When it became clear that Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, also known as “Trump of the tropics,” would not be re-elected, the fear of Brazilian January 6 began to be popular. How the president, who has spread lies about electoral fraud and who says he will only accept the results of the election if he wins, loses vote for a well-known candidate?
Now we know the answer.
Like Trump, Bolsonaro refused to admit defeat. Like Trump, Bolsonaro has fed a group of supporters – who have not yet received the results of the election – with a daily supply of fake news from the media.
As it was revealed, Brazil had its own January 6. Instead of uncontrolled people to oppose the Congress while the president despises, there are people without control Honor blocks roads and highways across the country while the president is in contempt.
The largest airport in Brazil had to cancel several flights because people could not get through the roadblocks led by the drivers. But while it took Trump a few hours to decide to call the protesters “go home,” Bolsonaro did not bother to say anything during approximately 48 hours after the election. When he finally appeared after two days of silence, he gave a brief two-minute speech in which he rejected the election and did not mention the name of his candidate, Lula da Silva.
Why did Bolsonaro take so long to announce? One reason is that he is waiting to see how the opposition that follows the election will be and what support he can have in the election campaign. But the protest did not receive widespread support, and no media, religious, military, or political parties spoke out in support of the protest.
The normally pragmatic Brazilian political class soon began to think of strategies for survival in the post-Bolsonaro environment. The powerful president of the Chamber of Deputies, a strong supporter of Bolsonaro, announced that “the opinion of the majority, as it was expressed in the election, cannot be contested” and began to talk to the team of the newly elected president for security. his work in the future Lula administration. Therefore, in the 48 hours after the election, Bolsonaro was increasingly isolated. When he finally decided to break his silence, he concluded that his best option was to promote his work as a political leader, thanking his supporters and saying that now “the right has arisen in our country.”
One lesson Americans can take from the Brazilian election is that when dealing with presidents who are likely to be presidents seeking re-election, the speed of counting the votes Bus. There is a country of electronic voting – used for more than a quarter of a century – Brazilians can know the election a few hours after the polls are closed. Before Bolsonaro could write a word, world leaders, with Biden first, congratulated his candidate; Politicians who support Bolsonaro have accepted defeat, and even his vice president, the army chief, has started talking about change. The speed with which it all happened left little room for maneuvering. In the United States, on the other hand, it took several days for voters to know the results, giving Trump and his supporters enough time to make false claims of electoral fraud and match the results when they are finally known.
As in the United States, Brazil’s young democracy will continue to suffer from the behavior of a president who does not follow the rules of politics. Although things may appear normal, with a new president appointed to oversee the construction process, social symbols will remain.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, will not hold office – but Bolsonarismolike Trumpism, will remain a powerful political force for years to come.
The poor public leadership that forms the basis of their appeal is true regardless of who is in charge. And if Trump returns to the White House in 2024 – which is far from impossible – his Brazilian students, who are ten years younger, will have nothing to look forward to.
Carlos Gustavo Poggio Teixeira is a Professor of Political Science at Berea College in Kentucky. He received a Ph.D. in International Studies from Old Dominion University in Virginia as a Fulbright Scholar. He is the author of “Brazil, the United States, and the South American Subsystem: Regional Politics and Absent Empire,” chosen by Foreign Affairs Magazine as one of the Best International Relations books of 2012.