Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, this Sunday after the vote in São Paulo Andre Penner (AP)
It was missing a little, but it was missing. Lula da Silva is on the verge of becoming Brazil’s next president, but he can’t wait to greet the public until he crosses the finish line. It’s not the first time an athlete has lost on the checkered line before breaking the tape. It remains an eternity: four weeks, which is very hard for any campaign. The dilemma for today’s victor is: continue with the same campaign until the last electoral resistance is broken, or turn it into an exercise in intelligently seducing voters with no candidates and abstentions that can still be mobilized?
These may be some of the keys:
1. Almost everything starts over.
In fact, on the same election night, the second round begins… and another campaign. Today’s speech, the staging, the visual and symbolic choreography, the transmitted energies and the digital strategies of the segmented schedule of the same night define much, much. Lula shouldn’t focus on what happened and the outcome. You have to think about the long four weeks. You need to look at what’s missing, not what you have.
The election night of each first ballot carries great significance for the “losers” (ie those who did not vote for the first or second ballot). Also for those who abstained or voted blank. These people have to choose their second best option…or the least bad of the two left in the running. That’s where the decisions of the really decisive ones begin that night: the orphans by choice.
2. From candidate to presidential candidate.
To date there have been several candidates. But tonight only two presidential candidates. And only one will be. That is, the candidate begins to be evaluated and presented as a “possible — and real — next president.” The characteristics to be transferred are different. And even more so when the rival is the current president. Those facing each other are no longer candidates, but two ways of understanding the presidency of all Brazilians. That’s the look. This must be conveyed in form and content.
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3. Differentiated messages for orphaned voters.
We need to create messages for voters without candidates. And work your installation very segmented. The “orphaned” voters who find themselves on the borderline, intersectional or soft votes…need to “hear from the candidate” that the -future- President is speaking to them, understanding them and will represent them. Beyond the centre-right origins of Lula da Silva’s formula, the favorite comes to this election, bringing the entire left and center-left together in a way that has never happened before. But it wasn’t enough.
4. One campaign for everyone.
The decisive voters want to know whether the “Brazil daesperaça” opens the floodgates to the idea of the unity of the Brazilian people and Brazilian society. An ecumenical president, healer, integrator confronting a sectarian, toxic, divisive president. It’s all about this. To do this, Lula must position himself quickly to win tomorrow’s elections and differentiate himself even more from his rival. Combat will be unit versus division; order instead of chaos; Democracy or dangerous autocracy. Lula will have to convey in the next few hours that the real security is that Lula is president. That he will reign for all, including those who did not choose him and will not choose him. That Brazil deserves to go from a presidency that divides Brazilians to a presidency that unites them.
5. Very close but still missing.
Humility is everything in politics, despite the partial victory. Lula bet to win in the first round and it still wasn’t possible. Start a campaign that goes against the created expectations. It was missing a little, but it was missing. Let’s see how this affects the environment of the teams and the candidate himself. Jair Bolsonaro is not done yet: the discourse on the struggle of caste has penetrated very deeply. And he prepares his children to give continuity to his project. The radicalization of the right is more important – and more visceral – than social polarization. We don’t know if Bolsonaro ran this campaign – with this aggressiveness – for these elections or for the next ones. A strategy that prepares an exit that allows his return. But its strength is still considerable. Lula has room to grow and add. Bolsonaro just trying to destroy and share from there. Whoever hits the most wins.
Lula is on her own. Another campaign starts today. That of the soft voters and orphans. Lula will win if he can interpret her to portray her.
Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubi it is communications consultant