October 9, 2018


How Dangerous Is Jair Bolsonaro?: The far-right candidate will probably be Brazil's next president. What sort of damage will he do? (ISAAC CHOTINER, OCT 08, 2018, Slate)

To talk about the results, I spoke by phone on Monday with Lilia M. Schwarcz, a professor of anthropology at the University of São Paulo, and the co-author (with Heloisa M. Starling) of the new book Brazil: A Biography. During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed how dangerous Bolsonaro is likely to be if he wins, why Brazilians are so angry about their current situation, and the crucial role evangelicals played in Sunday's vote. [...]

What explains his ability to get 46 percent of the vote?

I think what explains Bolsonaro is, first, the violence in Brazil. He promises that he's going to put an end to violence. Bolsonaro has a way of speaking that he promises everything, but I don't know if he is capable of delivering the things he is promising. But we are going through an economic crisis, cultural crisis, political crisis. If you look around, everybody is like, "OK, what happened?" People are very angry. People are very mad at politicians and Bolsonaro presented himself not as a politician, even if he is, [but as] a kind of Messiah. People like these kinds of promises.

Like Trump and some of these right-wing populists, he's managed to win over religious voters, correct?

He's very much connected with evangelical churches. It's not true about Catholic churches. He's very much evangelical. Evangelical churches are all over the country. It's a very, very strong group and a very conservative group. He's also very strong in the rural areas, the person that wants to have guns, that thinks that the problem in Brazil is violence. That's true--the problem in Brazil is violence and a lack of safety. You cannot walk freely in the streets in a lot of different towns. This is a very deep problem, a very deep question in Brazil. [...]

Is there any chance that the judiciary will stand up to Bolsonaro the way it did to the Workers' Party?

I hope so. I hope the judiciary finally will show that it's a neutral power, that it has to be. Yesterday, for example, it was the first time in Brazil that when they finished counting the votes, they showed on television all the judges together to say that democracy was very strong, that we had no problems in our elections. That was a very important answer, to reassure Brazilians that they are in power. But we are talking about a person that has straight connections with the military. His vice presidential running mate, General Mourao, is from the military. Let's see what's going to happen.

Posted by at October 9, 2018 4:21 AM