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By JEAN MARC VON DER WEID*

We have to stay alert and prepared to respond to any attempt to spoil the game. Now it's thirteen and then it's people on the street

In this final stretch, it seems that the clouds are dissipating or are concentrating on the headquarter of the madman. Polls point to a slightly increasing difference in the perspective of voting for Lula compared to voting for Jair Bolsonaro. 6 to 7% difference. Jair Bolsonaro and his minions are messing around and producing mass factoids, hastily and clumsily. The clash of heads in the field of government supporters is happening in plain sight. Panic seems set in and rising.

It is said that the best assessment of elections in England is made by bookmakers. Bettors' reflexes don't usually fail. In our case, the bookmakers are the operators of the stock market. With an absolutely strange reflex for people who should know how to assess the economy's prospects, our market gods freak out at every news item confirming Lula's favoritism. In recent days, the stock market has been consistently falling and the dollar rising, a sign that Lula is making progress on his march to Brasília.

The mass accessions from the top floor this last week also point in the same direction and the big businessmen are jumping out of the leaky canoe of Bolsonarism. They are better able to assess economic prospects than bookies from the market.

Jair Bolsonaro's last breath of hope is in the abstention rates, as the bet on taking the 800 Luzema votes from the first round in Minas Gerais is being frustrated, with the 5% advantage for Lula remaining firm in the polls. Two of the surveys explored the expectation of abstention and the result was stable in relation to the first round, and may even be lower. For Bolsonaro to have any chance of sticking with Lula, abstention would have to jump from just over 20% in the first round to 30% in the second, and this simply never happened. Even if it happens, Lula will still have one to two million fat votes.

Bolsonaro felt the pressure and resumed his maneuvers to spoil the game. He tried to force the postponement of the second round and received a heavy blowback from the TSE, which opened an investigation into the attempt to disturb the elections. The measure was quite desperate, because even if the postponement happened, he would gain a few more days to try to recover what he could not achieve in a month.

Jair Bolsonaro is left with the craziest maneuver; watering down the elections, refusing to accept the results and forcing an institutional crisis. Due to the behavior of its allies in the congress, this possibility is remote. Centrão's leaders have shown that any attempt at an institutional coup will not find shelter in the Chamber and Senate. There would need to be a huge movement of revolt by Bolsominions in the days after the election to justify a State of Siege.

We can expect disturbances of order during the vote and in the days that follow. Bolsonaro has already appealed to his militia troops to remain alert to start provocations as soon as the results are proclaimed. Truckers are circulating directions for their troops to stand ready to shut down the highways, their armed militants to act, and their cattle to take to the streets. But the weather is not favorable.

In this second round, the streets and squares were taken over by Lulista militancy across the country and the Bolsominions flinched. An attempt at provocation in Rio de Janeiro gave total xabú. Summoned to take over one of the strongholds of the left in this city, Praça São Salvador, the provocateurs appeared in small numbers and “occupied” a square that left-wing militancy emptied and made a ridiculous racket, to the booing of residents of neighboring buildings. A conflict was avoided, but it was even excessive care, because if the square was full of lulistas, the handful of boçais would not even appear.

A coup-like maneuver would demand a decisive position from the army commanders, pressuring congress to vote on the State of Siege and/or the annulment of the elections. The impromptu meeting of ministers convened by Bolsonaro yesterday was a hit and it seems that the thing was furious. There were few ministers, but the commanders of the FFAA were there, which indicates that any more aggressive maneuver must not have been supported by them. The president's face in his communication with the press was one of dismay, the mirror of defeat both at the ballot box and in the intention of spoiling the game. After having summoned the press, implying that he would do something shocking, he just whined about the insertions of Bolsonarista propaganda on half a dozen radio stations in the interior of the northeast and north, saying he was a victim of the TSE, he lowered his tone and said that their lawyers were going to appeal to the STF.

In this climate of defeat, it will be difficult to launch your troops of provocateurs, attacking whatever it is, after the elections. The “ball or ball” tactic ended up going wrong, because by betting on an electoral victory or, at least, a defeat by a minimum margin of votes, he failed to mobilize his followers in a fierce and active way. The result was a second-round campaign, in which what he called DataPovo, the mobilization of masses of followers, did not happen and it was the Lulista militancy that took to the streets. Clashes and provocations were minimal and Bolsonarism fell on the defensive.

Are we “hands in the cup”? It would be reckless to say that, as we may still have some scare with movements not noticed in the polls, but the probability now plays against Bolsonaro. And the most important thing for the democratic camp in this final stretch is to expand the margin of votes to the maximum in order to neutralize any coup-mongering. And be ready to react to any post-election attempt by the madman. Taking over the streets and squares in celebration of the victory will be extremely important as a deterrent to the possible Bolsominion offensive on the 30th and the following days.

We are not free from acts of desperate madness by Jair Bolsonaro, but the likelihood of massive national unrest is getting slimmer by the day. And without that, the pretext for any military pronouncement will be lacking. But we have to stay alert and prepared to respond to any attempt to spoil the game.

Now it's thirteen and then it's people on the street.

*Jean Marc von der Weid is a former president of the UNE (1969-71). Founder of the non-governmental organization Family Agriculture and Agroecology (ASTA).

 

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