Election 2020: no winners and losers

Image: Silvia Faustino Saes
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By IGOR GRABOIS & LEONARDO SACRAMENTO*

There are no winners and losers, as it is more likely that we are witnessing a new stage of the institutional crisis that started in 2013

It has become commonplace in the corporate press to expose in bold letters, as did the Folha de São Paulo, the defeat of Bolsonaro and the defeat of the left – read PT. Bolsonaro is classified as right-wing, following the editorial recommendation of the Folha group in the 2018 election, in which it forced all journalists to classify Bolsonaro as a right-wing politician, not an extreme right-wing one. As a matter of fact, the order was that he would no longer be classified as a far-right politician.

In newspaper texts there is a purposeful confusion between extreme right, right and Bolsonarism, in which, many times, the three become synonyms. This linguistic-political move has the ability to position all right-wing parties to the center and transform all left-wing parties into an antagonistic pole to Bolsonarism, but of the same face, as Hayek and Friedman did with Nazism and Communism. That is, purposeful confusion and classification are a kind of denialism. The move is helped by the inexistence of a revolutionary left that manages to place itself decently in the electoral and political scene, which allows the PT to transform itself into an extreme left without being explicitly said. It is the said for the unsaid.

In this way, the DEM, the former PFL and Arena, the party of generals and businessmen, including the Marinho, Frias and Mesquita families, becomes the center of texts in the printed, media and television media of the same families. Moro, the lavajatista defender of the exclusion of illegality, and Huck, the entrepreneur of Brazilian misery, become presidential candidates from the center. Republicans and the PP, preferred parties of pastors and police from paramilitary groups, are also transformed into a democratic center. In other words, the right wing that supported Bolsonarism became a political center.

This new political “center” would have been the big winner of the 2020 election, according to the media and their analysts. Indeed, it was, but let's ignore the artificial spectrum created by billionaire families who became more billionaires in the pandemic. The right was the big winner, or rather, the traditional right that supports Bolsonarism and will continue to support it until the last “structural reform” that is possible on the blood of Brazilian workers. Bolsonaro lost as a political figure, but he did not lose completely as Bolsonarism became institutionalized in the traditional right-wing parties. It is fully possible to see a Bolsonarization of the victory of the right, without disagreements with rentism. For the executive, those with tradition won, they distanced themselves from Bolsonaro, but did not distance themselves from Bolsonarism. Defending the obviousness of the implementation of restrictive measures in the face of the second wave of Covid-19 was prohibitive in all municipal disputes, and Dória’s delay on the pandemic classification, probably at the request of Covas, is an undisputed element of this fine and complex relationship, in that people died in the meantime so that some continuity candidacies would gain more viability – which is also on Barroso's account. As for the legislature, the election had completely different conditions, as shown in the text Two Elections, published on this website.

It can be concluded that Bolsonarism left some constructs, some quantitatively intangible balance. The winner of the elections was Centrão, the amorphous group of right-wing parties, an arm of the Bolsonarist anti-politics created by Eduardo Cunha. As the Centrão does not have a political project and power project that do not escape the mere accommodation of regional leaders, hence the identity of the MDB with the group, it is more plausible and safe to say that there are no big winners. The mayors of a PP will not necessarily support any PP candidate for 2022, and so it is for all the parties that make up this amorphous group. The logic of accommodating municipal and regional leaders of the Centrão parties does not follow the logic of the ideological spectrum, much less democratic centralism or mere centralism.

The PP, the creation of the “child of the dictatorship”, increased the number of city halls, but it is difficult to imagine that this increase results in any political balance greater than the increase in city halls itself. It is probably a victory that ends in victory itself, without providing new victories. Any analysis that restricts itself to the number of municipalities to declare winners and losers is reductionist. In all small municipalities and most medium-sized municipalities, disputes and local institutional forms of political composition count much more than national and state issues, if not completely. That is why the alliance of a PSL with the PT is not absurd in a small town. Often, the only criterion for candidacy is the existence of a municipal directory. In this election, the medium parties won because the big parties are in crisis, not because they have become big. The victory of the amorphous and diffuse group of right-wing parties, the Centrão, means nothing more than the victory of pulverizing the political-electoral process.

In this scenario, there are no winners and losers, as it is more likely that we are witnessing a new stage of the institutional crisis that began in 2013, with some attempt at accommodation by right-wing parties. The concern of the left should be focused on two parties, and not on the fatalistic conclusions of the media about the infamous “center”. The first is the DEM, the party that mechanically represents the project of market power. It is the party that provides Bolsonaro with the greatest institutional support, whether shelving all impeachment requests, transforming Rodrigo Maia into the new General Shelter of the Republic, or guiding and articulating with Centrão all market reforms, such as Social Security Reform, Administrative, Central Bank independence, Expenditure Ceiling and War Budget. Without DEM, with Maia and Alcolumbre, there is no other party that could articulate this set of reforms with Centrão. It is the party that articulates the continuity coup of the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate with part of the Centrão, the market and the business community. If there is any party that the increase in city halls could perhaps be seen as a victory, it is the DEM, as it is the most institutionalized of all the infamous and proclaimed “winners”. It's the one with the most power.

The other party is the PSDB, which despite having lost city halls – which is of little importance to it –, won the city hall of São Paulo. The most audacious movement for 2022 is, without a doubt, from the São Paulo party – and it is the one that could go the most wrong. Dória was a Bolsonarist in the campaign, generating reactions within the party. She was a Bolsonarist in her first year, when she gave vent to the black genocide, stating that “the policeman must shoot to kill” and that he would have “access to the best lawyers”. The authorization allowed for an increase in police lethality, which provoked crises in the government, which, under the risk of losing control over the police, applied some measures contrary to the first Doria, with much more media appeal than real. At the time of the first peak of Covid-19, it presented itself as a right-wing opposition to Bolsonaro, without disruption, as shown in the São Paulo Plan, a plan for “returning the economy”, as it says, and not for containing the pandemic. This plan solved, as if by magic, the closing of stores amid demonstrations by merchants through conceptual changes little discussed by the press. It was enough to have beds: how many deaths they would have mattered little, as long as they died in a hospital bed. Such changes also occurred just when the first opinion polls on the approval of governors came out, giving it increased rejection and decreased approval. In a survey by Datafolha, published at the end of September, Dória had a rejection of 39% and Bolsonaro of 46%, while the approval of the first was 21% and the second of 29%. And as the election proved, Bolsonaro does not enjoy good standing in the city of São Paulo.

Politically invested in the Coronovac vaccine. And it will be with her that Dória will try to leave São Paulo, presenting himself as Oswaldo Cruz da Berrini, at the same time as he will seek to recover the approval lost in the pandemic in the state of São Paulo. The bet of the media, Faria Lima and FIESP is the promotion of Dória, the São Paulo right, for the time being helped by the methodological error of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, the bet of the federal government. For this, the election of the municipality of São Paulo, even with a candidate representing the traditional wing of the PSDB, which was opposed to the Bolsonarization of the party, was fundamental.

This engineering requires the transformation of Dória, the promoter of the exclusion of illegality, from a rightist with both feet in fascism into a centrist candidate. The bet of the moment for the São Paulo elite is the toucan, despite the historic and already traditional inability of the São Paulo elite to transform economic and political capital into popular vote. The objective is to correct what went wrong between the 2016 Coup and Alckmin's election in 2018. And this transformation occurs with the same anti-PTism of the last 10 years, causing a center-left party to be transformed into a revolutionary party, in which a simple proposition about taxation on capital or the regulation of the relationship between capital and labor are seen as “extremist” projects. In short, the project is to deepen what Bolsonarism did, but with sneakers instead of boots, because boots have already fulfilled the mission given to them.

The way in which data on the election of the municipality of São Paulo are handled by the corporate press also demonstrates that it aims at replacing the PT with the PSOL, which does not mean that PSOL is being criticized here. The hypothesis is that the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro elites (represented by Globo, which currently has Huck as the main candidate) understand that the PSOL does not have the ballast for a national dispute due to the size of the party machine and the still incipient political capillarization, especially in the Northeast and peripheries, but it has the capacity to undermine the PT electorally in the center-left field, especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest electoral colleges. It could be a recalibration of big capital in the face of the expressive vote of PSOL for the legislature of both cities and for the executive in São Paulo.

If the election were held today, the most plausible for both would be for PT and PSOL to come out together, under the risk of neither reaching the second round. With the split votes, the chances of the Faria Lima candidate would increase, even with the little appeal of the São Paulo candidate in other regions. And judging by the aggressive way in which Bolsonaro treats the former ally, it is likely that he has a similar analysis.

The fact is that the scenario is diffuse, complex, temporary and pulverized. Existing analyzes treat what happened in 2020 as a guide for what will happen in 2022, often treating it as a determinant. And that goes for the supposed victory of the “center” and for the end of the PT. It is a bet quantified by the market, as shown by the BTG Pactual Report sent to investors the week after the election results. It's not an analysis. The most important data for 2022 is the porosity of the situation, which is expressed in the factors listed below:

1 – GDP growth below market expectations, which does not recover losses from the pandemic;

2 – Family consumption driven by emergency aid below market expectations, which also does not recover losses from the pandemic, despite the opening;

3 – End of emergency aid and depression of household consumption for 2021;

4 – Crisis of the electric sector, in which Roraima is the ball of the hour to receive the spoils of Amapá;

5 – Record unemployment accompanied by an acceleration of inflation. This, in turn, is produced by three factors:

a) exchange;

b) end of grain stocks;

c) rise in prices administered by the government, especially energy, gas and oil derivatives;

6 – State and municipal fiscal crisis.

It is in this scenario, exacerbated by growing inequality and the loss of food sovereignty, that the “winning” mayors will govern and the “losing” will oppose. It is in this scenario that Faria Lima will try to impose its candidate for 2022. What will come out of the DEM and PSDB movements is not possible to know, but the fact is that the two parties have reassumed some lost relevance since 2016. it is known that Faria Lima does not have the slightest notion of Brazil. The polls on the Faria Lima-Berrini geographic axis elected two NOVO councilors in São Paulo when the whole of Brazil elected a measly27 councilors – all from the South and Southeast – and a mayor (Joinville). Faria Lima elected NOVO, Guedes' most faithful party, which demonstrates the detachment from the social reality that prevails in it and at Berrini. Faria Lima is another country that treats Brazil in a colonial way, in the same way that Algeria was treated by France. For the country of Faria Lima, neighbor of the country of Leblon and a few other isolated countries, we exist to be exploited and to die! Not without first leaving some offspring...

*Igor Grabois, an economist, is director of Grabois Olímpio Consultoria Política.

*Leonardo Sacramento He holds a PhD in Education from UFSCar. Author of The Mercantile University: a study on the relationship between public university and private capital (Appris).

 

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