The decision of Iván Redondo not to continue as head of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, closes a peculiar stage in the history of political communication in Spain. The prominence that his figure has acquired while he has held the position has focused attention on a position that in a traditional way was always occupied by other profiles. Redondo was the first political consulting professional ever to perform a role of this magnitude. For now, it will also be the last.
Redondo has been characterized during these years that he has been with Pedro Sánchez for avoiding public appearances. This fact has been able to contribute even more to increase the legend around his figure, his responsibilities and his level of influence. The most curious thing about the case is that his most well-known previous activity was to appear as a political analyst for the program. Public mirror, on Antena 3. However, as soon as he became Sánchez’s consultant, he withdrew from any presence before the cameras.
The ‘spin doctors’
The figure of political consultants does not have a single standardized biotype. This function can be performed from very different areas of knowledge. There are, however, a series of skills that seem to be the most required and valued in the world in recent times. Traditionally, in Spain, the top advisers to our leaders usually came from politics and shared the same field of action with them. Perhaps the paradigm was Rubalcaba’s work with González or Zapatero. There have also been high-level officials, specialized in deep knowledge inside the administration, such as José Enrique Serrano. On some other occasion, we have been able to find specialists in surveys and opinion studies, such as Pedro Arriola in the PP. Finally, some communication experts have also taken the role, such as Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, with Aznar or Ayuso.
The peculiarity of Iván Redondo is that of being a consulting professional. It is what in political jargon is known as a spin doctor In all rules. The name does not have an easy translation in Spanish and it is not even entirely clear what the real origin of the term is in the United States, in the 1980s. The word spin it is polysemic and can have several meanings. One of them is spinning. Some essayists argue that the expression spin doctor refers to experts in spinning political narratives in a world decisively conditioned by communication.
The weight of communication
In these times, communication occupies a growing predominance in terms of defining any political strategy. For some scholars of the phenomenon, such as Christian Salmon, “the unprecedented transfer from the world of politics to the world of entertainment in streaming It is the culmination of a long process that has seen the Trojan horse of communication penetrate the closed universe of politics, invite itself to the conquest and exercise of power, play an increasingly important role in it, imposing its rationality on the reason of State, overdetermining it, corroding it, even replacing it: communication has become the raison d’être of politics “.
Redondo has transferred a good part of the audiovisual narrative language when planning his actions. His close collaborators tell how he set them the goal that each week they would be able to create an informative event that, in some way, would attract media attention. In the same way that television series attract the attention of his audience every seven days, his technique was to guarantee a new chapter of his speech every week. In addition, the staging always occupied a basic role that sought to never go unnoticed in the face of the routine of the political scene.
Another aspect that is becoming increasingly important is the evolution of traditional pollsters, the survey analysts who try to know in detail the opinions of the electorate. As with research on television tastes, politics poses a serious problem. It is not difficult to know what people think about what happened until today. The difficult thing is to determine what he is going to say and how he is going to act from tomorrow. Polls need not fail to determine what people think to vote for in the future. What is often impossible to predetermine is what they ultimately vote for.
Redondo has extensive experience in data analysis. It is difficult to find a single study of interest that was not controlled. The big problem is to weigh the evolution of the changes of opinion in a society that increasingly assumes the modification of its criteria with greater speed. Vertigo has arguably become the most influential trend in politics today. Instability has become the norm. Political careers are increasingly short and unpredictable. Phenomena like those of Albert Rivera or Pablo Iglesias are unimaginable decades ago. Great political figures whose trajectory, from their appearance to their retirement, barely lasts four or five years.
In politics, without a defined ideology
From his professional career, it was known that his consulting jobs had been linked to the Popular Party. He had even become a member of the Government of the PP of José Antonio Monago in Extremadura, until 2015. He had also collaborated with Xavier García Albiol in the campaign in which he obtained the mayor of Badalona and, previously, with the leader of the PP in the Country Vasco, José Antonio Basagoiti. When Pedro Sánchez decides to count on him in 2017, facing the PSOE primaries, the decision surprises many. However, those who know the current President of the Government speak of his pragmatism when measuring the professional capacity of the people.
Surely, the non-identification of the figure of Iván Redondo with a markedly left-wing ideology has been key to understanding his departure from Moncloa. Until the very day of his departure, no one argued, nor believed it possible to argue, about his continuity as Chief of Staff. The problem, the discrepancy and, finally, the rupture occurred when the possibility arose that he would leave a technical position to become part of the Government as a minister with an important public projection and prominent media presence.
Redondo was considering the idea and Pedro Sánchez did not see any inconvenience initially. However, as the ministerial remodeling approached, the new Government tended to establish its profile in an ideological reinforcement identified with the PSOE and a decided commitment to renewal. Iván Redondo as minister would have been a manifest novelty, but he could have been out of tune and even clashed with a team strongly rooted in the Socialist Party.
The unknown before the future
The phenomenon Iván Redondo in the front line of battle has lasted, at the moment, only four years. The question will forever remain open as to what would have happened if, as was his foresight, he had made the leap to politics as a leader in the partisan struggle. Seeing Redondo as a member of parliament, turned into “opposition from the opposition”, as he had come to plan, remains a historical unknown. No one, except himself, can know if he will ever consider trying to jump into the arena again, instead of staying, as he has done so far, planning the actions of others from the sidelines.
For Iván Redondo, his stage as Chief of Staff at the age of 40, just turned 40, seemed to him to have come to an end. Failing to make the leap to active politics on the front line, he has preferred to abandon and reinvent his professional career in private business. Offers will not be lacking.