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Guess Who Brazilian Fascist Jair Bolsonaro Is Emulating

The world-- not to mention Brazil-- is much worse off because in 2018 a would-be assassin failed to kill fascist Jair Bolsonaro when he stabbed him in the abdomen. One of the manifestations of the attack though has been a severe case of hiccups that has had the Brazilian Trump-like president in the hospital until today. Every poll since mid-March shows Bolsonaro losing his reelection campaign to former President Lula.

This month Reuters reported that two polls show Bolsonaro's disapproval ratings rising to "the highest level since he came to power 2-1/2 years ago, with the far-right leader also slipping further behind his main rival ahead of the election in 2022... According to a Datafolha poll, 51% of Brazilians disapproved of Bolsonaro, up from 45% in the previous poll in May and the highest since he took office in January 2019. A survey carried out by XP/Ipespe showed 52% of respondents said Bolsonaro's government is doing a 'bad/terrible' job, up from 50% in June and the highest since January 2019... Ahead of next year's elections, former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lulada Silva strengthened his lead over Bolsonaro, the poll showed. Although neither of them have announced their candidacy, the 2022 election is widely expected to be a run-off between the two polarizing figures. In a simulated first-round vote, Lula saw his share jump to 38% from 32% in the June poll. Bolsonaro's first-round support fell two percentage points to 26%. A second-round matchup showed Lula's support rose to 49% from 45% in the previous survey, while Bolsonaro's slipped to 35% from 36%."

Americans have been raised to expect our country to set an example for other countries. That's becoming a much more dangerous proposition than it ever was before. Fascist-oriented leaders like Bolsonaro are taking their cues from Trump-- and the results are worrying. Trump certainly set the tone for response to the pandemic on the right-- which helps to explain why the pandemic has been so much worse in countries (and states) run by authoritarians than in those more committed to democracy and good governance. Of the 7 countries with over 5 million cases, all have right-of-center governments and 6 of the 7-- U.S., India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and the U.K. have increasingly dysfunctional authoritarian regimes. In terms of new infections reported yesterday, these are the countries with over 10,000 one day reports:

  • Indonesia +51,952

  • India +41,283

  • Brazil +34,339

  • Russia +25,116

  • USA +24,081

  • Colombia +19,925

  • Iran +15,139

  • South Africa +14,701

  • Malaysia +12,528

  • Mexico +12,420

  • Argentina +12,230

  • Netherlands +11,036

  • France +10,949

  • Thailand +10,082

Worse yet, other right-wing leaders around the world are seeking to alter political mores in their own countries based on Trump's behavior problems. Netanyahu, for example, refused to leave the prime minister's residence for over a month after his defeat. A report from Axios last week asserts that Bolsonaro, who is as personally corrupt as Trump and under investigation as well, "has begun sowing distrust in next year’s elections, alarming lawmakers and the courts alike. In speeches, Bolsonaro, a former military captain, has been questioning the integrity of an electronic ballot system that’s been in place since 1996 and suggesting he might not even allow elections to happen."

And, as in this country, "although Bolsonaro's dismissive approach to the pandemic has long polarized Brazilians, his base remains loyal... Bolsonaro remains beloved by evangelicals, those nostalgic for military rule, and many in agricultural areas where the economy is booming despite a slump elsewhere in the country."

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