With his back against the wall, Macri threw the marketing strategy of Durán Barba out the window and embraced a symbol of orthodox Peronism.
He can be accused of being whimsical, but not suicidal. Exactly three and a half years after rejecting the Bicentennial Pact that Pichetto offered at the beginning of his term, Macri decided that Peronist Senator was the ideal running mate for all the same reasons that he previously kept him at arm's length. Which essentially all comes down to one thing: he's too much of a Peronist.
But be careful, this isn't a criticism. On the edge of the abyss, Macri experienced a very healthy stroke of pragmatism, and he didn't hesitate to shift at the last second, leaving the divisive fanatics and smartphone anti-Peronists to fall off the cliff without even giving them thanks for their service. Of course, that's the usual fate of those who put on the masks of fanatics to assure themselves comfort and safety without having to think or work for themselves. As if no one noticed.
Besides the implication of a monumental self-critique, choosing Pichetto is also effective in political terms. It allows Macri to recover the political initiative that he had lost since Cristina Kirchner stepped away from the presidential candidacy, and it opens an unbeatable dialogue channel with governors, syndicalists, and old-school Peronists. The same people that were always up to making a deal and whom Marcos Peña and Durán Barba disdained with their tendency to prioritize media coverage over State policies. The paradox is that in the end, it wasn't Facebook, the trolls, or Whatsapp. The life preserver brought him near a man who, as Macri himself made sure to recount in an old video that's now viral, was with "all" the Peronist governors. In other words, he's chosen running mate is a career politician.
It's possible that today Macri has finished with the PRO as we knew them and, in the same movement, retired various generals who might not have even noticed that their time is up.
"On the edge of the abyss, Macri had a very healthy stroke of pragmatism, and he didn't hesitate to shift at the last second, leaving the divisive fanatics and smartphone anti-Peronists to fall off the cliff"
Choosing Pichetto is choosing Frigerio, Monzó, Cornejo, Sanz, and Massot. It's Macri saying that those who he put below Marcos Peña's technological mandate were right. Maybe it's an opportunistic shift born out of necessity, but it has settled as a presidential ticket.
But it's also possible to think that it's the first indication of a deeper reality check. Macri's way of governing can't continue. Alone with just your own men, turns out be lonelier than anything else. Morales, Sanz, and to a lesser degree Cornejo were crucial agents in Macri accepting to take Pichetto along. They pressed hard publicly and privately. The Administration measured the ballot two weeks ago, and this Tuesday the decision fell through. Previously they had appointed the Senator, but that option was unsuccessful because of the political difficulties in the region.
Macri's circle of "friends," who always had a tense relationship with Peña and Durán Barba, also pushed for a pragmatic shift. The political change that the presence of Pichetto on the ballot poses to the coalition that the PRO dominates is so significant, that this very Tuesday, from the Casa Rosada, they had to acknowledge that Cambiemos might even change their name. It's difficult to imagine the senator dancing and kicking balloons, in the Cambiemos style.
Once the offer was confirmed, Pichetto talked with various governors. "It's great that Miguel is on the ballot, that way if Macri wins, we'll have someone normal inside the Casa Rosada to talk to and who won't want to throw us in jail," one of them said with relief.
Just like that the senator started a silent mourning with Alberto Fernández. Two Peronist political operators facing each other on the ballots next October. "It's Peronism, Stupid": the title of a book that turned against its author, but it's also about the maturity to understand that one governs the country that exists, not the country one wants.
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