Analysis: Disconnected acts portray Lula’s dilemma – 03/23/2024 – Power

Analysis: Disconnected acts portray Lula’s dilemma – 03/23/2024 – Power


The predictably disconnected and empty acts of the left against former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) this Saturday (23) are less relevant in the context of the potential of the rival camps of Brazilian polarization, but they portray a dilemma placed before Lula (PT).

Since taking office, with the great help of the coup acts of January 8, 2023, the president has systematically bet on dividing the electorate to keep his support base magnetized.

Bolsonaro, even though he has lost his political rights until 2030, is treated as an existential threat. As a result, the government politically revolves around maintaining this scarecrow. Nothing new here: the former president did the same to Lula throughout his term.

Not only that: both leaders play a feedback game of the rival’s importance. The result is evident in the constant polarization of the country registered by Datafolha, which in the most recent survey showed the same level of division among the electorate — in this case, 41% say they are very or somewhat PT supporters, 30% the same in the Bolsonarist record.

21% of those who declare themselves neutral remain squeezed and orphaned, exactly the lake in which both groups will have to fish for votes in future elections.

Lula has sequentially disappointed his most fiery followers on the left, who had been fueled by the influence of First Lady Janja in the more aggressive modulation of the PT member in this third term. From Ukraine to Gaza, including Lava Jato and the Venezuelan dictatorship, he played the violin for the radical fringes.

But when it came to talking about the 60th anniversary of the military coup that, in the late 1970s, saw him become a political actor, Lula dropped the ball. It does so in the name of tense stability with the military, already under pressure due to investigations into Bolsonarism’s coup plot, and has frustrated its base.

There is the pragmatism that has always marked Lula much more than any leftism in the calculation, but perhaps also the perception that the tactic of using polarization has favored Bolsonaro more than him. Again, Datafolha offers a compass.

In the most recent survey, the president’s approval and disapproval curves were closer. No tragedy, but the warning signal is on from a strategic point of view, targeting the 2026 election.

In one year, the wear and tear of a government that has good economic indicators, but which has relied more on a quarrel with its rival than on presenting a program that appears to have been created in the 2020s, has become evident.

This suggests the reason for Lula’s abandonment of his actions. The PT member may have realized that the mutually assured obsession with Bolsonaro may no longer be so advantageous to him, while keeping the former president cornered with public muscle.

To make matters worse, there is the inescapable fact that the street has become the territory of the middle class right in Brazil since the energy released uncontrollably in the 2013 acts became fuel for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff (PT) three years later. The left, which lived off the reputation of dominating this territory through unions and NGOs, never recovered.

There were, of course, moments when the “Paulistas” turned red and, mainly, support for Lula took him back to the Presidency. Self-declared PT members are still in the majority.

But the pro-Bolsonaro protest on February 25 was a reminder that, if you are going to contest photography, the capillarity of virtual mobilization still gives the right an advantage. While she decides what to do, Lula risks seeing her base become disorganized.


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