Luciano Huck dropped out of the presidential race. Now what?

. Nov 28, 2017
Luciano Huck dropped out of the presidential race. Now what? Brazil's 2018 election Luciano Huck drops out of the 2018 presidential race
Luciano Huck dropped out of the presidential race. Now what?

Luciano Huck drops out of the 2018 presidential race

TV presenter Luciano Huck has published an article in Folha de S.Paulo that apparently puts an end to the widespread speculation that his name will be on the ballot list for presidential candidates. In his lengthy piece, Huck unfolds a logical, intelligent and well-written explanation for dropping out. And what he says is certainly striking – but so is what he didn’t say.

Right from the article’s introduction, Huck compares himself to Homer’s Ulysses, who avoided falling victim to the Sirens by tying himself to a ship’s mast. Indeed, over the last few months, Luciano Huck has been described as a potential winner of the 2018 election. He was presented as an outsider, independent and critical of Brazil’s decaying, outdated, and corrupt political system.

Yet if Huck, like Ulysses, felt an urge to tie himself to a metaphorical mast, it’s because he too has heard seductive calls – only in this case, the Sirens are the presidency.

His penchant for Greek heroes aside, Huck’s article sensibly diagnoses our governmental ailments. Brazil’s degraded political system is not fit to meet the needs of our public. Our government requires a renewal, a change in mentality, and a fresh attitude. With its addiction to patronage, our system has become costly and must be replaced. And we must not reject politics, but instead reinvent them. In that regard, Theseus would be a more fitting hero than Ulysses.

And that’s precisely how Huck presents himself. He claims that he will remain active in political movements calling for our system’s renewal. He also says that his generation must get involved and act – which is true. Huck adds that he will become “more and more” active, “with tremendous faith in our country.”

Unlike Ulysses’ boat – which was on its voyage home – Huck remains adrift. He might be lured back into the presidential race by an atmosphere of turbulence and surprise. The TV presenter is aware that while he might be the master of his own will, he is not the master of what the future has in store. And sometimes, the future takes our fate into its own hands. It’s what Ulysses would call destiny: Homer’s hero himself couldn’t escape it, and it took him 20 years to reunite with his Penelope.

It couldn’t have been easy for Huck to drop out. Especially if he actively positions himself as a selfless, empathetic individual, an embodiment of fresh ways of thinking, and capable of leading a society left adrift. Huck’s article inadvertently reveals all of this. And the doors of some political parties are open to him – even if he has, at least for now, tied himself to the proverbial mast.

I am certainly not arguing that Huck should stay in the presidential race. That’s not my role. But what I am saying is that nothing in politics is definitive. Down the road, if (or should I say when) new troubles hit our political system, more voices might call for Huck to reconsider his withdrawal. Given such a scenario, what would he say? Perhaps that his refusal to run for office was true in November, but that things have changed in the interim.

Carlos Melo

Political scientist and sociologist, professor at São Paulo's Insper Business School. Follow his blog

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