How Bolsonaro Happens

Andre Kenji de Sousa

Andre writes from from Itatiba, São Paulo, Brazil.

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19 Responses

  1. Marchmaine says:

    Brazil already has lots of tariffs, and they are not that popular because… surprise, they make everything more expensive. (It’s not a coincidence that Foxconn is building a plant in Wisconsin after building two plants in Brazil.)

    I’m not sure this does what you want it to do in the context of your article.Report

    • Andre Kenji de Sousa in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I was pointing out that Trump is trying to do the same type of industrial policy that Brazil does when he says that he is bringing back “jobs” to America, and that the two countries that Foxconn was building plants in the Western Hemisphere were precisely Brazil and United States.

      In both cases were used tax incentives.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    This is all good stuff. On the subject to bringing finger guns to a knife fight, do you think the fact that someone stabbed Bolsonaro is going to be a) a factor, b) a decisive factor or c) no factor to put Bolsonaro in office?Report

    • Andre Kenji de Sousa in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think that it helped because he did not have to go to the debates or be interviewed. He could simply do Facebook lives without having to face other candidates or journalists. He is not that smart, it’s easy to perceive that during an interview. It’s not that he is someone like Lula, that lacks formal education, he is not smart.Report

  3. LeeEsq says:

    I recently washed the Mechanism on Netflix and read a fair bit about Brazil in the past. Brazilian politics seems corrupt in ways that haven’t existed in the United States for decades. Practically nobody has any memory of needing to bribe somebody to get plumbing done. I can see why people in Brazil might go for a just in case break glass moment.

    A problem with what should be done in many countries is that it’s boring and unsexy. The non-solutions offered by the Far Right and Far Left are certainly a lot more exciting sounding than what liberalism is offering. The entire left spectrum also has the issue that their meta-message sounds like we need to sacrifice more. Naturally people do not like sacrifice. The Right Populists at least promise some people that they can have their cake and eat it to.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I saw The Mechanism, too. It started out like The Wire (if The Wire hadn’t had plotting discipline and good acting) though ended like the ramblings of a stoned college student.

      I’m not sorry I watched it, though.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        The Mechanism seemed very disciplined its plotting to me. You need to get past the first episode and from there on it, its solid gold. One thing that I liked about the show is that it does depict the tediousness of doing investigations into any crime in general and white collar crime committed by powerful high status people in particular. It was a realistic depiction of how these things work out, how people make smart moves, dumb moves, and the role of luck on both sides.

        Saul recently remarked on Facebook that his life and the life of all lawyers would be a lot easier if legal dramas came with a realistic time line. People don’t realize how long the law takes to act. The Mechanism was good at depicting it.Report

    • Andre Kenji de Sousa in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Brazil problem is not corruption per se, but the institutions and lack of trust on institutions. You don’t have to pay bribes for cops, for instance(I can’t say the same thing about Mexico), on the other hand you can’t expect cops and the Justice System to do their job.

      The main problem of the Mechanism is precisely that.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Awesome essay.

    My suspicion is that we’re experiencing a backlash of sorts to a technocratic elite that has detached more or less entirely from the populists they’ve been in charge of.

    And democracy does what democracy does in response to such a detachment: it goes populist.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, one of the things Trump said on the stump in 2016 was “the game is rigged”. I think that’s accurate. And nobody was trying to address it. Or it wasn’t anything more than one point in a 972 point plan.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        What no one mentions in discussions of populism, is that the populists only want to rig the game in their favor.Report

        • Jay L Gischer in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I more or less endorse this, but I’d like to note that from the perspective of the populist supporter, they are employing “tit for tat”, which is a very old, and pretty valid response to this kind of situation.

          We can hope for, and do, better. But it’s an indication of how badly off-centered our political economy has become.Report

      • North in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        I suppose for a given value of rigged it is… on the right. It certainly isn’t that way on the left. I mean the Democratic Party haltingly moves policy in the direction liberals and its voters generally want and seeks to do that more. On the right what the GOP and its donors want is almost opposite what its voting base wants in terms of economics, safety nets and foreign policy.Report

  5. InMD says:

    Very interesting read and thanks for sharing. Pay attention to world politics and Trump doesn’t seem nearly as shocking. It’s something many countries have dealt with in recent history, and I would say virtually all democracies are dealing with now, including middle income ones like Brazil.Report