What does the 7-1 victory in the World Cup teach PT 2022?

Image: Eugenio Barboza
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By CHARLES DOS GUARARAPES*

If the PT waits for the repetition of previous victories, it will show that it is not prepared for the challenge of this year's elections

If we take our last football trauma as a case study, Germany's 7-1 against Felipão's national team, we will learn more about the strategy involved in the four lines of a football field. In 2014, what made Brazil an easy target for the Germans were some technical details that are often considered irrelevant; but which, in the right context, become fulminating.

Still on football, the differences on the field were small, perhaps in the organization and posture of the teams on the field, but not in technical or individual superiority. If we consider the sum of talents, Brazil certainly had advantages. Dribbling ability, creativity etc. are still Brazilian. But it was the organization, tactics, strategy and psychological preparation that counted at that moment. Prepare for your opponent and don't underestimate him or think you know him well. It was really the strategy and preparation that made the result.

If you, the reader, have reached this point in the text, I imagine that you are not interested in an explanation of sporting events, but in curiosity about what this has to do with politics, with the PT and, mainly, with the 2022 elections. This is the point: is the PT supposed to be very prepared to face the challenge of the 2022 elections? Many believe so, as we imagine the Brazilian team was prepared for any challenge in 2014. But, what if the world is another and the challenge new? Can that 2014 trauma help us understand a little political psychology and review perspectives?

One of the fundamental characteristics of the football confrontation that we can associate with politics is that, in the decisive direct confrontation, the opponent is studied. It's important to neutralize your opponent's strengths with specific tactics and impose your game mode. As well as preparing a surprise, a rehearsed move, a set piece, something like that. Well, in electoral disputes, the rule follows the same: try to neutralize points where your opponent is more consistent than your party, such as, for example, the issue of public security and seek to bring the agenda to problems that are urgent, such as inflation, high prices and unemployment, preventing the opponent from taking the dispute to the area of ​​the so-called “customs” agenda.

We know that this dispute will take place, but everything indicates that the PT is not preparing for the campaign design. He seems to believe that other successful campaigns will be repeated in a different context.

If the canary national team was champion in 2002 over Germany itself, what happened in such a short time with this rematch? The four victories in the elections against the PSDB (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014) do not explain the defeat for Bolsonaro (2018) and the conditions under which the PSDB was defeated with the economic and social agenda will not be enough to defeat Bolsonaro.

The PT, like the 2014 Selection, seems to depend on a single player. Neutralizing him, making him a target for foul play, stopping his actions seem like obvious considerations for his opponents. To go further, it seems that he suffers from the same conviction of victory that prevents him from preparing for moments of instability that are common in tense and decisive disputes.

I support three arguments for issuing this drilling warning.

In elections, the dispute for the agenda is equivalent to the dispute in the midfield for ball dominance. Disputing the narrative is the central point of the strategy. While almost all political analysts are concerned with the surface of social networks, what matters is hidden from view. Fake news, influencers, likes ou views, all these resources are innocuous if you do not control the electoral agenda, the voter's agenda, the concern of the moment. And that's what election is about, it's the moment, it's not the past or the future, but what the moment says about the present, past and future, and it's the agenda that guides all of that.

The PT is betting on a political agenda linked to economic issues (as it was a protagonist in the past against the PSDB): salary or income, high prices, inflation and unemployment. Bolsonarism bets on an agenda of customs. Whoever makes the agenda will be in front.

The point is that, as in football, politics has changed. It's no longer Neymar's disconcerting dribbling that replaced Romário's sprints that make the difference. In 2014, it was the triangulation of plays that dispensed with direct confrontation and the good marking that nullified individual talents that gave the Germans the title. In 2018, the agenda of social networks broke with the electoral dogmas of TV and alliances.

Why doesn't Bolsonaro want a marketer? In the naive reading of many leftists, it is because Bolsonaro is a lunatic. In the attentive reading of the new times, it is because there is no need, because marketers get in the way and because the fragmented and cunning way of building an agenda is another.

It's not a matter of fake news. Just as all summer diarrhea is treated like a virus, every internet strategy is seen as fake news. It is not. Social media sparks debate better now. It is the network that guides. In it is the control of the agenda. Media outlets feel obliged to discuss what is on the networks. It is the subject of the moment metered in clicks that provides staff control. On social networks, for more clicks, the logic is different: the agenda of the absurd sticks more. News that has clicks is seen.

See how in this environment the agenda is easily manipulated: recently the government took a 2017 film off the air in which comedians Danilo Gentili and Fabio Porchat did stupid things at school. They accused one of the scenes of pedophilia. Obviously an exaggeration and a misjudgment. The artistic class soon took the bait and turned it into a censorship issue. Meanwhile, many leftists, whether they liked Gentili or not, ran in defense of freedom of expression and against censorship. But, this is not the agenda. Meanwhile, in the underworld of social networks, there is an interpretation that artists who defend pedophilia are in league with leftists in a conspiracy against the family.

Forget the reason. Leftist analysts love to be right. In elections it is not necessary to be right, it is necessary to have votes. In this world of social networks, what matters is dividing the electorate, provoking emotions and playing with majorities. The vast majority who are awakened by the fight against pedophilia, the subversion of family values, the attack on children will become defensive. The arguments don't matter.

So let's go to the second point of the question: psychology. What if you take an early goal from the opponent? Just like if in May or June a poll puts Bolsonaro's rise? If the agenda changes? If the attacks have the effect of messing with polling data and voting intentions? The conviction and confidence that once had unshakable now becomes instability, confusion and disorganization for further attacks and other setbacks. Every dispute deserves preparation for difficult times, for adversity, for B plans, for studying the opponent and looking for their weaknesses. Without this, victory becomes defeat. There are more candidates defeated by arrogance than by incompetence or lack of structure.

Third point: the strategy that looks at the opponents. Bolsonaro and his lackeys, in turn, already have the strategy ready: make the election plebiscitary, in the sense of who is in favor of the government voting for him and who negatively evaluates the government will vote against and in the second round, focus fire on the rejection of the PT. Bolsonaro knows that he can fight anti-PTism at any time, but he wants to strengthen his government and its agendas in the first round, eliminating the possibility of a third way. Let those against the government fade away – even if they are aware of Lula's strength. Only in the second round will he open full fire against the PT. In the first round there is a government affirmation campaign. In the second round there is a campaign against Lula. He even chose his opponent.

This clarity of strategy does not exist in the PT. Seeking to win in the first round is perhaps more viable and strategic. But, it is also less likely. The fact of predicting future difficulties can help build a more fertile strategy, but if you keep thinking that Bolsonaro is chasing the scoreboard, self-indulgence will be a great enemy. Bolsonaro controls the agenda because he controls the networks and he controls the networks because he creates agendas. The cabinet of hate is purposeful in creating controversies because controversies generate engagement and put their subjects thousands of clicks ahead of any other. Meanwhile, PT, progressive or left-wing mobilization is reactive.

Besides, the government is still at the forefront. Whoever has the best position is still the candidate for re-election. Recognizing that you're trailing on the scoreboard and ignoring useless research is the first phase of a winning strategy. If this does not exist, we are closer to failure than victory.

Social media has changed politics. They reformulated the agenda strategies. They changed the notion of public opinion. They changed the time of decisions. Six months is a long time. The way to build the agenda is different and the ability to influence involves tools that used to have one result and today have another. Expecting a repetition of previous victories to appear now is naive and ignores a series of variables that produce different effects on politics.

* Charles dos Guararapes is a gamer, actor and activist of social movements.

 

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