The Band Debate

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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

We can say that Lula won on points. Not many. It was almost a draw

Tension and expectation in the air. October 16, 20 pm: the first debate of the second round of the presidential elections. Following tradition, the CHOOSE YOUR WRISTBAND open the round.

If I'm not mistaken, the format was the most flexible ever adopted in Brazil – with candidates completely free to manage the time of their speeches, ask and answer freely in each block (with the exception of the segment reserved for questions from PIG colleagues). More like North American debates.

Candidates standing all the time – in front of the stands. On the one hand, it gives dynamism and allows you to freely explore body movements. On the other hand, it brings moments of a certain embarrassment and even dispersion of reasoning (which camera to look at? where to put your arms? how to consult your notes without having a piece of paper all crumpled up in your hands, the way Jair Bolsonaro did all the time?; when close the answer? how much time to spend on the question?).

Lucky for us, Lulão is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, communicator in Brazil. For 40 years he has dedicated himself to public speaking and debating. In addition to charisma and oratory, he has quick thinking plus an enviable memory (I, who didn't even reach 50, today don't even have half the capacity to retain / handle as much data as our almost octogenarian Pernambuco exhibits).

Jair Bolsonaro is also a good debater. Contrary to what our rationalist-progressive common sense (plus certain prejudice) usually considers. First, because he has clear ideas and conveys them with conviction. Second, the president knows who he is talking to and focuses his speech.

Jair Bolsonaro has a way of expressing himself that is perfectly suited to our times of social media, with images, memes, tweets, simplifications predominating. It uses short sentences (potential memes) enumerated with almost no connectives. Forget everything you've learned about textual cohesion and coherence. Its forte is launching strong ideas. Easy-to-remember slogans. repeat them ad nauseam (“A lie told a thousand times becomes the truth”, remember Goebbels?).

Lula grows up when he recalls the crimes of the genocide during the pandemic. And also every time she brings up the themes of unemployment, hunger, the destruction of public policies.

Jair Bolsonaro defends himself well in general, with more difficulty in the pandemic issue. However, he always manages to get away with bringing up the subject of corruption.

Perhaps, nowadays, this type of debate, at least in CNTP (normal conditions of temperature and pressure) does not produce (and has no way of producing) big winners or losers. Everyone plays for a draw, seeking to score one or the other laceration to try to pump on social media later.

One thing that particularly impresses me is Bolsonaro's resilience. With much less experience than Lula, leader of a disastrous government full of weaknesses – even so, the former captain remains a strong electoral opponent and does not open flanks in the debate.

All in all, Lula had more positive moments than Jair Bolsonaro. The former captain did not bring anything new or impactful. seemed to me without punch. (By the way, between us, everything indicates that the subject's main concern is already with his future: what to do to avoid being arrested.)

We can say that Lula won on points. Not many. It was almost a draw. The petista continues to lead the polls, with 6 points of advantage. It is not much.

The “scare” with the growth of Jair Bolsonaro in the final stretch of the first round made everyone more realistic and more engaged. It's clear. There will be no washing, the dispute is vote by vote. in that same vibe, the first debate ended in a draw. Which is of no use to Bolsonaro, who is the one running after the damage.

Full power now. Politics in command. Streets and networks.

* Julian Rodrigues, journalist and professor, he is an activist in the LGBTI and human rights movement.

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