The failure of Sunday’s demonstrations against Bolsonaro teaches that playing with a cube you cannot be elected president. If he chose, Geraldo Alckmin would be in Planalto. In 2018 he had five and a half minutes of free television time, against Bolsonaro’s few seconds. There were also PSDB armored against the PSL slingshot.
In 1989, Ulysses Guimarães had already been humiliated by Fernando Collor. He had a biography, television time, support from parties, and he didn’t make it to the second round.
The people who play with cubes add factors such as notoriety, money from all the boxes, TV time and party support. From time to time, they try to leverage a celebrity from the small screen. However, Collor was elected because he introduced himself as the “Hunter of the Maharajas”, and Bolsonaro with a mixture of antipetismo and “new politics” (nobody knew what that was, but he moved on).
Playing cubes, like playing backgammon, is an upstairs habit. In essence, the joke considers the popular will irrelevant. Thus, both in the case of Collor and Bolsonaro, it worked: both nestled in the center.
What is surprising about this delusion is that it persists in the country that elected Tancredo Neves in 1984, when almost everyone upstairs thought that, under the laws of physics, the Presidency was between Minister Mario Andreazza and former São Paulo governor Paulo Maluf.
Tancredo Neves embodied a civilizing idea to bury a bankrupt dictatorship. He was an experienced politician, tolerant, even wise.
A part of the people willing to vote for Bolsonaro do so because they have a horror of Lula and the PT. At the other end, there are people who vote for Lula because they no longer want to hear about Bolsonaro.
Peronism, as well as anti-Peronism, has ruined Argentine politics for more than half a century. In Brazil, “pocketarism” is a kind of childhood disease of antipetismo. Apparently, luckily, it got off the rails in a short time. In Argentina, this radicalization led to the bloodiest and most imbecile of Latin American dictatorships.
Bolsonaro became an unprecedented phenomenon in the politics of the Brazilian Republic. Conservatives, even reactionaries, have already appeared in it, but there has never been a ruler with both feet behind him.
Whoever is able to cite a relevant initiative of their government that has gone well wins a weekend in Budapest. The two 20th-century dictatorships were committed to progress. Just remember the Consolidation of Labor Laws by Getúlio Vargas and the Funrural by the government of Emílio Médici.
Brazil only got both feet behind in the 1940s of the 19th century, but still got out of the mire in 1850, when it dissociated itself from smuggling and started to repress the slave trade.
At that time, they played with a cube until the time when the British Navy blocked slave navigation.
Playing with a cube will not get an alternative to the Lula-Bolsonaro dilemma. If this alternative appears, it will have to be built on ideas and, above all, on a climate of generalized tolerance. The idea of “this no” works a year before the election, but, as General Pazuello would say, at the hour of D-Day, presidential elections are not à la carte. The customer has to choose what is on the buffet.
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