Brazilian Election echoes America’s democracy in crisis

Brazilian Election echoes Americas democracy in crisis

Noah Davila, editor-in-chief

The race for Brazil’s presidency  came to a close last week, electing former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to replace incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Following the results there was a tense two day silence from Bolsonaro as supporters took to the streets, blocking off major highways in protest and claiming election fraud, repeating Bolsonaro’s previous statements that he would not step down or give up without a fight. It was shaping up to be Brazil’s dip into the kind of post-truth radicalism we have seen take hold here in the states. But then, Bolsonaro stepped aside. Though never exactly admitted he had lost or that the election was fair, which he heavily contested leading up to the race, he did say he would step down and allow the transition of power. 


So if he gave up his pouting, why does this matter? Bolsonaro is far from harmless. His Libral party, which he has driven further right during his administration, holds the majority of congressional seats and controls Brazil’s 3 biggest states. While he might not be head of state anymore, he is certainly still holding the reins behind a movement still sprouting the same anti-democratic conspiracy theories. Though they skipped the Jan. 6th stage, they most certainly are following in the footsteps of American Trumpism. Large angry, fearful crowds led by a dangerously charismatic and emotional figurehead. Brazil is no stranger to authoritarians but here we see a model emerging of a uniquely modern dictator.


Luca will take office January 1st, the transition is expected to be smooth at the government level, but protests still continue. Some radicals even call for a military coup against the new leadership, though this is unlikely. It appears that the Bolsonaro-supporters will remain at the same level of their volatile cousins up state-side, but with the recent home invasion ofNancy Pelosi and a rise in militia groups, who knows where either is heading towards.