Buenos Aires has an election happening this Sunday, June 3rd. Of all the positions up for grabs, the most important has to be Jefe de Gobierno, the mayor of Buenos Aires. Although the list of candidates is extensive, it has essentially come down to a three-way race. The leading candidates are incumbent Jorge Telerman, Daniel Filmus and Mauricio Macri. Telerman and Filmus are currently splitting the left, with Telerman backed by the Socialist Party and Filmus backed by President Kirchner. Only one of them is expected the survive the first round, as center-right candidate Macri is currently leading the polls.
Rather than comment on their individual merits, I'd rather focus on Macri's unusual campaign strategy, which obviously seems to be registering with some Buenos Aires voters. A few months ago, signs and posters like this started popping up all over the city:
"Estaría bueno Buenos Aires" translates to "It would be nice Buenos Aires" and has become the calling card for the Macri campaign. Here are some more examples:
The first says, "It would be nice if it didn't flood every time it rains. We're drowning in a glass of water." The second basically says, "It would be nice if we didn't throw papers on the ground in front of each other's houses."
Note that these posters make no mention of the election or Macri himself. The only concrete reference is the inclusion of the PRO political party and their website. Here are some more "Estaría Bueno" slogans from that website. These also appeared publicly as yellow and black posters.
These translate as "It would be nice if when we were patients they didn't make us wait for a month," "It would be nice to build a better city without construction everywhere," and "It would be nice if we learned that with more education there would be less insecurity."
Although these slogans are undeniably over-simplistic and are designed to prompt nostalgia for an imagined past when things were better, they are nonetheless remarkably progressive for a center-right candidate. Perhaps I'm tainted by the Jesus-loving warmongers currently running the right wing of the United States' political spectrum, but it is refreshing to see a campaign where the "conservative" candidate is speaking up for improved education, health care, flood control and basic quality-of-life issues. Throughout the race, Macri has left the negative campaigning to his opponents, instead choosing to steadfastly tout his list of proposals for the city. Taking into account that posters with his name and face only started showing up in the past month, Macri has certainly run a different type of campaign.
However, the "Estaría bueno" campaign is not without its detractors. Many Porteños find the posters silly. Someone even set up their own "Estaría bueno" online slogan generator, which has been used to make some pretty hilarious signage. Here's some of my favorite mock posters:
"It would be nice if the heat came back but the mosquitos did not," and "It would be nice if my boss didn't look at my tits while he talks to me."
"It would be nice if running a city were as easy as running a soccer team." (Macri is the chairmen of the Boca Juniors team.) Also, "It would be nice if Pro's advertising was original and not copied from Playstation."
"It would be nice...no, actually it wouldn't." Cynicism is alive and well in Buenos Aires.