Avalanche of false kindnesses

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By MARIO VITOR SANTOS*

Delay and modernity are articulated in Bolsonarism in a montage that points to a real threat

The resilience of support for Bolsonaro among a relevant portion of the population is an enigma that is difficult to solve. Support for him has steadily dropped throughout this year to a certain level that varies between 22 and 33%. After decreasing until then, the bleeding has stopped, it does not give up, despite the deterioration of the economy, the increase in deaths in the pandemic and the increase in the bombardment of the corporate media.

For some observers, including all Bolsonaristas, support for the president would “certainly” be greater than the polls indicate. This is a questionable judgment, based only on subjective impressions. And even so, with a certain dose of paranoia and superstition, support for the president seems, at least in certain contexts, stronger, tougher and willing to take risks than the conservative media reports and opinion polls show.

One sees in the streets, in Uber, the “spontaneous” engagement of “ordinary people”, more or less informed, with constituted ideas about the topics to be debated. They act under some kind of set of ideas, seem to obey a discipline, as was recently seen in the organized retreat after the trance of the acts of September 7th.

Stubborn coup voices, encouraged by the president's appeals against STF ministers, in favor of closing the Court and Congress, fell silent in obedience to an order from above. There was revolt against this, quickly hushed up as to avoid exposure.

Who are the militants of this organization, which is perhaps bigger, operative and discreet than one might suppose? How do much more modern forms of communication move than this “backward” social base and its values ​​would suppose?

Delay and modernity are articulated in this Bolsonarism in a montage that points to a real threat. There is a danger not even dreamed of by those who already think Bolsonaro is a certain defeat in the election, perhaps even in the first round.

Maybe not. Because of yet another reading error (in 2018, the left did not lose because of fake news, but because the right read the people's feelings better), the repetition of a nightmare may be brewing.

What can be called the “common man” is an essential part of Bolsonarism. He is the typical "good" man, whose externally kind personality has religious overtones. Your outward signs of goodness are a powerful political attraction. That force that is identified in the optimistic fervor of the temples goes on in the streets and turns the key to politics when necessary.

This character, as we have seen so many times, abandons his usual passivity to release extreme hatred against all kinds of modernizing pretensions in the shares.

Revolutions in customs, academic titles, humane treatment of crime suspects, accusations of corruption, secularism in general, are in the sights of the increasingly trained senses of the common man and are used as factors of bonding with Bolsonaro. It is a conscious contest against an enemy in the context of a correlation of forces. This is right-wing “Leninism”, in the words of Steve Bannon.

In elections, it's about turning that fervor into votes bypassing any conventional circuit. It is the time when conservative fanaticism, its udenist moralism, its “goodness” are channeled by increasingly professional structures. The most sophisticated equipment enters the scene, the most recent techniques supplied and amalgamated with the structures of advanced companies.

This “professional”, hierarchical, digital and insular Bolsonarism, absolutely shielded from what is outside of it, will be a factor of great influence in the approach of the elections, and may once again surprise analysts and research institutes.

Electoral trend changes in 2018 without apparent explanation do not compare to what may happen in 2022, as knowledge of consumer behavior, digital marketing tools, the technical use of artificial intelligence has advanced a lot in four years, becoming much more effective and even less detectable than they were in 2018, causing the unexpected turn and damage that everyone knows.

These are techniques used by companies listed on the stock exchange in the United States and Brazil, with market values ​​that have multiplied a hundredfold in these four years. And they will be at the service of Bolsonarism. Forget what was seen in 2018, as everything will once again be subverted. Anyone who imitates what was used in past elections will be outclassed.

Meanwhile, institutes, analysts, the conservative and left-wing media crawl, stuck in the old languages ​​and forms of action, accommodating themselves to static scenarios typical of the old public sphere, using the rosy numbers of Datafolha and Ipec to not see the real threat that awaits them without rest.

There is no shortage of militancy: Bolsonaro has 3,5 million followers on Youtube against Lula's 350. On Telegram, there are 1 million against Lula's meager 37 thousand. On Facebook, the distance is smaller: 11 million against 4 for Lula. If this simple survey doesn't scare you, think about the delay of the Lulista digital campaign and the state of the art of data intelligence that will be at the service of the neo-fascist. It's time to wake up.

*Mario Vitor Santos is a journalist.

Originally published on the portal Brazil 247.

 

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