Cristina goes through days of annoyance with Alberto Fernández because of the government’s direction and the lack of audacity in economic matters. In his disquisitions he usually asks aloud: “Why do we win the elections?”.
That nuisance is sometimes blurred by electoral needs and the peace strategy, but it is permanent. In private, the vice president compares Alberto with Mauricio Macri. The comparison is cruel. He says that Macri disappointed those who trusted him in the face of promises such as those to eliminate the income tax, but that, above all, he disappointed his hard core of voters, who did not expect – for example – that he would end up increasing social plans, instead of reducing them. Cristina believes that Alberto is rocking in front of that same abyss. Who does not know who he is ruling for and that their hesitations are dragging the Frente de Todos to pay costs on both sides of the rift.
She is not willing to deepen them. At least not in front of his congregation. That treasure concentrated in the Conurbano that feels threatened for the first time in many years and that could affect it when the polls open on September 4. It’s not that he’s doing all that badly or that he’s losing. No one could assure it at this point in the face of a crisis of such a dimension. But experience tells him that in some districts of the province of Buenos Aires he needs to win by a wide margin to match adverse localities in the interior. There are bastions of the Third Section where two years ago the difference between the ruling party and the opposition exceeded thirty points. That explains his steps and those to come in the next sixty days.
The vice president will take charge of the campaign in the country’s main electoral district, with the face of Axel Kicillof in the foreground, as she just made clear on Thursday, at the event in Lomas de Zamora. The move involves retrace and amalgamate a new story that can seduce the disenchanted. Everything will change after the elections and we will be happy again, he promises, but first we have to win them.
Sociologists dedicated to verifying social humor warn about the growth of anti-political sentiment, which could put that persuasion strategy at risk. These are non-politicized citizens who openly say no longer that they do not know who they are going to vote for but they do not want to vote. Many young people, among them.
Cristina’s allusion to the rapper L-Gante was not naive, like none of his words in Lomas’s speech. He had been advised on the resounding rise of the young man, a magnet for thousands of boys who bet on technology to escape their daily hardships. L-Ghent recorded a song with a microphone and a computer and changed his fate after almost 200 million views on YouTube. He went from selling Milanese sandwiches to touring Europe.
Cristina said that this change was possible thanks to the Connect Equality plan, which distributed computers in her administration. The young man spoke on A24 and explained that he had sold a cell phone so that he could buy it because it had never arrived. It may not be relevant, but neither of us was telling the whole truth. That computer would have come into your hands by not very holy means. It will be known soon.
The former president assumes that there will not be time to reverse the economic crisis before the primaries. And something else: that vaccination, even though it has now been accelerated, will not be enough to considerably improve the spirits of Buenos Aires. To put it another way: the sectors that could not fill the refrigerator with Macri can now less. The Indec figures say so: poverty and unemployment increased and food prices are through the roof.
His messages on Thursday, the explicit ones and the ones that take some time to decode, were accurate and targeted. If there is no present, let there be the fantasy of a future.
There lies part of the axis of his discussions with Fernández. She maintains that the President and Martín Guzmán, outside of the pandemic, are only thinking about negotiating with the IMF and that they are making commitments that would complicate the next few years.
We must think about the post-pandemic urgently, they argue at the Instituto Patria. That is quite similar to thinking about the day after the legislative elections. This stage cannot be planned with the logic of Guzmán, who, in the opinion of the Cristinistas, shares too many arguments with certain Macrista economists. Some numbers give way to support the reasoning.
In the first five months of 2021, the Minister of Economy achieved a fiscal deficit of less than 0.5% of GDP. It was the product of several factors: the increase in the price of soybeans (it exceeded 500 dollars, when in December it was below 300), the increase in inflation and the cut in pensions. The last point is a lunge for the story. In the first semester, inflation would exceed 25% (already at a step of the 29% that had been promised for the whole year) but in that period, pensions will have increased 21%.
Guzmán boasts of the achievement and exhibits it in his negotiations with the Fund. Cristina and La Cámpora get irritated. “Good, we adjusted in the middle of a catastrophe”, they ironize.
The machinery moved again. In June the taps were turned on and spending will increase sharply in July, August and September. How much? Enough to wipe out the deficit reduction in the first half. So forceful.
Cristina’s tantrums with the economic team often stop in the episode Basualdo, the La Cámpora official that the minister wanted to throw out and who was detained after a public scandal. It seems that it was a thousand years ago, but the head of the Front did not leave the rancor: she maintains that the controversy generated divisions and that it hurt the historical mandate of Kirchnerism when it was installed that a strong increase in rates was analyzed.
In the “Monday Table” shared by albertistas, massistas and campers, they began to talk about which profile would be the appropriate one to head the Buenos Aires ballot. The best exponent of the 2021 narrative, the definition used by Santiago Cafiero to avoid the word story.
More than half a dozen names are displayed on the board. Alberto is satisfied with a candidate who does not scare. The name of Victoria Tolosa Paz attracts her. There are two other women in dance: Fernanda Raverta and Luana Volnovich. From Thursday we must also pay attention to Martín Insaurralde.
Some campers continue to suggest Cafiero, with the idea of removing him from the Cabinet. Alberto told his minister forget to leave the government, although Cafiero does not finish ruling it out. Daniel Scioli? Sergio Berni? They are names that appear relegated, but they are.
“It will depend on Cristina and beware that it may be someone we are not seeing. Don’t forget that she likes the surprise effect”Says one of his advisers. It happened with Amado Boudou in 2011. Then with Alberto in 2019. A collaborator risks another name. Nicolás Kreplak, Kicillof’s Deputy Minister of Health.
Cristina will decide at the last minute and will wait for the definitions in the opposition, which are not easy. Yesterday Facundo Manes was launched by the UCR. It is expected that in the next few hours Diego Santilli will do it for the PRO. Sometimes it is overlooked: Santilli is Buenos Aires deputy chief and Minister of Security; he will leave both positions two years before the end of the term.
Meanwhile, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta -his ideologue- will try to convince Jorge Macri that he is not the third option. The mayor of Vicente López said very strong things about Santilli. Can you change your mind? Perhaps. It would not be the first. There are acrobatic jumps for all tastes.
That of María Eugenia Vidal is still remarkable. It is the one that measures the best in the Province, but it insisted on returning to the City, the place where the macrismo never loses elections. Vidal spoke of the Province as “one more son”. She said that the Buenos Aires residents had been “lied to and cheated so much” that she was not going to be one more, even if it cost her her career. It was very recently.
Like the L-Ghent rap, it can be viewed for free on Youtube.