By Diego Hernández | The results of the Brazilian elections on October 2, showed the strength and resilience of a popular conservatism that advances despite the relentless attack to which it has been subjected during the last four years.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva obtained 48% of the votes and President Jair Bolsonaro 43%. That is, 57 million votes compared to 51 million, respectively. They only voted in another candidate 9% of the voters. As is known, there will be ballot on October 30.
Obviously, the left was victorious in obtaining a more than expressive vote for a former president convicted of corruption, who until recently was in prison and was never declared innocent, but had his sentences annulled by process errors.
Lula categorically affirmed that he would win the election in the first turn. The whole strategy of the Workers Party (PT) was oriented to it. The surveys of the largest research institutes indicated that it already had between 50 and 51% of the voting intentions and that it was up to 10 or 14 points away from Bolsonaro. Much of the local and foreign press embraced that narrative; And he sang Victoria. However, Lula was not enough. Would it have reached its maximum limit? The unexpected performance of Bolsonaro blocked his way. In the campaign committee of Lula Piraba an atmosphere of clear frustration and on Av. Paulista, local of the celebration, there were no crowds. I was in that same place in 2002, the night of the first shift, and the contrast is impressive, although that time I had almost 18 million votes unless, there was a human tide.
Bolsonaro got, against all expectations, a vote greater than that provided by the majority of the voting intention polls, which, depending on the institute, gave him on the eve of the lawsuit between 33 and 37% support. The press, local and international treated him as a “political corpse”, despite the mass demonstrations last September 7 that mobilized about 4 million people across the country. Well, only 5 million votes less than Lula, in elections in which 124 million people voted.
In addition, Bolsonaro won in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the first and third largest electoral school in the country, respectively; And there was only 5 percentage points behind Lula in Minas Gerais, the second largest electoral college, and, which will be the heart of the battle in the ballot.
Although Lula obtained 38% of his total vote from the Northeast, traditionally faithful to lulism and the caciquil vote, support for Bolsonaro also grew there unpublished, with almost 1.5 million more votes.
but there is more data. Of the 15 elected governors in the first turn, 7 are allies of Bolsanaro, and the number can grow for 9 the next few days; Lula has 5 elected governors, and can grow for 6.
There are 12 states where the second turn will be held for governor, in 8, the candidates are allies of Bolsonaro. For example, Tarcísio Freitas, his Minister of Infrastructure, is the leading candidate in the important São Paulo, with 42% of the votes. Or Onyx Lorenzoni, former minister of the civil house of the current president, who also leads in Rio Grande do Sul, a historic Lulista stronghold. The surveys placed them in a distant third place.
It is possible that, at the beginning of next year, the main capitals of the country and 60% of the national territory will be governed by Bolsonaro’s allies. It had never happened, since the “redemocratization” that the right had so many “places.”
The Liberal Party (PL) – which hosted Bolsonaro in this election, a pragmatic acronym and, despite the name, without ideology – got the largest bench in the Congress of the Republic: it will have 99 deputies and 14 senators.
The Senate renewed this year only one third of its 81 seats. Of the 27, at least, 18 were occupied by government allies. In total, it could have an allied base, with other parties and parliamentarians, close to 30 or 35. It does not give them control of the house, but great capacity for articulation and blocking. The left will have between 10 and 14.
The Senate is of paramount importance because it is, constitutionally, the institution destined to limit the excesses of the Judiciary. Something that has been omitted. That is why it was one of the explicit priorities of the Government. And surprised everyone.
In the Chamber of Deputies, having the PL as the largest party bench, in alliance with other acronyms, the right and right center base could reach at least 235 of the 513 deputies. Almost half. The Workers Party (PT), of Lula, also grew, but less, won 80 seats, and in alliance with other leftist parties could reach a block of 124 deputies.
Nine former ministers of Bolsonaro and his former vice president were elected for the Legislative, highlights the case of Damares Alves, former Minister of Women, Family and Human Rights, and three go for the second turn for the governorship.
The abstention was 21%, that is, 32 million voters, out of a total of 156 million suitable for voting. In the first turn of the 2018 presidential election it was 20%. There will be a second election on Sunday, October 30.
evidently, was a victory for Lula the expressive vote he obtained, especially if we consider the natural rejection that should generate the candidacy of a man who was sentenced to prison for corruption, and who was not declared innocent by the Federal Supreme Court, but his sentences were annulled for errors in the process. However, the overall result of the election shows a clear victory of Bolsonarism, which showed its strength at the polls.
The 51 million votes of Bolsonaro, two million more than what he received in the first turn of 2018; the integration of the largest party bench in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate; and the performance of the elected governors or who go for the ballot can be seen almost as a miracle.
A miracle because, for four years, Bolsonaro faces the active and programmatic opposition of the various actors of the system that destabilized with his coming to power. Two are the most blunt: the press and the dome of the Judiciary.
There was not a single day in which the president was not subject to the systematic attacks of almost the entire press, which formed a kind of opposition “consortium”, in order to erode his image by marking him as genocidal, fascist, oppressor, authoritarian, racist, misogynist and homophobic.
Their achievements or were ignored by most of the press or minimized. I offer just one example, although emblematic; To refer to the constant economic improvement in the middle of the pandemic, the Folha de São Paulo, thus titled a text: “The economy gives more signs of displacement.”
And the Federal Supreme Court went on to act as a kind of block opposed to the government, defining it as never before with another head of the Executive Branch. Recently, he prevented him from using images of the massive concentrations in his support, last September 7 in his campaign; as well as his trip to England or his speech at the UN.
In addition, he limited the freedom of expression of conservatives, placed Bolsonarist businessmen on research, closed right-wing media; Recently, in the election campaign he imposed censorship.
Despite this, the conservative vote showed its strength and vitality – beyond the figure of Bolsonaro – and I think they are the main winners of this electoral process. Why?
– Bolsonaro does not remain as a pointer, but it has a greater support than the one that the polls foresaw and prevented Lula from winning in the first turn.
– The conservatives have the largest bench in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate and get an allied base in one and another house very close to the number that allows them to control them, especially in that of Deputies.
– It has an extraordinary performance in the election of governors: half of the elected governors in the first turn are their allies and the number can grow; as well as almost 3/4 of those who went to ballot.
– There is a vigorous conservative base consolidating in the country, which did not exist in the last election.
I think those conclusions are based on objective data. The point that I stress is that 5 years ago there was no popular right Brazil. Today yes. Disarticulated, but there is. And it is a right that is mostly assumed conservative, composed mainly of Christians. And the data suggest that this part of Brazilian society is solidly represented by more than 1/3 that has political and electoral practices consistent with the culture they developed.
Diego de Jesús Hernández is Director of Communication and Development for Ibero-America of the Political Network for Values