I recognize the ambiguity of the title of this article. There are many who fear that in private Pedro Sánchez aspires to be, one day, proclaimed monarch. We have already seen some protocol incursions and courtiers are not lacking, although surely he would prefer to be a king like before, without constitutional ties. However, no, I was not referring to what Sánchez aspires to be, but to what Sánchez is. This “real” must be read in English, since it refers to @realDonaldTrump, the former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Sánchez is our Trump or, rather, he is the parody that is made of Trump. He is a narcissistic, lying and authoritarian character, who does not like the limits of his political action, nor does he like pluralism in society.
The great paradox of Spanish politics is that our left, so anti-American, has copied and internalized everything that the American left criticizes the American right. José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero already applied the strategy of tension, going far beyond the advice that Karl Rove gave George W. Bush. From foreign policy to that statement in the Senate according to which the nation was a “debatable and disputed” concept, ZP dedicated himself to opening debates like someone who reopens old wounds. As he confessed to his head journalist, Iñaki Gabilondo, “it is convenient for us that there is tension.” However, the irresponsible management of the economy took him ahead when his fantasy story about green shoots collided with the harsh reality and the experience lived by the Spanish.
Our left, so anti-American, has copied and internalized everything that the American left criticizes of the American right.
Zapatero had been trapped in what the North American progressive guru Christian Salmon criticized of the Republicans: the storytelling, the story making machine. But Sánchez, Donald Sánchez, has gone one step further, as Salmon affirms that the Republicans did with Trump, and has opted for the total devaluation of the word establishing narrative chaos, the lie after the lie, in order to maintain attention permanently. Thus, through the permanent confrontation, Sánchez intends to advance the concentration of power in his executive, wearing down the institutions of liberal democracy, without his party or his believers considering demanding a minimum of accountability.
In this new Transition, an anti-democratic transition, Sánchez is building his own populist State. In a way, he is imposing the ideology of Pablo Iglesias with some procedural touches of the process separatist of Carles Puigdemont. Thus, last Thursday, December 15, should be a date for the history of infamy that we should not forget and that, most likely, we will regret. The Congress of Deputies was urgently processing what, being only urgent for Sánchez, could be lethal for the future of the democratic system. Before Christmas, Sánchez crossed his private Rubicon to confront the democratic system born of the constitutional pact of 1978.
In this new Transition, an anti-democratic transition, Sánchez is building his own populist State
Cesarista Sánchez had perfectly planned the attack. It would be on three fronts at the same time: repeal of sedition, reduction of embezzlement and total politicization of Justice. A scandal would cover up another scandal; and, in the end, between vacations, family reunions and government bonuses, everything would perhaps be forgotten. But it will not be erased from our memory, because the dismantling of the past, of the Spain of the Transition, is also a dismantling of the future, leaving us with weaker institutions, a more indebted economy and a more confronted society. His fallacious excuse is that the parliamentary majority can do everything. It is the tyranny of the majority that the great father of liberalism Alexis de Tocqueville warned us about in the 19th century. Evil always comes back. This will be a great cultural battle again. We must remember time and time again that democracy is not the unlimited power of those who temporarily hold a parliamentary majority.
The magnificent speech of King Felipe VI, the warnings from the European Union and the Popular Party’s appeal to the Constitutional Court have served as a first retaining wall against Sánchez’s attack on constitutional democracy. But Sánchez will not stop. The institutions may remain formally intact, but their verbal onslaughts and changes in democratic mores will not be innocuous. Pierre Rosanvallon warns us in his very interesting book The century of populism (Galaxy Gutenberg publisher) about that way of proceeding. After years of socialism building a “polarized democracy”, Sánchez has not opted for a process of direct brutalization of the institutions, as Hugo Chávez did in Venezuela or the separatists will try unsuccessfully in Catalonia; given the difficulties that the still solid Spanish democracy and the European Union would impose, Sánchez has opted for a more effective progressive devitalization. Without haste, but without pause, she is dismantling the entire system of checks and balances, hoping that, by the time we realize it, it will be too late.
Already in the antipodes of any sensible reformism, the PSOE has allowed itself to be carried away by Sánchez and the populist temptation. They have followed the easy path in these highly emotional political times, but this is not the right path, not even for them and their lust for power. When the populist moment ends, which it will undoubtedly end, the PSOE will pay the price for so much irresponsibility, a price that other parties have already paid, such as Convergència i Unió or the British Tories, who also listened to the siren songs of populism. The price is the electoral catastrophe and/or the deep and long crisis of leadership. They will purge their sins, but the vital question is that, in the midst of a populist maelstrom, Spain does not make irreversible democratic decisions.