Lulism in the Northeast

Image: Thiago Japyassu
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By CARLOS EDUARDO BELLINI BORENSTEIN*

Lulismo has a strong political, economic and social root in the region, which is not only due to social policies

On the 20th of February I published on the website the earth is round, the article “São Paulo antipetism”, which raised the following hypothesis: despite the existence of an anti-PT vote in São Paulo (SP), we have signs that the vote against the PT has lost strength in the largest electoral college in the country, regressing to a size similar to 2002, when the former -president Lula (PT) won the presidential election in the state.

As important as observing the PT's electoral performance in SP is looking at the second most populous region in the country, the Northeast, which includes the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe, concentrating, according to data from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), more than 39 million votes – 26,82% of the national electorate.

The Northeast is today the great electoral stronghold of Lulism, a long-term political movement that began to be structured in 2003, during the first Lula government, and was defined by political scientist André Singer, in the famous article “Social and ideological roots of Lulism ”, published in 2009, as a project for the social inclusion of the popular classes, through income transfer programs such as Bolsa Família, the appreciation of the minimum wage and access to credit for the poorest without the occurrence of a process of political radicalization .

Although this identification of popular classes with Lulism is present throughout Brazil, there is a strong connection between this movement, as we can see in the data that will be presented below, with the Northeast region. Such a political/electoral phenomenon has been powerful in the region. Since the 2006 elections, the PT candidates for the Planalto Palace – Lula (2006), Dilma (2010 and 2014) and Haddad (2018) – have won elections in the region with significant votes, surpassing 60% of the valid votes in many northeastern states.

However, until the monthly allowance crisis, in 2005, the PT, including Lula, had a vote more concentrated in the middle classes of the large urban centers, finding it difficult to advance in the Northeast, as well as in the so-called “deep Brazil”. However, as a consequence of the monthly political crisis, from mid-2005, anchored in Lula's popularity, the government and, consequently, the party, operated what André Singer defined as electoral realignment. That is, there is a migration from the Lulist electoral base to the lower income segments, residents of the peripheries and of “deep Brazil”, mostly concentrated in the Northeast region, against the background of this long-term political project represented by Lulism.

As we can observe in the data that will be presented on the electoral behavior of Northeasterners in presidential elections, this was not always the case. In the first round of the 1989 elections, for example, Fernando Collor (PRN) won that dispute in all the Northeastern states in the first round (the numbers refer to the percentage of valid votes): Alagoas (64,38%), Bahia ( 34,71%), Ceará (33,09%), Maranhão (46,93%), Paraíba (35,10%), Pernambuco (37,74%), Piauí (39,75%), Rio Grande do Norte (33,37%) and Sergipe (50,81%). Collor was also victorious in the Northeast in the second round in Alagoas (76,07%), Bahia (51,57%), Ceará (56,91%), Maranhão (62,44%), Paraíba (54,93%), Piauí (58,92%), Rio Grande do Norte (52,59%) and Sergipe (65,89%), having lost to Lula (PT) only in Pernambuco.

Practically the same phenomenon occurred in 1994, when FHC (PSDB) also defeated Lula (PT) in all the states of the region: Alagoas (76,18%), Bahia (52,40%), Ceará (61,19%), Maranhão (62,25%), Paraíba (63,05%), Pernambuco (53,81%), Piauí (52,51%), Rio Grande do Norte (64,29%) and Sergipe (47,37%) .

And it was also repeated in the 1998 presidential elections, when FHC also defeated Lula in all northeastern states: Alagoas (54,79%), Bahia (50,91%), Ceará (30,30), Maranhão (48,62%) , Paraíba (45,25%), Pernambuco (57,22%), Piauí (48,09%), Rio Grande do Norte (50,71%) and Sergipe (47,37%).

In 2002, PT victories in the region began. In the first round of that election, although Lula (PT) lost, in Alagoas, to José Serra (PSDB) and, in Ceará, to Ciro Gomes (PPS), the PT was victorious in the other states of the region: Bahia (55,27 %), Maranhão (40,88%), Paraíba (47,76%), Pernambuco (46,43%), Piauí (46,84%), Rio Grande do Norte (43,67%) and Sergipe (44,27. XNUMX%).

In the second round, with the exception of Alagoas, Lula won in all the states of the Northeast: Bahia (65,69%), Ceará (71,78%), Maranhão (58,48%), Paraíba (57,01%), Pernambuco (57,06%), Piauí (60,73%), Rio Grande do Norte (58,63%) and Sergipe (57,49%).

Despite Lula's expressive result in the Northeast in the 2002 elections, especially in the second round, as we will see below, from the 2006 elections onwards, with Lulism already stronger, voting for PT presidential candidates registers a significant leap in the region, consequence of this long-term lulist project and also of the electoral realignment.

In this regard, it is worth mentioning that, in 2002, the vote for Lula showed a certain proportionality in all states and regions. In that dispute, Lula lost to Serra only in Alagoas, having won in all other states of the country. From 2006, we will have a modification of this. After the electoral realignment, Lulism began to concentrate mainly in the Northeast, losing ground in the Southeast, South and Midwest.

In the first round of the 2006 presidential election, Lula defeated Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) in all electoral colleges in the region: Alagoas (46,62%), Bahia (66,65%), Ceará (71,22%), Maranhão ( 75,50%), Paraíba (65,31%), Pernambuco (70,93%), Piauí (67,28%), Rio Grande do Norte (60,16%) and Sergipe (47,33%). Making a comparison with Lula's vote in the first round of 2002 in the Northeast, we can observe an important growth. In 2002, Lula obtained more than 50% of the valid votes in BA alone. In 2006, Lula won more than 60% of the valid votes, already in the first round, in seven of the nine states of the region.

In the second round of 2006, Lula was also victorious in all the northeastern states: Alagoas (61,44%), Bahia (78,08%), Ceará (82,37%), Maranhão (84,63%), Paraíba ( 75,01%), Pernambuco (78,48%), Piauí (77,32%), Rio Grande do Norte (69,72%) and Sergipe (60,15%). Compared with the result of 2002, Lula's electoral victory was again more expressive, having won more than 70% of the valid votes in six of the nine northeastern states in the second round.

The dominance of Lulism in the Northeast was reproduced again in the first round of the 2010 presidential election. Dilma Rousseff (PT) beat José Serra (PSDB) in all the states of the region: Alagoas (50,92%), Bahia (62,62% ), Ceará (66,30%), Maranhão (70,65%), Paraíba (53,21%), Pernambuco (61,74%), Piauí (67,09%), Rio Grande do Norte (51,76 %) and Sergipe (47,67%). In 2010, despite the fact that in the first round Dilma won more than 60% of the valid votes in five of the nine states of the region, a lower number than Lula's performance in 2006, Dilma obtained percentages to win the election in the first round (more than 50 % of valid votes) in all electoral colleges in the Northeast.

In the second round of 2010, Dilma also surpassed Serra in all the northeastern states: Alagoas (53,63%), Bahia (70,85%), Ceará (77,35%), Maranhão (79,09%), Paraíba ( 61,55%), Pernambuco (75,65%), Piauí (69,98%), Rio Grande do Norte (59,54%) and Sergipe (53,56%). That is, Dilma won more than 60% of the valid votes in six two nine states in the Northeast, and in four of them she had more than 70% of the votes.

In the first round of 2014, despite the fierce dispute with Aécio Neves (PSDB), Dilma Rousseff once again won in all the states of the region, reinforcing the strength of the lulist project in the Northeast: Alagoas (49,94%), Bahia (61,44 .68,30%), Ceará (69,56%), Maranhão (55,61%), Paraíba (44,22%), Pernambuco (70,61%), Piauí (60,06%), Rio Grande do Norte ( 54,93%) and Sergipe (2014%). In the 60 election, Dilma had already obtained more than XNUMX% of the valid votes in the first round in five of the nine states of the Northeast.

In the second round of 2014, Dilma also won, once again, in all electoral colleges in the region: Alagoas (62,12%), Bahia (70,16%), Ceará (76,75%), Maranhão (78,76. 64,26%), Paraíba (70,20%), Pernambuco (78,30%), Piauí (69,96%), Rio Grande do Norte (67,01%) and Sergipe (60%). As we can see, Dilma won more than 70% of the valid votes in all the states of the region in the second round, and in five of them she won more than XNUMX%.

Even in the defeat of Fernando Haddad (PT) to Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) in 2018, Lulism leveraged Haddad in the Northeast. With the exception of Ceará, Haddad won in all the Northeastern states in the first round: Alagoas (44,75%), Bahia (60,28%), Maranhão (61,26%), Paraíba (45,46%), Pernambuco (48,87%), Piauí (63,40%), Rio Grande do Norte (41,19%) and Sergipe (50,09%). However, it is worth mentioning that Haddad's vote in the first round was lower than those obtained by Lula (2006) and Dilma (2010 and 2014).

Despite Lulismo having lost political capital in the 2018 elections, even so, Haddad still obtained 60% of the votes in three states in the Northeast in the first round, a very expressive number if we consider that Lula was prevented from campaigning, there was strong anti-PTism in the country and lavajatismo, responsible for creating the foundations of Bolsonarism in the most conservative segments of Brazilian society, seduced an important part of the electorate.

Despite this adverse situation to Lulism, Haddad beat Bolsonaro in all northeastern states in the second round: Alagoas (59,92%), Bahia (72,69%), Ceará (71,11%), Maranhão (73,26%) , Paraíba (64,98%), Pernambuco (66,50%), Piauí (77,05%), Rio Grande do Norte (63,41%) and Sergipe (67,54%). As we can see, Haddad obtained about 60% of the valid votes in all the states of the region. In other words, not even the adverse situation was able to stop the strength of Lulism in the region.

Although there is still a reading that relates the electoral behavior of Northeasterners only to the influence of social programs created in the Lula Era, there are signs that the Lulista project has deeper roots in the region.

It is clear that the positive memory of the Lula Era, especially with regard to the social ascension of millions of Brazilians to the middle class, has great electoral weight. However, on the other hand, there is no way to disregard the existence of a class identification of portions of the northeastern electorate with Lula, who, in addition to being born in Garanhuns, in Pernambuco, has a life trajectory that creates an identification that goes beyond the economic issue. . Proof of this is the electoral performance of Fernando Haddad in the Northeast in 2018, when he repeated in the second round the votes that Lula and Dilma had from 2006 to 2014.

The electoral strength of Lulism remains high in the Northeast. According to the poll released by the Ipespe institute on February 25, Lula would now have 55% of the voting intentions in the region. The second place is Jair Bolsonaro (PL) with 20%. Former ministers Sergio Moro (Podemos) and Ciro Gomes (PDT) have, respectively, 6% and 11%, among northeasterners. And the governor of SP, João Doria (PSDB), only 1%.

Considering only the valid votes – excluding white, null and undecided votes – Lula would have around 58% of the valid votes in the Northeast today. Although the segmentation of the vote by region in the second round simulation was not disclosed, it is possible that Lula will register 70% or more of the valid votes in most of the northeastern states.

As has been happening in the last 20 years, the Northeast will have a majority vote in favor of Lulism in this year's elections. Based on the historical series of presidential elections in the region, it is possible to see that we have a majority of the northeastern electorate, who already voted for Collor and FHC (from 1989 to 1998), and started to vote for Lula/PT from 2002, no longer changing your vote.

As the PT has been out of the federal government since 2016, the data presented call into question the discourse that the Northeastern vote is guided only by income distribution policies, which reinforces the hypothesis that Lulismo has a strong political, economic and social root. society in the region. It is a phenomenon that, although not definitive, has been consolidated for two decades in the Northeast, and could be decisive for the outcome of the October presidential election.

*Carlos Eduardo Bellini Borenstein holds a degree in political science from ULBRA-RS.

 

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