Far-right congressman and former military officer Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election Sunday.
NPR's Philip Reeves called the Bolsonaro’s win “the biggest change in the political landscape of Brazil since the end of military dictatorship in 1985.” This dramatic shift in Brazilian politics can be attributed to the overwhelming political corruption Bolsonaro positioned himself as an antidote too, according to the Ground Truth Projects Charlie Sennott.
“The Brazilian government has been rife with corruption since democracy came and people are tired of it. They are fed up, and they feel like the corruption of their political leadership has undermined the strength of their country,” Sennott told Boston Public Radio.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, based his campaign on a nationalist platform. His campaign slogan was “Brazil above everything, god above everyone.” Sennott further compared Bolsonaro and Trump in the way they both glamorize the past and use rhetoric about reverting to a time when the country was strong and respected.
While Trump speaks about the once greatness of the coal industry and his revulsion to the current standards of polite society, Bolsonaro wants to bring back the fear and might the country exhibited when the military was in control.
Sennott believes that Bolsonaro wants to be “that sort of military strong man, autocratic leader, and wipe up some of the gangs ... I think that is the big concern many Brazilians are feeling when they wake up this morning, where is this going to lead.”
For Sennott, Bolsonaro election is the latest example of the global trend toward far-right, nationalist leaders like in the Philippines, Hungary, Italy, and the United States.
“Around the world we are seeing a real move to the right," he said. "A real move toward autocracy and this election in Brazil fits definitely fits within that.”