Exclusive: Government concerned with electoral consequences of youth anger
The criticism toward young people for promoting parties and gatherings puts the first vote casted by hundreds of thousands at risk. Ahead, more on the predecessor of Duhalde and what the latest polls reveal.

A video that circulated on social media in recent days ignited some alerts on the Frente de Todos coalition, translated as "Everybody's Front". The video shows a group of young people outside a bowling alley in Pinamar with its doors closed due to new restrictions.

The video shows disturbed young people occupying the street. They sing like soccer fans, and the lyrics - lacking poetry - shoots insults directly at Alberto Fernández in just one sentence: "Alberto sucks..."

During the increase in cases in January, the government targeted young people, enhancing the unrest of a sector that is clearly close to the Everybody's Front". The ones that take fewer precautions are the young people," said Alberto Fernández at an event in Mar del Plata during the first days of the year.

After the President accused young people in Mar del Plata of being 'the ones who take fewer precautions', the Casa Rosada faced the issue with concern, since it is a very close-knit electorate that could come at risk. The curfew was avoided based on that view. 

In the Rosada, there were different opinions, as well as advances and setbacks. First the youngsters were attacked directly. Then the discourse was changed to argue that young people could infect adults. However, the number of cases did not significantly affect bed occupancy. Not for young people, nor for adults.

There was a government attempt to reverse the restrictions they had imposed days before the decree in early January. According to LPO, the draft written by the Rosada established the curfew at 11 pm, however in a few hours it lowered its tone and ended up turning into a decree that meant nothing. .

The Peronism sector followed the facts with concern, which sparked a strong internal discussion. In addition, they felt the impact of the PRO National Youth, which recently launched a series of tweets with the phrase: "Make no mistake Mr. President; It's not the young people's fault."

In La Plata, there was a concern about blaming young people for being responsible for infections. For that reason, in his last speeches, Kicillof reinforced his thanks to them: "We know that it's harder for them to take care of themselves," he said this week at Villa Gesell.

The concerning situation also affected the provincial government. During those days, persons close to Axel Kicillof felt discomfort with the message coming from the Rosada. On one hand, Alberto's resolution surprised them: "We expected a decree and an invitation came out," they complained.

On the other hand, there was concern in La Plata about blaming young people for being responsible for causing infections. For that reason, in his last speeches, the Governor reinforced the appreciation for their effort. "We know that for them, taking care of themselves is harder," he said this week at Villa Gesell.

Days after the January tension, it is still impossible to establish whether blaming young people for being responsible for the increase of infections will impact elections in the future.

"If the youth will end up leaving "Everybody's Front" because of what happened in January? My answer is no," Raúl Aragón told LPO. The director of Raúl Aragón & Asociados also recalls that there was a "perhaps late and somewhat foolish" claim by Kicillof when he recognized the effort of that sector and addressed them as jovenes and jovenas.

It was in a tour in Sierra de la Ventana, while greeting the Peronist Youth, that he made a grammar mistake for the use of inclusive language. The Governor sought a way for his message to transcend social media. It reached the desired result.

While the pandemic implies a drastic change in social habits for the population as a whole, the truth is that the impact has been amplified for young people and adolescents. Social distancing and virtualization in excess are two subjective aspects that add to the structural conditions of poverty and social inequality.

"While the pandemic implies a drastic change in social habits for the population as a whole, the truth is that the impact has been amplified for young people and adolescents," Pablo Roma, head of Circuitos Consultora, told LPO. "Social distancing and virtualization in excess are two subjective aspects that add to the structural conditions of poverty and social inequality," he added.

There is another important variable that goes beyond what happened in January: that sector of the population - and the electorate - had to remain confined during the entire year of 2020 with no night outings, no meetings with friends, and missing key life experiences such as the famous graduation trips.

Pollster Gustavo Córdoba stated that "it was a mistake to blame young people" for the increase in infections. Speaking with LPO, the consultant assures that the entire society, not just young people, eventually relaxed their coronavirus precautions.

For Cordoba, there is a responsibility that goes beyond that age group. "There is an incoherent speech from leaders regarding young people and especially in regards to the pandemic context, while there are no recent experiences on how to handle certain situations," he assessed.

Former President Eduardo Duhalde on a recent visit to Kicillof in La Plata.

Almost all of the sources consulted, linked the youth government criticism to Eduardo Duhalde's 1996 decree, limiting the operation of nightclubs in the province to 4 a.m.

The measure taken by the former Governor of Buenos Aires was part of the "fight against drugs" program, however it was completely unpopular among young people and, after several months, it fell into oblivion because of the high level of non-compliance. That rejection was sealed in popular culture through Mono Relojero, in a song by Kapanga: "Go to sleep! I want to be out of my mind, be able to have a beer and get my heart drunk," says the lyrics that was heard until the last minutes of bowling alleys in Buenos Aires in the late '90s.

Criticism of the youth brought to memory Duhalde's decree limiting bowling hours to four o'clock in the morning, in his alleged fight against drugs. The decree was completely unpopular and was immortalized in a Kapanga song that read, "Go to sleep!

Cordoba contends, however, that this measure had no electoral impact, despite a strong cultural rejection. "We tend to vote for a multiplicity of causes and not for only one," he says.

The truth is that Duhalde lost the 1997 legislative election in the province. The Alliance led by Graciela Fernández Meijide surpassed Chiche Duhalde by more than seven points.

Aragon agrees with Cordoba and believes that Peronism lost the '97 election because of the worn off image of Menem's government and the appearance of the Alianza on the scene as a revival of the Argentine politics.

According to Analysts, the episodes that took place in January will not be enough to detach young people from the "Everybody's Front", but just as Duhalde's case with the bowling hours, it creates a tension with that sector that adds to other government mistakes, such as the announcement of the privatization of Vicentin, Diego Maradona's funeral, and the failed announcements regarding vaccination plans.

The latest survey by Circuitos Consulting Firm reveals that 50% of young people consider the government management positive in the light of the health crisis. The same percentage agreed with economic assistance policies, strengthening the health system and the debt agreement with private bondholders. Some 31.6% do not agree with any government policy.

Meanwhile, 39.5% say they will vote for the Frente de Todos [Everybody's Front]; 18.9% for Cambiemos [Let's Change]; 12.4% for Frente de Izquierda [the Left Front]; 3.7% for Espacio Libertario [Libertarian Space], and 2.9% will vote for non-Kirchnerist Peronism. The survey was conducted between January 18 and 22.

Meanwhile, according to Gustavo Córdoba's latest research, 41.5% of young people between the ages of 16 and 30 say they will vote for the Everybody's Front candidate in this year's legislative elections.13.0% say they will vote for the Let's Change candidate and 3.1% say they will vote for the Left Front. The survey was carried out between January 16 and 21. .

In addition, Cordoba highlights an item of his last opinion poll in which 90% said they are taking precautions against the coronavirus, while, at the same time, 60% inform that they are not taking care of themselves as they should. The first question is answered politically correctly and the second reveals what they believe is actually happening.

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