Over the weekend, Roberto Jefferson, a far right Brazilian ex-congressman, a supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro, wounded two federal policemen when he fired a rifle and threw grenades at officers attempting to take him into custody. The MAGA-like Jefferson was under house arrest when the Supreme Court ordered him brought in after he violated his conditions of confinement by attacking Justice Cármen Lúcia online, calling her a witch and a prostitute. Instead he was charged with attempted murder.
Like Trump and his allies, Bolsonaro is loudly broadcasting both malignant disinformation— claims his opponents are cannibals and Satanists for example— and threats that he won’t accept an election loss. Bolsonaro’s son, Carlos, much like Don Jr in this country— is one of the major purveyors of toxic misinformation.
Yesterday, writing for the Washington Post, Max Boot noted that “Polls suggest that the economy and crime are among the most important issues for voters in the midterms— and that, as a result, Republicans are surging in the home stretch. I think a lot of voters are missing the point. These elections are actually a referendum on whether you favor the continuation of democracy in America— and Ukraine. Those issues are more closely linked than most people realize, because most of the same MAGA candidates who support Donald Trump’s strongman rule at home are either indifferent or hostile to the fate of democracy abroad… [A] majority of the most important GOP candidates reject the fundamental premise of democracy, which is to accept the outcome of an election even if your side loses.”
Boot is especially concerned that so many election deniers are running for governor and Secretary of State in swing states— “positions in which they would have to certify the results of the next presidential election. Their terrifying credo is expressed by Jim Marchant, the GOP nominee for secretary of state in Nevada, who said: ‘When my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected, we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024.’”
State-level election deniers will have a lot of support from election deniers in Congress. It’s hard to imagine MAGA members voting to certify a Biden victory in 2024. It’s easy to imagine them doing everything possible to harass and hinder the Biden administration— from launching politically motivated investigations to forcing a debt default— to prepare the ground for a Trump comeback in 2024. And if the orange emperor does take power again, you can bet he will try to Orbanize– i.e., euthanize– our democracy.
Boot warned that if voters don’t reject the Republicans in two weeks, the GOP authoritarians could take over Congress and “this,” he concluded, “is how democracies die.”