the right, 30% vote for the left, and 40% constitute the floating electorate. In 2018, Bolsonaro captured the votes of the right and most of this fluctuating electorate. Now, in 2022, electoral polls indicate a significant loss in this last segment. A much smaller loss will be made by the right-wing electorate that identifies with its retrograde view of authoritarianism, misogyny, homophobia, sexism, intolerance of difference and complete ignorance, with regard to human survival, of the role of natural resources and of nature, seen only as an object to be destroyed in the name of progress.

Among the few certainties of the 2022 election campaign is the polarization between the two main candidates, since the various attempts at a third way with a centrist candidate did not prosper. The Lula-Alckmin candidacy occupied the center, in the same way that the candidate Bolsonaro, from the far right, tends to receive the still hesitant votes from the traditional right, but with important losses in relation to the 2018 election. centre-left, with support from the center, against an extreme right plate, with support from the right.

The resounding failure of the Bolsonaro government, with the destruction of public health, education, science, culture, environment, foreign policy, etc. control, led to the loss of support in some segments of the business community. And, with regard to solid military support, there are also cracks there, given the demoralization of the Armed Forces by the outrageous actions and excesses of the current government in several areas, with emphasis on the retrograde anti-scientific attitude of sabotaging the vaccine, and the supply, with public money, about 35 Viagra pills and penile prostheses for the military. Added to all this are the corruption scandals of evangelical pastors who charged bribes to distribute funds from the National Education Development Fund, the violence of illegal loggers and miners, the genocide of indigenous peoples, the illegal advance, but with official support, of the militiamen in the cities, etc.

Given this situation, it can be said that the Lula x Bolsonaro polarization will not be altered by any third-party candidacy that will play a secondary role. The electoral framework is defined: the struggle takes place between democracy x dictatorship, civilization x barbarism. It will be up to the democratic forces, however, to take advantage of the moment of the political struggle during the electoral campaign to defend workers' rights, trampled underfoot since the Temer government, after the parliamentary coup that overthrew President Dilma. In addition, fighting for the reduction of social inequality that has increased scandalously in recent years, as well as for the rescue of national sovereignty.

It will be necessary, during the campaign, not to leave doubts or entertain illusions. The next government will face a serious economic crisis that is already manifesting itself all over the world. It is the threatening marriage of inflation and recession, that is, stagnation with inflation, called stagflation. In Brazil, this situation will be aggravated by the ongoing deindustrialization, high unemployment rates, dismantling of State institutions, suppression of public policies, privatizations against the national interest, among other factors.

In 2023, the new government will find itself, right from the start, at a crossroads. On the one hand, the political and economic forces that defend neoliberalism and its proposal to concentrate public resources on the market and empty the State, using as a pretext the dogmas of fiscal adjustment, spending ceilings and balancing public accounts to avoid State investment. in economics, finally, the thesis of the minimum State and the maximum Market.

It is important to point out that neoliberalism has failed all over the world, but remains predominant in Brazil. In the US, President Biden's government will invest 1 trillion and 200 billion dollars in the economy, mainly in infrastructure and technology. There has never been a minimal state there, the US government has always financed scientific research that resulted in new technologies in various areas, from space to digital.

Neoliberalism has the support of the financial market, large national and international investors, the media mainstream and most of the military. This path has led Brazil to its current status as a peripheral country, with great inequality, exporting primary products and commodities. Poverty and misery increased, as did the number of billionaires. The project of national industrialization, initiated by Vargas and resumed by the PT governments, was abandoned after the impeachment of President Dilma.

Another way is for the State to reassume its central role in the planning and execution of public investments, aiming at a sustainable socioeconomic development, supported by the great wealth of natural resources in Brazil that are currently being destroyed in a predatory way for the profit of a few. This is what is expected of the government elected in 2022, which should, at the international level, adopt an independent foreign policy, no longer based on vassalage in relation to US interests, but centered on national interests.

Before that, however, Brazil will face a major political crisis. In the electoral campaign, opposition parties and the Electoral Court itself will no longer be surprised by the dissemination of tens of millions of fake news by robots, as happened in 2018. And the opposition has started to make better use of social media, although it still has a long way to go. way to go. Faced with this new situation, Bolsonaro has already given several demonstrations that he will not accept the results of the polls if he loses the election. One cannot predict what he will do, what kind of coup he will try with his support base, but nobody believes that he will pass the presidential sash to the winner and wish him luck.

Bolsonaro is a corrupt politician, linked to Centrão, ignorant, incompetent, cafajeste, with neo-Nazi ideology and wants to be a dictator. His fascist project is threatened with his electoral defeat. During the campaign, he has already started distributing benefits and favors, which helped to improve his position in the electoral polls. If he wins the election, the current regime of exception – with part of the Judiciary and the Public Ministry committed to the current government and involved in various practices of lawfare – will quickly turn into a frank and open dictatorship, with the destruction of democracy and human rights.

Everything indicates that the winner is Lula. And that the confrontation with the extreme right may not only be electoral. This will probably be the biggest challenge of the election campaign.

*Liszt Vieira is a retired professor at PUC-RJ. Author, among other books, of Identity and globalization (Record).

Originally published on the website Other words.

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