The election in Sao Paulo

Image_Marcio Costa


Nothing is more important than defeating Bolsonaro and his accomplices, and paving the way for the left in a second round as opposition leader.

These elections will be different from all other elections since 1986. Because in the presidency of the Republic is a neo-fascist whose strategy is to impose a historic defeat on the workers and oppressed. The central task of the left is to talk to millions of voters to explain that the pandemic deaths and mass unemployment were not a fatality, but a disaster caused by Bolsonaro. Denouncing this dramatic experience, even if diminished by the impact of emergency aid, is the key for the left to qualify as an opposition. There is also a more politicized current in society that rejects Bolsonaro because he is anti-fascist.

Nothing is more important than defeating Bolsonaro and his accomplices, and paving the way for the left in a second round as opposition leader. Each city in which the left is victorious must be transformed into a trench to contain the reactionary offensive, and open the way for Bolsonaro's defeat.

When we think, from a historical perspective, since the XNUMXs, the pattern of votes in the capital of São Paulo, it is not difficult to recognize that there are three major political currents with social roots in the city. An extreme right that relies on bourgeois fractions and sectors of the proprietary middle class that identified itself, for two decades, with malufismo, today inherited by Bolsonarism; a left that expressed itself through the PT, and was supported in the XNUMXs by the organized sectors of the working class, but expanded its influence in the XNUMXs to middle sectors with high levels of education and, above all, after Lula's victory, to the popular semi-proletariat in periphery; and the toucanate of the PSDB, the main representation in the last thirty years of the most powerful fraction of the bourgeoisie, and which has the support of the majority of the middle class.

The extreme right won in 1985 with Janio Quadros, in 1992 with Maluf, and in 1996 with his protégé Pitta. Mario Covas was mayor appointed by Montoro between 1983/85. The PSDB won with José Serra in 2004, being replaced by Gilberto Kassab in 2006, who was re-elected by a rental party in 2008, and won with Doria in 2016, in the first round, being replaced by Bruno Covas in 2018. The PT won elections three times: in 1988 with Luísa Erundina, in 2000 with Marta Suplicy, and in 2012 with Fernando Haddad.

A political cycle of three and a half decades of electoral regime allows a look into historical perspective. During this stage, there were many oscillations in the power relations between the classes, some favorable that increased the support of the left, others unfavorable for the workers and their allies, which harmed it. Class struggle is the key to making sense of political struggle. A periodization can be useful to understand electoral fluctuations:

(a) we had a rise of proletarian and student struggles, between 1978/81, followed by a fragile stabilization, after the defeat of the ABC strike until 1984, when a new wave infected the nation with the campaign for Diretas Já, and sealed the negotiated end of the military dictatorship, and the PT disputed the leadership of the opposition

(b) a new stabilization between 1985/86 with the inauguration of Tancredo/Sarney and the Cruzado Plan, and a new peak of popular mobilizations, headed by the power of a CUT supported by the strength of combative unions, against the superinflation that culminated with the Erundina's victory in 1988, and the electoral campaign that took Lula to the 1989 second round;

(c) a new brief stabilization, with the expectations generated by Plano Collor, and a new wave from May 1992 onwards, boosted by unemployment and, now, hyperinflation that culminated in the campaign for Fora Collor, but it was not enough to stop Maluf's electoral victory in São Paulo.

(d) a much longer-lasting stabilization with the inauguration of Itamar and the Plano Real, an unfavorable inflection towards a defensive situation after the defeat of the oil workers' strike in 1995, and a reelection of the extreme right in São Paulo with Pitta, and two terms of FHC in the presidency;

(e) resistance struggles between 1995/99, and a resumption of the mobilization capacity that grew, in August of that year, with the demonstration of the hundred thousand by Fora FHC, and culminated in the victory of Marta Suplicy in 2000, but interrupted by the expectation of the leadership of the PT and the CUT that a victory in the electoral horizon of 2002 would require a policy of alliances, which would not be possible in a context of social radicalization;

(f) social stabilization over the ten years of coalition governments led by the PT, and defeats for the PSDB in 2004 and 2008, even though the PT reached the second round in both, and won with Haddad in 2012, until in 2013 a mindless explosion of popular protest took millions to the streets, a process interrupted in the first half of 2014;

(g) finally, a very unfavorable reversal with the giant reactionary mobilizations of the middle class inflated by the Lava Jato denouncements, between March 2015 and March 2016, when a few million offered support for the legal-parliamentary coup that overthrew Dilma Rousseff, the devastating defeat in the 2016 municipal elections, the opening of a reactionary situation and the election of Bolsonaro.

The worst moment of the extreme right was in 2008, after the disaster of Pitta and three consecutive defeats of Paulo Maluf that fell from 17% in 2000, to 12% in 2004 and 6% in 2008. Although Celso Russomano in 2012 managed occupying part of this space, with almost 22%, the extreme right did not recover, until in 2015/16 it gained an audience in the marches on Avenida Paulista, and was essential for electing Doria mayor in the first round, and Bolsonaro's victory in 2018 .

The PSDB's worst moment was in 2000 when, at the height of the wear and tear of the FHC government, the toucans' vote with Serra was reduced to 17%. They recovered in 2004 with 43,5%, they fell to 22,5% in 2008, but it must be remembered that the election was won by Kassab who was a sublegend of Serra, and although they won the first round with Serra in 2012 with 30% , lost at the turn of the second round to Haddad's PT, by 44% to 55%. Its peak was the election of Dória, in the first round, in 2016 with more than 53% in the first round.

The PT's worst moment was in 2016 with Haddad trying for re-election with 16,7%. In 1992 Suplicy had 30,6% and lost to Maluf in the second round, but reached 42%. In 1996 Erundina lost to Pitta with 22,8% in the first round, and 37,7% in the second. In 2000 Marta Suplicy was ahead of Maluf in the first round with 34,4% and won in the second with 58,5%In 2004 Marta had 35,8% in the first round and 45% in the second. In 2008 Marta had 32% in the first, but only reached 39% in the second. In 2012 PT was in second place with 29,7%, one percent behind Serra, but won the upset in the second round with 55% to 44% for Serra.

There are two electoral moments, depending on the two shifts. The results suggest that the extreme right, in the first round, has a floor of 6% and an average ceiling of 18%, the toucans a floor of 17% and an average ceiling of 30%, and the PT a floor of 17%. and an average ceiling of 30%, due to fluctuations that depend on the political situation.

The results of the first round for president in 2018 in the capital deserve to be remembered: Bolsonaro 44,58%, Haddad 19,70%, Ciro Gomes 14,83%, Alckmin 8,79%, and Boulos 1,21% But, in the second turn, Bolsonaro won 60,38% and Haddad 39,62%. In other words, Alckmin's vote shifted entirely to Bolsonaro.

The elections are still in a framework of great unpredictability. Who will be the candidates who will go to the second round? We will have more than fifteen candidates, but there will only be three major political camps. Bolsonarism, the liberal opposition, and the left-wing opposition. Only two of them will go to the second round. Bolsonarism revealed immense resilience, even at the height of the pandemic crisis, it is experiencing a recovery trend that is expressed in approval of 42% among men, 45% among those aged 35 to 44, and 58% among entrepreneurs, but do not have an organic application. The liberal opposition has the candidacy, at the moment, favored for a place in the second round. The left-wing opposition has social roots and tradition in the city, it can benefit from a mass current with anti-fascist reservations, but it is going through a process of reorganization.

It is not known, for now, who Bolsonaro will support. On the extreme right, Joyce's fury will face the crazy Levy Fidelis, and the delirious Artur, Mom I spoke. It is not the most likely hypothesis that the extreme right wave of 2018 will be repeated in São Paulo in 2020. Evidently, the historical series indicates that the extreme right cannot be underestimated in the capital of São Paulo. But a Bolsonarism party was not organized, there are several candidacies vying for the same space, and the government of Bruno Covas maintains high approval rates, and should drag a portion of the Bolsonarist vote.

Halfway between Covas and the left, Márcio França must sink. He will not be able to occupy the same place as in 2018, for two reasons: (a) because the vote of the middle sectors that did not want to reinforce the BolsoDória campaign, will return to the PSDB with Covas; (b) because the useful vote of sectors historically related to the PT that it managed to attract must return to the left. It should boil down to a platform for Ciro Gomes in 2020, because the dispute tends to be concentrated between the extreme right, the toucans and the left.

Finally, on the left, the power and legitimacy of the candidacy of Boulos/Erundina for the PSol can displace the historical leadership of the PT, as happened in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 with Freixo

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Revolution meets history (Shaman).


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