In the last five years, Sergio Moro lived in three very different moments. As a judge in Operação Lava-Jato, he was elevated to the status of a national hero by breaking the tradition of impunity for the powerful and taking to jail a group of corrupt politicians and dishonest businessmen who gorged themselves on the public coffers. Later, he was invited to command the Ministry of Justice in the Bolsonaro government. He imagined that the post would pave the way for a long-awaited vacancy in the Supreme Court. The project failed. He had a falling out with Jair Bolsonaro, resigned from his position and accused the former captain of interfering with the Federal Police to protect his children. This attitude helped to consolidate the image of the magistrate’s intransigence with misdeeds, which led to the third important moment of his career: that of candidate for president of the Republic. Opposing Lula, who was sent to prison, and Bolsonaro, who was sent to prison, the former judge was celebrated as an alternative capable of attracting part of the 37 million voters who, at the time, did not intend to vote for the PT or the current president. In November, Moro pompously joined Podemos. What no one imagined is that, from that point on, he would enter an unimaginable process of miniaturization.
At the start, it looked like Moro’s aspirations would pay off. He even reached the surprising level of 10% of voting intentions — a spectacular mark for a novice, second only to the favorites. Squid and Bolsonaro. There is, however, that maxim that politics is not for amateurs. The former judge discovered this in practice. Gradually, he accumulated a succession of tricks that, in different degrees of intensity, show his unpreparedness to fight in an unknown arena. From Podemos, he received the promise that he would have the financial and political conditions to qualify as the so-called third way candidate. His stint in the party had a little bit of everything, except what had been promised: intrigue, power struggles, money rage and betrayals. Suspicious that the party was just using his name as a bargaining chip for negotiations and political settlements, in March he transferred to União Brasil, the fourth largest association in Congress. There, he imagined that he would have the support he needed to finally make his presidential campaign viable — at least that’s what he was told. Two months later, his plans got even more complicated. No Podemos, a runt who has only eight deputies in Congress, Moro was still a giant. In União, which has seventy congressmen and regional chiefs of various calibers, he is just one more.
To run for the presidency, for example, he would need three-fifths of the seventeen votes cast by the party’s executive committee, a hypothesis considered very remote because the DEM, which merged with the PSL to form the party, has important leaders who do not support the idea of having Moro as a partner and controls eight of the collegiate votes. For a seat in the Senate in São Paulo, he also finds resistance. Despite showing up well in the first polls in the polls, with levels ranging from 14% to 22%, the former minister will clash with the president of the São Paulo City Council, Milton Leite, a historic figure of the DEM in the state and pre-candidate of the Union for the post, and with deputies and candidates for deputies, who, in an informal survey carried out by the association, stated that linking their electoral projects to the name of the former judge would deprive them of votes. Apparently, Moro is in an alley with very few exits.
Sidelined by the political class, the ex-presidential candidate, ex-minister and ex-judge is decreasing in several directions. Contrary to what he imagined, his name did not infect the Brazilian middle class. His accusations also failed. The day before switching from Podemos to União, the Federal Police announced that they had found no evidence that President Jair Bolsonaro had illegally interfered in the corporation to protect family members and allies. With no defined political future, the man who represented the largest anti-corruption operation in the country’s history now spends most of his days fulfilling parish agendas in São Paulo’s municipalities, visiting hospitals and steakhouses, and increasingly distant from major national issues. . “Sergio Moro was a good judge, but in the political world, his inability will cost him dearly,” says Senator Soraya Thronicke, who was listed for vice on a ticket headed by Luciano Bivar, the chief who took the former magistrate to the Union and who now announces that he intends to run for the presidency himself.
Although he still hopes to reach the Planalto Palace, the former minister knows that his project is sinking. What seemed unlikely now turns out to be practically impossible, so much so that he himself openly admits plan B: running for the Senate for São Paulo. The leaders of the Union, in turn, take it for granted that Sergio Moro will be left to claim a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. With the popularity he still has, they believe he meets the conditions to become one of those voting champions, as was the clown Tiririca in past elections. The former minister, however, guarantees that this plan C does not exist even in the field of hypotheses to be considered. The fact is that, after all these ups and downs, Moro has shrunk — and the daring political adventure he’s staked all his chips on could end in monumental failure.
Published in VEJA of May 18, 2022, issue nº 2789