Lula – Alckmin

Image: Jeswin Thomas


The conversation that moves the political board and scares the right

The last month of the terrible year of 2021 begins with the political framework almost set for 2022. João Dória won the PSDB arm wrestling match, and by a narrow margin he will be the candidate of a decadent party. Dória has the São Paulo machine, a lot of money and has some sympathy with traditional sectors of the São Paulo elite.

Sérgio Moro occupied all the spaces that the traditional media generously granted him: he is the candidate for Globo and for important slices of the financial market, in addition to adding those military personnel who dream of Bolsonarism without Bolsonaro. Still on the extreme right, Bolsonaro threw away the “anti-system” outfit and embraced the Centrão, joining the PL, while seeing his approval rates fall below 20%.

The most important movement, however, took place in the opposition. Lula gave signals, in an interview to the Rio Grande do Sul radio station, that the alliance with Geraldo Alckmin went from being “possible” to being “desirable” by part of the PT leadership.

The possibility of a Lula-Alckmin ticket generates hives in part of the left militancy, but it is necessary to understand the serious situation in the country. No, Alckmin does not add a large number of votes to the pre-candidate of the PT, today favorite in the polls. What Alckmin does is unlock doors.

It is not known whether the articulation will prosper, but the reaction of lavajatista columnists, who work as scribes for media patronage, shows that the conversation between Lula and the (almost) former toucan changes the game. Josias de Sousa (UOL) and Vera Magalhães (The Globe) are among those who attacked the plate that no one knows if it will even exist. But it's already scary.

The reaction in the media, followed by criticism from extremist businessmen such as Salim Mattar (another who criticized the conversation between Lula and Alckmin), is a clear sign that the lavajatismo wants the petista to be stuck in the left corner of the ring, with the (false ) image of “radical defender of dictatorships” being hammered into the headlines.

The Lula-Alckmin ticket breaks this narrative.

Could Lula win the election with a “pure blood” center-left ticket? Perhaps… But remember: in 1989, 1994 and 1998 (when he performed with Bisol / PSB, Mercadante / PT and Brizola / PDT), Lula lost. In 2002 and 2006, with a moderate deputy, Lula expanded and won the election.

Ah, but Alckmin supported the 2016 coup! And truth. He was one of the less vocal supporters of the coup, he took a position against it, but later embarked on the adventure. The harsh reality is that the 2016 coup led us to a situation of degeneration of Democracy. We do not live in democratic normality. And the left alone, it seems to me, does not have the strength to pull the country out of the quagmire. It is not enough to win at the polls, it is necessary to create governance.

In the 1970s, JK and Carlos Lacerda (who had supported the 64 coup) sat down to talk with Jango to form a broad front for Democracy and against the dictatorship. Later, a character like Teotônio Vilela (from the conservative Arena party) played a fundamental role in the democratic opening, denouncing authoritarian abuses and demanding amnesty. I don't think Alckmin has the same stature as these characters. But the parallel is possible. Exceptional situations call for exceptional solutions.

I do not intend to sugarcoat the pill: Alckmin is conservative and privatist (despite, in 2006, having declared that he would not carry out the privatization of Petrobras and Banco do Brasil); on the other hand, he is a loyal and correct interlocutor in negotiations – as attested by Fernando Haddad, who spoke with him when the PT candidate was mayor and Alckmin governor.

The extreme right today has two characters looking for a plot: Bolsonaro or Moro can block the right (agribusiness, market, military, media) and turn 2022 into a hell sprinkled with anti-PTism and electoral terrorism. Alckmin with Lula means breaking the block on the right, it means taking a piece that is “on that side” and bringing it “to this side” of the board.

I don't know if the conservative Alckmin will, in the end, be Lula's deputy. But the conversation, by itself, changes the board, scares the right and allows Lula to open still closed doors with the business community and the conservative middle class. Lula-Alckmin is not so important, perhaps, to win the election. But to create governance in 2023.

Finally, the arrangement would unlock the framework in São Paulo, creating the conditions for the defeat of the Dória bloc and to end the long cycle toucan in the richest state in the country.

*Rodrigo Viana is a journalist and holds a master's degree in Social History from USP.

Originally published on Portal Brazil 247.


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