It was already a lousy idea from the health point of view, but it also meant a huge miscalculation from the point of view of the image of the nationalist leaders and their perception by the voters, since they have made clear the priorities of a power that prioritizes electoral calculations avobe the health of its citizens, almost a year after the controversial macro-contagion in Perpignan (revealed in the CatCovidTransparencia report).
This time the Government's miscalculation has been so enormous that possibly even the rectification is no longer capable of avoiding the damage it has inflicted on its own image.
Because after setting the electoral date on February 14 (in the middle of the pandemic), the Generalitat reacted to the change of candidate of the PSC (which some call "The Illa effect") with a hasty decree of postponement that left open the possibility of delaying the date even more, written in such a childish way that two complaints (from an ex-mosso d'Escuadra and from the constitutionalist party Izquierda en Positivo) easily overthrew him. Immediately followed a victimizing campaign for the denunciations of which they blamed (of course) the government of Spain, which they accused of not prioritizing the health of the Catalans.
But immediately afterwards, the Generalitat decides to exempt from confinement whoever attends the electoral rallies (because apparently, spending ten minutes in exercising the right to vote is an unacceptable risk, but concentrating a couple of hours to chant and applaud a politician IS tolerable). With this decision, the Government not only shoots itself in the foot in its victimizing strategy, but also throws away the alleged moral superiority of it.
The cancellation of this measure (as hasty as its proposal) comes in line with the expected protests (because they were to be expected) not only from rival political leaders, but also from art and culture figures who are fed up with sending their shows to ruin as politicians pretend to crowd baths knowing that the "holiday relaxation" prompted the current third wave. As a Catalan theater actor broadcastet in a successful video "they have officially pissed on us".
This setback has not been helped by the decision (much celebrated no matter how opportunistic can be) of the Ciudadanos party not to want to hold rallies in order not to aggravate the pandemic. Surely someone in the nationalist government must have been decomposed with this "master move", since politicians, apparently, are only reasoning at that level of strategy, leaving the pandemic as a second priority. Or third.
From a purely statistical and scientific point of view, it may be interesting to know whether or not holding rallies can have some kind of impact on the electorate. I wish all the parties would stop doing it, since at the end of the day it's a huge expense aimed at convincing those already convinced, and in an era in which telework and telepresence prevail, claiming the physical presence of politicians and voters seem totally expendable.
And without leaving my scientific curiosity, I also wonder how it will affect the nationalist Government not being able to count on its caravans of assistants from inland Catalonia to the "Tabarnese Catalonia" rallies. Because the truth is that nationalism is used to being in control. The control of dates, of the media, of its public image and, what is more important for a movement with such populist roots, that of staging in the streets. One of its greatest assets is street mobilization (beautifully oversized by TV3's cameramen), a well-oiled machine that never fails them, with its hundreds of buses paid for by "the entitities." But in this case they should be limited to meetings with people only from the municipality in which they take place, and with a safe distance!
That doesn't look like it's going to show off much.