Vice's fetish

Otto Umbehr, Mystery in the Street, 1928
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By LINCOLN SECCO*

An analysis of the position of vice president and the possible alliance between Lula and Alckmin in 2022

The possible choice of a conservative to accompany Lula in the 2022 elections provoked a series of debates. There was just no surprise. Since 2002, the PT has incorporated a centre-right deputy. The exception was having a communist woman in 2018 in an unusual situation to say the least.

Due to the turbulent Brazilian history, there is a “vice fetish”, something that was reinforced in the New Republic because Sarney, Itamar and Temer ascended to the command of the country without voting.

Before, there were also vice-presidents who were more or less important, such as Floriano Peixoto, Nilo Peçanha, Delfim Moreira and João Goulart. But in general, the position of the others was merely decorative, so much so that the 1934 and 1937 constitutions did not provide for a vice president, as has been the case in Chile since the XNUMXth century.

A deputy does not play any relevant role in the public machine, except if the president wants it (and if he is smart he will not want it). If he is a party leader, as Temer was, he serves as an instrument of pressure from allies on the president; and if there is a crisis, he can galvanize the traitors into a coup d'état, as Temer himself did in 2016, but also Café Filho in 1954.

In the election, the deputy also lacks importance, since the electorate is practically unaware of him. At most, it can have a negative relevance due to some scandal. In 1994 there was a vice presidential crisis and both Lula and FHC changed running mates.

For Lula to have Alckmin as his deputy or a woman of the left, it doesn't matter from the electoral point of view. The majority will not change their vote for this and that is the reason why Lula turns a deaf ear to the complaints of her militancy. He believes that it is best to have a running mate on his right, like Judas, to calm businessmen and the electorate that may be undecided between order and change. He thus promises a change within the order.

Of course, no order is threatened by an election, but we are not talking about realities, but about beliefs. Having someone sitting on your left would only satisfy the militant ardor of those who have no other option. For this type of reasoning, rational in “normal” times, the center or center right is who should have the privilege of choice.

 

Geraldo Alckmin

The former governor of São Paulo would in fact make possible a wide range of alliances, say political analysts. And then governance. Neither. The position of vice-president is not accompanied by a great ability to distribute positions to his entourage. The parties form an alliance to nominate ministers and obtain jobs that they desire, in addition to obtaining favors for their future parliamentarians. Having a deputy is just a symbol. With the wide PT favoritism in the polls, those interested in joining the PT will not fail to do so if the deputy is a PT, as long as they have the promise of a large share in power.

What matters to the PT is having a candidate for vice president who is not going to conspire against the holder of the position. Being from the legend itself helps, although it is not a guarantee. The solution would be to put an end to a position that keeps a potential traitor inert and empty-minded. In case of permanent vacancy, a successor should be elected to finish the term, but this is outside the current political horizon.

 

Fascism

There is also the fascist characterization of the government and the strategic consequence that should be drawn from it. If you are fascist, our duty is to defend formal democracy first of all, in order to ward off a threat to the regime itself.

Fascism is a mass movement with electoral support underpinned by a critique of the system. If he was successful, it was because the system itself had already been demoralized. Is the best way out to simply defend democracy?

If we look at the oft-cited German example it is clear that an alliance between Social Democrats and Communists in the early 1930s would have been desirable, but on the basis of what program? And note that we are talking about an alliance within the left and not with the conservative right, which was already committed to Nazism. Those who invoke this historical example rarely cite this essential difference. Incidentally, the effective victory over fascism in World War II was not limited to restoring democracy and forced the regimes that followed to create a welfare state.

 

Brazil

Our historical situation is very different. But the anti-fascist struggle here requires, within the electoral limits in which the left is enclosed, to combine the defense of democracy with a program of inversion of priorities. It is not even a question of proposing a new constitution as has happened in other Latin American countries. Our constitution is not that of the dictatorship, like the Chilean one, but that of 1988, attacked daily by the right.

The likely allies of the left just want to know if the ticket has a chance of winning. The minimum program to be adopted will impose boundaries only on the forces that polarize the political scenario. Today, a Bolsonarist would never support the PT and vice versa. The majority of parties located among the electoral “extremes” can choose either side based on the expectation of votes and material gains. Or bet on a “third way” that has not worked since 1989.

Under these circumstances, the PT could propose a minimum program to the vice-presidential candidate and force him to make his defense explicitly. He must incorporate, among the things that the left usually defends, an economic policy that punishes big capital and rentism, the nationalization of privatized companies, annulment of the labor reform, a Court in Manaus to judge the Bolsonaro family and the military involved in the crimes. of the pandemic and finally demand from the Armed Forces an apology to the Brazilian people for the Military Dictatorship.

This is not even a guarantee of fidelity after the election. And I don't even know if the deputy would publicly convert. But Brasilia is well worth a mass.

* Lincoln Secco He is a professor at the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of History of the PT (Studio).

 

 

 

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