the rastaque trump

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By PAULO NOGUEIRA BATISTA JUNIOR*

In Brazil, in certain right-wing or, come on, center-right circles, the hope is that the feat of the US elections can be repeated here: defeating Bolsonaro with a conservative candidate, keeping the neoliberal agenda intact

Never has an American election been so important to us. No need to explain why. The Brazilian followed the dispute in the United States with one eye (or two!) fixed here in Brazil. It was as if we were in front of a preview of the drama that we will experience in our own presidential elections in 2022, when the tropical Trump will also seek re-election.

“Preview” is our exaggeration, certainly. But from an emotional point of view, that's exactly what we experience. It may even be that the Trump here, even more rastaque than the one there, will not reach the 2022 elections. But that hope seems to be fragile, unfortunately. Most of the opposition is already positioned to contest the election against him. Some, more daring, launch names and even complete plates. Premature ejaculation, no doubt. In any case, the central scenario, at the moment, is the following: Bolsonaro reaches the second round, it remains to be seen who arrives with him. A leftist candidate? Or a neoliberal candidate?

It should be noted: central scenario from the moment. Forecasts in politics are, as is well known, even more precarious than in economics. Today's prophecy differs from yesterday's prediction. It may even be that Bolsonaro is impeached or resigns. Who knows? Reasons abound.

But I close this hopeful parenthesis and return to the US election. Some eminently skeptical spirits warn against celebrations. Well, well, life is short and hard, and an opportunity to celebrate should never be passed up. And don't we have reason to celebrate? It's more good news coming from abroad: Bolivia, Chile and now Biden's victory.

I write “Biden win” and hasten to amend – it is Trump’s defeat we are celebrating. Biden does not inspire enthusiasm. Still, it's worth celebrating. Just imagine, reader, how we would be forced to digest the disastrous news of Trump's re-election today. Just remember what his re-election would mean for the United States and the rest of the world, especially for countries that have embarked on some variant of trumpism. Among these countries, Brazil stands out. Apart from the Americans themselves, we would perhaps be the most harmed by the confirmation of the four years of backwardness, ignorance and barbarism that marked the presidency of Donald Trump.

Who is Biden? Let's not prejudge, nor completely rule out a scenario of positive change for the United States. There is no doubt, however, that Biden is a man of the Democratic establishment, a traditional-type politician inclined to routine. Will he be up to the challenges of the moment? Will he be able to reinvent himself minimally? Maybe not.

I don't want to make a guess at other people's lives. But some features of the American situation seem evident. First, Trump was defeated, yes, even if he doesn't want to admit it - but not resoundingly. Biden's victory was tight, much closer than the polls predicted. And the congressional elections confirmed the picture of deep division and polarization in the country. Everything indicates that trumpism will continue, even without Trump

Second point: Trump's rise was not a simple aberration or a mere accident on the way. It was a long-prepared disaster. Trumpism predates Trump. I lived in Washington during the period when the process was taking root and I couldn't escape the true mutation taking place in that country. Barack Obama was an outlier

The rise of Trumpism was the result of the crisis of neoliberalism, that is, the result of decades of concentration of income and wealth, financial instability, contempt and neglect of the globalized elite by the average citizen, transformation of democracy into plutocracy. The authoritarian and anti-democratic vocation of neoliberalism was exposed. In addition, the degradation of the Republican Party, the hegemony in that party of a narrow and ignorant conservatism, the destructive way in which they opposed the moderate presidency, with “bipartisan” pretensions, of Barack Obama – all of this preceded the arrival of Trump, all of this prepared and favored her.

It would therefore be necessary to recognize that the neoliberal paradigm has failed and that trying to revive it with Biden will not free the United States from the threat of regression posed by Trumpism. Perhaps the pertinent question is the following: will the American establishment be able to reinvent itself? Or will the Biden administration be an attempt to return to neoliberal “normality”, to the paradigm that prevailed, with slight variations, from Reagan to Obama? If so, the chances of success are slim. And Trumpism will live on, as its social and economic roots will not have been cut.

In Brazil, in certain right-wing or, come on, center-right circles, it is actually Biden's victory that is being celebrated – and not just Trump's defeat. The hope of these people is that the feat can be repeated here – defeating Bolsonaro with a conservative candidate, keeping the neoliberal agenda intact. Here as there, the bufunfa gang is in opposition to trumpism/bolsonarism. Here as there, the traditional ruling classes realize that it is not feasible to govern with such ignorance and unpreparedness.

However, in the Brazilian case, Bolsonarism tries, via Paulo Guedes, to embrace the neoliberal agenda. Try. But without conviction, without consistency of purpose – to the dismay of the moneyed and their ubiquitous media mouthpieces

Our neoliberalism manages to be worse, more doctrinaire, more resistant to change than neoliberalism in the matrix. In the United States, the most enlightened sectors of the elite seem to have realized that the exclusionary and elitist neoliberal model cannot continue. At the very least, it needs some tweaking. It is increasingly accepted that income and wealth redistribution needs to be on the political agenda.

Around here, social concerns are more hypocritical and more empty. What the Tupiniquim bufunfa gang really wants is to destroy what little we have of the welfare state, in the name of fiscal adjustment and modernizing reforms. And the supposed “center” of politics is, more often than not, a sweetened version of the extreme right.

*Paulo Nogueira Batista Junior He is an economist, was vice-president of the New Development Bank, established by the BRICS in Shanghai, and executive director at the IMF for Brazil and ten other countries. Launched at the end of 2019, by LeYa publishing house, the book Brazil doesn't fit in anyone's backyard: backstage of the life of a Brazilian economist in the IMF and the BRICS and other texts on nationalism and our mongrel complex.

Originally published on GGN newspaper.

 

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