November 1, 2018

Bolsonaro Wins in Brazil

Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, promising to clean up politics, shrink the state and crack down on crime."


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From the Left

The left sees Bolsonaro as a danger to democracy, human rights, and the environment.

“Globally, Bolsonaro’s imminent ascension to Brazil’s Presidency has appended Brazil to the growing ranks of nations ruled by authoritarian populists who openly espouse bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, and anti-immigrant views, as well as violence as a means of problem-solving."

The New Yorker

“Bolsonaro is a former military officer who was trained during the most repressive years of the military dictatorship. Recently, Bolsonaro has voiced support for military intervention in politics and has argued that the former military regime ‘didn’t go far enough’ in eradicating leftists. It goes without saying that military intervention and liberal democracy don’t go together."


“The watchdog group Global Witness documented 57 instances in 2017 where environmental activists were killed in Brazil during clashes with poachers, loggers, ranchers, and others. Many worry Bolsonaro’s election will exacerbate that fraught reality... In addition to fearing for their own lives, activists worry Bolsonaro’s presidency will almost certainly imperil some of the world’s most precious natural resources."


Some note that “it shouldn't be surprising that Brazil's economic decay and elite failure gave rise to right-wing revanchism. If leaders around the world want to stop [right-wing populism]... they must do better at protecting their citizens from the ravages of capitalism."

The Week

From the Right

The right sees Bolsonaro’s election as a reaction to a corrupt and incompetent ruling class.

The right sees Bolsonaro’s election as a reaction to a corrupt and incompetent ruling class.

“The president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, benefited from an assassination attempt but his victory is chiefly a reaction to three consecutive presidents who have been mired in scandal. Three-term ex-president Lula da Silva was briefly imprisoned. His chosen successor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office for corruption... her successor, President Michel Temer, has also been charged with embezzlement and corruption."

National Review

Maybe the world should show a decent respect for Brazilian democracy and try to understand what happened… Brazil has yet to recover from the leftwing populism of PT President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) and successor Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016). Deficits, public debt and inflation soared... By the time the [PT] was done, Brazil was in a recession that lasted nearly three years... Brazilians didn’t vote for fascism or a military coup. They voted for hope and change, and they will throw Mr. Bolsonaro out if he fails to honor his promises.”

Wall Street Journal

Some posit that “the alternative, Haddad, was much worse. As Americans know, when there are only two options, sometimes you pick the lesser of two evils... Haddad's proposals were genuinely radical. They included ‘democratic control’ over the media (i.e., censorship) and ‘democratic control’ over the prosecutors and the Judiciary (i.e., an erosion of judicial independence and the rule of law).”

Washington Examiner

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