Whoever gets close to fire, burned ends. He who dwells with a bad neighbor, sometimes cries … The popular proverb is full of warnings about the consequences of taking certain risks that could be avoided just by keeping a prudent distance. Not having kept that distance is just what the PP has done with Vox since the founding of the far-right formation in 2013, and that is why the conservative party is today burned or crying, according to the saying that is preferred, in an eggplant in the that internal power struggles are intertwined with a deep identity crisis.
A few years ago, when the far-right parties emerged in Europe, it was said with praise that Spain was the exception to the rule thanks to the fact that Aznar had managed to embroil the neo-Franco effervescence under the initials of the PP. And it was so. But integrating the most reactionary electorate had its price, which was the difficulty in building a center-right option comparable to that of the neighboring countries. The scene changed with the proxy wars that broke out in the PP after the appointment of Rajoy as party leader. His enemies ruled that the new helmsman was an irredeemable softness, and the message was penetrating sectors of the right-wing electorate until, nine years later, with Rajoy already in Moncloa, Santiago Abascal saw the opportunity to found Vox after dissolving the Foundation to the Defense of the Spanish Nation, a mamandurria –thanks for the word, right-hand talk shows– that was financed by the Madrid PP of the liberal Esperanza Aguirre.
At that time, Rajoy had in his hands the power to redefine the party line and clearly set the ideological border between his formation and Vox. He had the legitimacy to do so, having won the elections with a historic majority, higher than that obtained by Aznar in 2000 at the height of his popularity. After a fierce opposition in which Zapatero was branded a “solemn fool”, a “coward without limits” or a “tin patriot”, the conservative leader’s spirit had tempered in the Monclovita armchair, allowing him to show his facet more moderate. That the extreme right considered him weak was an asset in his favor to center the party. However, he looked the other way. A year and a half after leaving the presidency of the Government and the PP, he argued that he had not dealt “much” with Vox because then “it was not a problem” and “had zero deputies.” The statement was a dart against his successor Casado, in whose stage the ultra party had begun to take off electorally, but at the same time it contained a confession of his own passivity in the face of a problem that was there, and that he did not know, or did not want, to see .
Rajoy is at this time, together with the Galician president Núñez Feijoo, the main bastion within the PP against Vox, as evidenced on Monday at the opening of the popular convention. The ex-president warned against “populist parties” that “end up very far from freedoms and the rule of law” and thus described the habitat that incubates those formations: “Threatened identities, government corruption, immigration in his exaggerated opinion and, very importantly, the economic crises. Difficulty finding work, low salaries, public services that do not work, generate the temptation in some to support parties that believe that they will fix it in a quarter of an hour. ” An impeccable diagnosis. It is worth remembering that in the Rajoy era there were some of the biggest corruption scandals of democracy, that the brick economy and precarious employment promoted by Aznar, and maintained by Zapatero, exacerbated the impact of the economic crisis in Spain, and that the PP has been the champion of low salaries and the privatization of public services whose efficiency the former president criticized; but let’s not dwell on these minutiae. In February of last year, during a rally, Rajoy was one step away from demanding a sanitary cordon against Vox, like the one maintained by the great European center-right parties with far-right organizations. “It is not good that extremists, whoever they are, are in the governments or conditioning them,” he said. But it stopped there.
In the opposite corner of the ring is the iberotrumpista and brand new Indias chronicler Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who governs Madrid with the support of Vox and who would not see any inconvenience to form a government with Abascal’s party wherever it was necessary. Even in Moncloa, where, according to astute analysts, the Madrid president has her eyes set. It would not be surprising if his medium-term objective is to embed – or swallow – Vox in his project and, already put, overthrow Pope Francis for questioning some “mistakes” made by the Church in the evangelization of America. If six centuries ago the perfidious Francophiles managed to depose our Benedict XIII, what prevents us from putting an Argentine Bolshevik on the streets today?
In some imprecise place in the ring, overwhelmed by events and dizzy with the ups and downs of the polls, is Casado, with the vaporous company of the mayor of Madrid, Martínez-Ameida. The leader of the PP maintains an underground duel with Ayuso for control of the PP and is estranged from Abascal, especially as a result of the latter challenging his role as head of the opposition by presenting a motion of censure against President Sánchez a year ago. However, he has avoided the break with Vox, partly so as not to precipitate an open war within the PP and partly to maintain bridges with the voters of the far-right party, which at some point he aspires to recover for the popular cause. It is possible that Casado and his strategists are busily looking for some geometric point between the cowardly right and the right without complexes to place the PP, but the only thing that is seen for the moment, beyond the daily hubbub against the Government for what it does or does stop doing it, it is a colossal mess, as Rajoy would say, around the political project of the main opposition party.
In reality, the challenge posed by the presence of Vox also applies to the other parties, who would do well to soak their beards. The demographic studies show that the ultra party is nourished not only by the old right-wing vote, but also, although to a lesser extent, by popular sectors disenchanted with progressive options and the fishing grounds for abstentionism. But this we will talk other day.