LLUÍS BASSETS 31 JANUARY 2021
Donald Trump to Air Force One. EVAN VUCCI
If anyone believed that trumpism was over, Catalonia has shown otherwise. Trump’s apprentices have learned the lesson perfectly: elections are only legitimate when you win, just as the courts only rule impartially when they give you the reason. Otherwise, it is a secret conspiracy or, worse, the ‘deep state’, the Deep State that Trump denounced as a conspiracy of diplomatic elites, military, secret services and media powers to snatch power democratic from the people.
Trumpism does not conceive of an honest, and therefore legitimate, victory of the adversary. His right to remain in power is above the scrutiny of votes. To the point that he has no explanation in case he can be defeated at the polls. When it happens, the explanation is that the elections have been fixed, the system is rotten, someone has surreptitiously entered thousands of votes at the polls, and so on. Since he has no evidence of it, as all the courts before which he challenged the results and all the reviews and counts have shown, the Democrats will be the ones under obligation to prove that there has been no cheating.
In our case the dirty trick is even easier. The right to victory and the government of Catalonia is part of the identity of nationalism, be it the rightist and sometimes ultra of Puigdemont, or the nominally left of Junqueras. Otherwise, it would be the result of the worst manipulation imaginable, assimilated to the application of Article 155 of the Constitution, or a ‘state manoeuver’.
The evocation of 155, an article of temporary and partial suspension of self-government, has become a scarecrow. Rajoy applied it, let us remember, to call an election, which allowed the nationalists to form a government again. He did so after Puigdemont proclaimed independence and relinquished his responsibilities as ruler. Those who showed their agreement with this measure, which lasted as long, seven long months, as it took the nationalists to agree to govern again, were stigmatized as enemies of Catalonia by nationalist infantilism.
It is true that self-government has deteriorated extraordinarily since then, but not as a result of the application of Article 155, but because of the damage caused by the incompetence and inexperience of Quim Torra and his advisers, who added to the damage provoked by the stupidity and recklessness of Puigdemont and his people with the unilateral declaration of independence and the flight of capital and companies, terrified at so much nonsense.
If anything has been proven in these 10 unfortunate years, since Artur Mas set out for the Land of Never Again, it is the ineptitude of the pro-independence crew: inept to make independence, inept to govern autonomy and inept to get out of the labyrinth in which it alone has chosen to get lost. Unable to forge pacts and commitments between pro-independence forces, it has also not been able to organize the retreat and call for elections, as we are reminded by the 12 months since Torra announced the end of the legislature, enough time to change the electoral legislation, to prepare elections in the midst of a pandemic, as they have been organized by countless countries, or at least to avoid a relaxation in the face of the pandemic that would complicate the turnout to the polls.
And so on until the last episode of such colossal ineptitude as has been the legal and political snag of the sine die deferral decree of the February 14 elections, suddenly suspended in the face of the panic reaction provoked by favorable election polls to the PSC. They didn’t know how to do it right, but they didn’t want to. It is clear that all this handful of useless leaders had their heads in other things, in their impossible chimeras, in their complex of victims, in their dreams of imaginary greatness. Inept and lazy.
Like the envious dog, that ‘dog of the gardener’ of the Castilian saying, who neither ate nor permitted others to be fed, independence does not know how to govern but is terrified by the possibility, very far according to my perception, that others will govern. It trembles only to think of wages, subsidies, control of the media, the blasphemous autonomic power facilitated by the monarchical Constitution, in short all that could be lost if the citizens punish them as they deserve.
All the 155 enforcement needed was the invention of the ‘State manoeuver’, the great conspiracy of judges, prosecutors and politicians to prevent independence from remaining in power, denounced by Pere Aragonès, the presidential candidate who has not been able to serve as president when he could. These Catalan Trumpist fellows may convince those already convinced, as happened in the United States with the 74 million votes obtained by Trump. But they add large doses of mistrust in those who are not at all or are convinced otherwise, inside and outside Catalonia, and this is the worst and most unconscious damage that Trumpism summons with its lies, to the point that its effects do not harm only those who practice it but reverts to the detriment of all, which in this case are the Catalans as a whole.
Whoever uses these arguments, in a regression into the world of parallel realities imagined in the midst of secessionist fever, does not realize that he is playing with his credibility as a reliable political agent and loses sight of the authority he will need in the future for the inevitable pacts that can pull him out of the hole he has gotten into. And in this Trumpist drive the differences between Puigdemont and Junqueras are imperceptible.