In 2021 Lula has Consolidated Himself; Bolsonaro and the Third Way are Running out of Steam

By Emir Sader on December 29, 2021

Out with Bolsonaro

The first characteristic of 2021 in Brazil was the reversal of the optimistic expectation of economic reactivation and favorable projection for 2022. Throughout the year, on the contrary, the economic recession consolidated, to the point that the CB had to substantially raise interest rates.

Unemployment remained at the high levels of the previous year, but what increased greatly was the number of precarious workers. Today we can say that the vast majority of Brazilians who earn some kind of income do not do so with a formal contract. That is, with no guarantee of job continuity, no vacations, no maternity leave and with all the guarantees of formal work, including no compensation for losing their job.

With this evolution, the forecast for 2022, therefore for the election campaign scenario, is the continuation of recession and unemployment. A very unfavorable scenario for the government.

The second characteristic of 2021 was the reversal of the image of the government and Bolsonaro, which collapsed. They reached the end of the year with a very low approval rating and a rejection rate of 60 percent or more, according to the survey.

Third, attempts to project a so-called third way candidate failed. Ciro Gomes not only failed to increase his ratings in the polls, but they fell by half, placing him in the middle of the pile of third way names.

The biggest news could be the launching of Sergio Moro as a candidate for the presidency of the republic. Tied to the fight against corruption and to the image he had, Moro did not realize all that had changed in Brazil: the wear and tear of the fight against corruption, in terms of Lava Jato and the negative image after Vaza Jato. Contrary to what the media projected, his support ratings remained low.

Lula, on the other hand, has had a very positive year. Without launching himself as a candidate, without having space in the media, his image ended up being completely inverted in relation to what the media had projected in previous years.

Lula circulated throughout the country, with an articulated speech, from the northeast to the south of the country. Subsequently, he made a trip to Europe, where he was received as head of state. He traveled to Argentina, consolidating his image as the greatest Latin American political leader.

Among the activities within Brazil, Lula’s massive communication with the youth, with an audience of thousands of people, was the most striking.

Gradually, as Bolsonaro’s image faded and Moro did not assert himself, the media itself began to give Lula’s image and some of his words. His contacts with Geraldo Alckmin occupied much of the political space, forcing the media to publicize and comment on the political fact of Lula’s articulation to build his candidacy.

At the end of the year, to crown the projection of his image, Lula began to appear in the polls as a probable winner in the first round, with preferences around 48 percent in the first round and 40 percent in the spontaneous poll.

The year 2021 ends like this: with Lula’s prominence as the great national political presence, with the erosion of Bolsonaro’s image and with the failure of the third way pre-candidates, including Moro. 2022 is thus projected as a year of consolidation of Lula’s favoritism to be elected in the first round of the October elections in Brazil.

Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English