She won in the first round! Let's welcome ourselves to four years of Cristina — four more years of Kirchner-style corruption, friends' capitalism, negligence, incompetence, short-sightedness, intolerance and nepotism. And the worst of all is — she was the best candidate...
I refuse to believe that is it, but it is. Not only did she win by a wide margin, which will cause her and all her husband's minions to gloat over the victory during her whole term, but Congress, already crowded with yes-people, will now be practically a club for the Kirchnerist sect.
And yet I say she was the best candidate. In a way, many people sensed that and acted on their own interest. Cristina is the only one capable of containing and guiding the mobs that rule the most populated district in the country, her land of adoption, the province of Buenos Aires. She's the only one who can negotiate with the whole parallel chain of command (mayors, police, drug dealers, weapons dealers, gang leaders, petty thieves of all stripes) and ensure that they behave. These are the same people who are called to attend certain union assemblies and political meetings when they're needed. Cristina has already made sure that the corporatist model her husband started to draft will work — co-opt or buy the less combative unions, pay no attention to the smaller groups, and hint at the bosses of the oligopolic industrial conglomerates that run the economy that they'll be allowed to get away with murder, up to certain limits. By pulling on or loosing those two reins, she can control either side using the other as a threat.
The soul of old Peronism is now shattered for good, as are most other parties; all their candidates together couldn't have beaten Cristina Kirchner. The dissident Peronist Alberto Rodríguez Saá had a dismal performance; former minister Roberto Lavagna only served to take votes away from Elisa Carrió; former Radical Ricardo López Murphy must still be wondering why he ended up being a candidate. All these people, one presumes, will accept the defeat and go back to their homes, their fragile makeshift parties dissolving or becoming insignificant in national politics.
Carrió did quite fine, but only got half Cristina's votes, and half of her own, I bet, were votes against rather for. In any case, she seemed quite happy, and justifiably so, because she's now a force to be reckoned with. Carrió-Giustiniani won Buenos Aires City and in Rosario (they came even with Cristina in Santa Fe Province as a whole), and they got a few Senators and Deputies in.
During the celebrations, Cristina's supporters sang the Peronist March and chanted rhymes against the gorilas. A gorila, in old-fashioned Peronist parlance, is an anti-Peronist — which in Perón's time included (but was certainly not limited to) the urban middle and higher class, the wealthy landowners in the countryside, the independent intellectuals, the right-wing press, the big companies both national and foreign that didn't submit to Perón's desires. Hearing such a resentful and anachronistic term used to label the opposition (i.e. all of us) as enemies of Cristina's "national project", and the March — a textbook example of a crypto-fascist personality cult hymn — made me truly fear for this country.
This blog will resume its usual cheerful status tomorrow.