Left Behind: Media in Spanish Politics

Late last month, Mariano Rajoy won a confidence vote in order to begin his second term as Prime Minister of Spain, leading a government nearly one year (and two national elections) in the making. As the country attempts to make sense of a new, post-recession political reality, emergent political parties like Podemos and Ciudadanos have forever changed the national political landscape.

On June 28, just 48 hours after the second inconclusive national election, University of Southern California (USC) students sat down with Instituto 25M, a division of the Podemos party dedicated to training, media, and communication. Having witnessed political demonstrations and Podemos Unidos media campaigns during their first days in the city, the students asked direct questions about Podemos’ underwhelming performance in the recent election.

The group, part of the International Communication Studies summer program with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, learned about the party’s founding in response to the months-long 2011 15M Movement. Party representative Marina Escorza Gallego introduced some of the initiatives at Instituto 25M, including a summer politics institute and seminars throughout the year, a magazine, and various fundraising projects.

Much of the party’s media effort is geared toward legitimizing the young organization; young, as a result of its recent launch in 2014, and also because much of the party’s leadership is in their twenties and thirties. La circular magazine aims to be as provocative as it is informative, showcasing topics and voices traditionally avoided by Spain’s left. In the same way, the party has embraced television when traditional far-left parties had long since abandoned the medium as manipulative and too mass-market.

While Rajoy’s Partido Popular represents one of the country’s two historic parties, their days may be numbered as Podemos and others learn from this year’s elections, revise media strategies, and plan for the future.