Capriles, the Miranda pitbull


pitbull-prayer-dogMy previous post on what Henrique Capriles needs to do in his next Presidential election caused a bit of a misunderstanding.

Let me start off by putting some things off the table: I do not agree with Ibsen Martínez’s criticism of Capriles for feeling sorry for the President, nor do Henrique’s frequent manifestations of his faith bother me. In fact, it’s what I find most intriguing about him.

I was simply trying to use the Martínez article as a launching pad for examining a very real problem for Capriles: the idea that he’s not “mean enough” for a negative campaign.

Now, many people may think this notion has some legs to it. After all, Capriles ran a remarkably positive campaign for President, one where he avoided mentioning Chávez by name and focused on his proposals, his proverbial “camino.”

So, does Capriles have it in him to campaign negatively? The answer is yes.

Witness his latest campaign in Miranda. The entire time, Capriles warned voters that Miranda “would not return to the darkness.” That Miranda did not want “those who have not done anything.” That Miranda did not want “looters and thieves.” That Miranda would never again “kneel before those who do nothing to improve their lives.” That chavistas wanted to destroy all the things he had built.

In short, Capriles made the election about them – about how horrible they were, about how they wanted to come and take away what, to many, was a positive record in Los Teques.

Using his remarkable ability to stay on message, Capriles needs to do the same thing nationally. As long as the election is about Maduro and his cronies and not about “la IV República” or “la derecha,” about “neoliberalism” or whatever red flag the government throws at the MUD, he has a shot. He must be relentless and avoid talking about himself. Make Nicolás and the 40 thieves the focus, in order to drive chavista voters home. Remind chavista voters of everything they dislike about the cronies on their own side.

And do it mercilessly, like a pitbull.

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  1. The again, when Chavez is in the ballot, it is a whole different story. I don’t think an aggressive campaign against Chavez would have worked anyway. But, Chavistas do not trust in the people that surround the President… Feeding that feeling is pretty effective to win a camping, especially after the catastrophic Diosdado governorship.

  2. It seems to me that Capriles’ strength is his appeal to a wide range of people. One of the ‘joys’ of the Chavez era has been relentless polarization. I don’t see how it helps for Capriles to be drawn in to that same trap.

    Anyways, if you’ve just lost a presidential election to a hard left incumbent, surely the answer isn’t to turn further right?

  3. After Chávez dies, chavistas are going to go through the stages of pain: Denial, Anger, Negotiation, Depression and Acceptance.

    If the elections happen while most of them are still in the first three stages: Denial, Anger and Negotiation, they probably will come out and vote blindly for the chavista candidate as a way to cling or “bring back” the memory of Chavez. They’re going to be very hard to defeat under those circumstances.

    • If he doesn’t have it in him, then he shouldn’t be President. A President needs to be a politician that can adopt different tones when the situation so requires it. He/she needs to bring people together when he has to, and be a warrior when he needs to.

      • Well, he knows how to rise his voice we saw a lil bit of that et the end of the 7O campaign. But I would differentiate HC voice from the campaign tone. He can very well keep playing a cooler character and let another figure (maybe a VP pick) going into attack. Obama-Biden comes to my mind

  4. They posted on their Facebook page pictures of them giving away appliances and showed how it was manipulative and buying votes. I was surprised by that because I never really saw that in the Presidential campaign. Then again, he was preaching to the choir in that instance.

  5. Again, we are assuming Fat Bastard is not returning. We could be very wrong.

    As for his faith, I don’t like that, but I understand it, and I am not going to criticize it, as long as it does not mean privileges for the Catholic Church. What I HATE is “Venezuela es el mejor país del mundo”. Dude, if it’s so good, why change Chávez?

  6. Still playing that speculation game of new elections, I would not count on it( could be a delay in swearing in, its happened before) but if it does happen it may be you will facing someone you have not thought of.

      • Greene silence is more eloquent than his words, don’t you notice? He should keep silent.

        En criollo, “Colte Velde”: callaíto luces mejor…

    • Who? Zombie Chávez? There’s not even a remotely better option for Chavismo besides Maduro. If the PSUV Wasn’t a farce and its people actually had a voice in choosing the candidates for governors (Instead of dedocracy), maybe you’d have a better option, but since that is not case, you’re stuck with either some Paracaidistas or the ol’ military cronies and some civil ones. Hell, if not Maduro then you’d have better chances with María Bolívar than with the rest.

  7. Now this is more like it Juan, I see your point more clearly now. Yes, he needs to be more like this Miranda Campaign, specially since there’s a lot to say about Maduro and his cronies. Start with the fact that Maduro has not ever been elected to a post. And also remind of the past investigations on corruption (Was it corruption or narcotics? well, w/e) in the past that went away because of “no evidence”

    • mauricio – you are living in cloud cuckoo land! Examine the results of the Miranda election and you will see that Capriles only won in 6 out of 21 muncipalities. These are the muncipalities where the most radical Venezuelan middle class reside (Chacao for example) so his wider appeal does not go that far. In addition Capriles campaign was so successful in Miranda that he lost control of the Legislative Chamber. He will therefore be a “lame duck” governor.

      Hinterlaces have carried out a poll asking what sort of new president people would prefer if there are early election. 47% said a continuation of the rojos and just 25% someone from the opposition. 59% thought Maduro was the right choice to be Chavez’s preferred candidate. This is oscar Schemal not me saying this.

      Fianlly, the swearing in of Chavez will be extended since according to Article 231 he can be sworn in abfore the TSJ but not limiting daye is given in the text. This is the most likely scenario and in the case of early presidential elections maduro will win – probably with more votes than Chavez received.

      The opposition is down and out for the time ebing and all that is left is speculation to get your jopes up. Frabky it is as pathetic as usual.

  8. By the way, Mr. Nagel, this IS way better explained than before… Thanks for decanting and clarifying your position…

    The doubt is still there, tho’. Has Capriles the ability to do the needed balancing act of being more “aggressive” without loosing his “conciliatory” tone (which is still quite necessary for many on the oppo as well as on the “Chavista-light” sides?). He needs to flame and flare, but “ni tan cerca que queme al santo ni tan lejos que no lo alumbre”… It’s difficult, but it can be done…

    And yet, that all still depends on Chávez’s, the invisible, health…

  9. He does not need to run a negative campaign per se… He needs to show that he’s serious and earnest about solving problems. That he’s on the ball and wants to be President for sound reasons.

    Capriles deserves to be lambasted for joining the uber-maudlin PSUV and PSF circus of grief (genuine grief… NOT, they killed the man!), which is trying to create one rather ugly Evita to ride on. “Yes, so sorry for his family and close friends, he’s dead or dying, now get on with the show, what are you going to do besides lying and posturing about it?”

    And maybe, maybe this populace, uneducated, ADHD suffering, amnesiac and childish as it really is, is also tired of 14 years of clowning and circus, more so if the Chief Clown is pushing daisies up, for the other clowns are not even funny incompetents. If that’s true, then they will vote somebody serious. Else they shall elect somebody who who is not even comically and falsely earnest about Socialism and who will bring civil war and ruin upon Venezuela for… nothing much.

  10. The opposition’s best bet in the long run is to wait/stimulate a division in the Chavista camp. Most people have been focusing on Maduro vs. Godgiven, but I suspect that the division will come from Arias Cardenas, who has the ambition and now has a platform with his win in Zulia.


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