Spanish politics is becoming a sort of general disarray that allows countless interpretations and confusions. Citizens following politics are sometimes inundated by analytical uncertainty and media overexposure. Both cause controversy and clarify very little.
The reality is that political leaders are in search of the tweet, the colorful quote, in favor more of impact than of influence. The explanation can be found in the ideological or arithmetic quandary. That explains how political party Ciudadanos reaches out to the right and the left to attract followers who abandon the options that are further to the ideological left and right. The Partido Popular is breaking drastically with the option further to the right in a clear ideological bid, but there will no longer be absolute majorities in the elections; it will probably be a long time until we see them again. So, what will Vox do? They will either allow the left to govern, out of spite, or they will look to add followers ideologically further to the right. The latter seems more reasonable, and this reflection was probably in the ideologues of the abrupt rupture staged so brilliantly by Pablo Casado. So much so that a great speaker like Santiago Abascal was left speechless.
The situation with Bildu is more uncertain, willing to break Spain apart, yet choosing to approve a budget that is necessary to resolve a devastating social and economic situation. The Podemos party is the Government’s partner and, sometimes, its opposition. Always willing to take credit for the positive and to stoke the ire of the social-democrat side, as well as to seed doubt among Socialist voters. Ideologically, the weakness of PSOE is good for those situated further to the left. ERC has arrived on the scene, asking Madrid and all the regional governments to activate the Wealth Tax. Wasn’t ERC a separatist party? Then why is it ordering taxes at the national level, why is this concern about what happens in other parts of Spain?
This is the situation faced by the Prime Minister who has chosen to turn to arithmetic. The more, the better. That is why he cannot join forces with Ciudadanos, despite the good intentions of Inés Arrimadas. Why would he, if there is no benefit to it. Right now, the numbers add up only by looking to the left. Everything is justifiable from the point of view of arithmetic. Ideology is quite another matter, and here he has to walk a thin line because the historical ideologues are protesting strongly. Undoubtedly, Pedro Sánchez has to lead more than ever, both in his party and in Spain. Weakness is bad for consolidating leadership. Arithmetic is too. It might be effective in the short term, but in the long term it must be accompanied by ideology, and the more it looks like the original, the more impact it has.
Plant today, harvest tomorrow. The split, outreach and dialog maneuvers that have taken place in recent weeks will be rewarded or punished in the upcoming elections. It will be an interesting scenario for sociologists, pollsters, communicologists, etc. to determine the ideological fatigue of citizens and to what extent that will lead to an arithmetic change in electoral decisions.
Moisés Ruiz is Professor of Lidership in the Grado de Administración y Dirección de Empresas