Many Brazilians are deceived by the political compositions made by Lula to defend that he is a moderate politician. However, if making an alliance was a requirement to identify a moderate, Bolsonaro should also be defined as such, since he maintains a sustained government based on agreements with the centrão.
The fact is that being moderate has nothing to do with the political strategy adopted to support personal projects, such as staying in power or getting elected; on the contrary, moderation must have the purpose of seeking solutions for the citizen, for those whom the politician represents. The moderate politician is a lobbyist who works for the interests of the citizen and not for his own navel.
To refute any attempt to frame Lula as a moderate, it is necessary to compare his political career with the main characteristics of a moderate politician listed by Aurelian Craiutu, in “ Faces of Moderation” . The first characteristic of the moderate is the conquest of lucidity through the search for truth. The moderate opens himself up to the contradictory at all times so as not to close himself in bubbles of supposed truths. He understands that the veracity of a fact is conquered through the clash of opinions and, therefore, he does not cower in his ideological spectrum. Lula never did that. He never had the humility to recognize contributions from contradictory ideologies and was always at the service of supposed truths produced by the opportunism of his marketing. Worse, he inflamed his militancy to act radically on these agendas.
The second characteristic to emphasize in a moderate is the fight against barbarism, against illegality . Once again Lula leaves much to be desired. How many times has she been silent against MST attacks and destruction of public property when these were committed by political support groups? Moderates are never silent in the face of an act against the rule of law.
The third important attribute of a moderate politician is the belief in democracy as a path to development . Although Lula sells himself as a democrat, it is clear from his history that he never defended democratic values strongly. On the contrary, he set up the institutions, producing real theaters that worked for his project of power; he sees scandals escrachados by Mensalão and Lava a Jato. Lula, in fact, represented a setback in relation to the FHC government, abandoning the process of strengthening a liberal democracy and consolidating the country as an autocracy.
Finally, the fact that the moderate overrides work for reforms over work for party interests stands out . In this regard, Lula’s misalignment with the moderate stance is obvious. What to say about a government that stayed in power for 8 years, with very high levels of popularity and that did not even approve a major reform for Brazil? Lula always favored partisanship and its identity guidelines that supported his maintenance in power and left aside the important reforms for Brazil.
Lula may be less radical than Bolsonaro, but that doesn’t make him a moderate. Far from it. Today we have two extremists at the forefront of the presidential election race who act against democracy and against the development of Brazil. We can choose one less radical than the other, but never classify it as moderate. If Brazilians do not react to extremism, they will continue to be in bad shape.