The New Party is one of the biggest losers of this election, not simply because of the number of seats, but because it completely wrongly analyzed the political moment in the country and bet on a clumsy exemption as an official discourse. From when Amoedo became a confessed enemy of Bolsonaro, in the middle of 2019, accepting to question his liberalism in exchange for progressive acceptance, to the new leadership of the party, which decided to bet on Felipe D’Ávila as his own candidate, there were numerous errors in the political reading of current Brazilian affairs by the aforementioned party.
Just to contextualize the reader, the Novo elected eight federal deputies in 2018, the largest caucus of the liberal party, and it hoped to significantly increase that figure this year, relying on the idea that the government’s liberal agendas would bequeath abundant leftovers of sympathizers to its candidates; that the popular wave of Brazilian neoliberalism would bring Puritan sympathizers to its ports. Wrong badly. It lost five seats and practically disappeared from the states of the federation, a loss of 2018% in relation to the 2018 election. A large part of liberals understood that, even though the president is not a liberal of splendid birth, pure blood, even though his speeches are often pathetic and intemperate, that he had bet on D’Ávila in the name of a dumb independence, while the left united to elect Lula, it definitely couldn’t be a smart choice — from any perspective.
But I have to be honest, the New Party has something that I really vehemently admire: political independence and courage to criticize even those most aligned with themselves. Few virtues please me as much as independence. It was in such a spirit, for example, that the party’s leaders removed Amoedo and the entire group that supported him from the leadership — often, under harsh and public criticism from the party’s own parliamentarians. But critical autonomy should not be a fideistic belief, and among the few virtues that I like more than independence is political intelligence.
Analyzing the consequences and immediate political situations rationally is a political exercise. necessary for those who work in this environment, to ignore the fact that it presents itself to keep ideological virginity is religion, not politics. In other words, in the urge to be independent, many of the New became radicals of a partisan puritanism. The popular impression that only Bolsonaro would have the political strength to fight Lula, and Lula to fight Bolsonaro, became a reality in the result of the first round.
Os 0,47% of D’Ávila’s votes are shameful for the party’s pretensions, even more so for the party’s strategists. Undoubtedly, the party left weakened not only politically but also morally. This is because there is no glory in being independent on a self-built island, just as there is no glimmer of victory and honor in 0.% of votes in a simple majority electoral system.
No one was really surprised by D’Ávila’s poor vote. Who, on the eve of the vote, sincerely expected something different? The polarized reality of the country, for better or for worse, does not ask permission to exist, it just shows itself for what it is. Trying to bend reality under an uncompromising third way discourse has always been pure utopia sipped in one gulp by Tabet, Ciro and D’Ávila. Novo’s stance of distancing himself from President Bolsonaro because of his botched speeches, in exchange for a completely unsustainable and politically innocuous independence, despite not being reprehensible, was by far not politically intelligent – neither for the party nor for its candidates. .
The government’s current liberal agenda is certainly the closest to real national liberalism since the Second Empire. Now, in the end, the Ministry of Economy of the national government had at its head a classic liberal from Chicago, a team made up of genuinely liberal and even libertarian members who ranged from the Austrian School to sympathizers of the New. The government’s liberal and reformist agendas have always been clear and active; one can complain about the form and methods, but not about the ideological clarity and pro-market incursions that Bolsonaro and his team have made in recent years.
Machiavelli showed, in ‘O Príncipe’, that the policy is mostly made in the intelligence of the player in anticipating events and correctly analyzing possibilities. Those who are able to correctly predict social and political movements in advance will be better prepared to judge the fortune they will dispute.
Politics proposes pragmatic scenarios in which independence can quickly become a sign of weakness. , often the abnegation of principles becomes egocentric stubbornness, leading the courageous chaste to destroy the worshiped idea because he does not want to imagine that impure hands can touch and divide his chest of values. Knowing how to regulate their principles to “what we have for today” is the genius of the great ones in this field.
If Thatcher had waited for the real conservatives to support her, she would not have left the political suburbs of her broken; if Reagan had waited for American liberals to shake hands with him, it would have been wiser to return to his Hollywood performances. For a liberal or conservative puritan, there will never be a candidate up to his expectations, other than himself or someone of his caste.
The current need for the liberal-conservative pact is evident even to the most naive of liberals, and I am not saying that it is evident now, it is evident at least since when Lula presented himself as a candidate of the left. Certainly the lack of this political reading was the biggest setback for the Novo party. Bolsonaro and Lula are not in the same moral package, which many affiliates of the liberal acronym have constantly stressed in their campaigns, it is a factual lie carried out by many with a kind of political religiosity of their own.
Bolsonaro’s mistakes and excesses do not even come close to the posture, projects and consequences of a Lula in power; if put into perspective, it is laughable to make such a comparison. However, Felipe D’Ávila, after the vote on the 2nd, once again signaled neutrality between Lula and Bolsonaro, and the party decided not to formally support the president’s candidacy for reelection, but released its bench to support whoever they want. On the other hand, Romeu Zema, Marcel van Hattem and Paulo Ganime, in addition to other state deputies and councilors of the acronym, have already signaled support for Bolsonaro.
The reiterated silence of many liberal leaders only reinforces the amateurism that has guided the decisions of the Novo party until now, making the party an almost irrelevant party in the national legislature for the next four years. As a liberal that I am, I would love to see a president with such values rule the nation, I say this with complete sincerity. But the feet on the ground and the pragmatism of common sense prevent me from feeding on illusions. The reality that now rings the bell of our homes is just one: Either Lula, or Bolsonaro.
And no, dear liberals, at this moment, there is no way to stay “neutral”, such “independence” it is just a moral weakness, after all, not deciding – in this situation – is already a form of decision. As history confirms, in difficult moments, neutrals tend to fall into political ostracism, oblivion, smallness.
Who today remembers with pride the pacifist Neville Chamberlain, who tried to dialogue with Hitler and almost brought down all of Europe with its gourmet “neutrality”? How many today admire and applaud the memory of Richard Nixon for having flattered and approved of Mao Tse Tung in exchange for foolish diplomacy?
The sophisticated exemption of these liberals and the pseudovirtuous neutrality of Faria Lima, in times of authoritarian fog, where socialism ceased to be a threat to become imminent, are too bizarre to contemplate. Ayn Rand once said, “You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” You may not vote for Bolsonaro, but you cannot ignore the consequences of an elected Lula.