Written by Larissa Noronha
Brazil’s presidential elections will be decided this Sunday, October 28
The dispute between Haddad, a candidate of the Worker’s Party (PT) and Bolsonaro, of the Social Liberal Party (PSL), has been dividing the political position of Brazilian society, which is fragmented and fragile in the face of a scenario that puts its democracy at risk.
The polls indicate the victory of Jair Bolsonaro, a contradictory figure who has been drawing negative attention on the international scene and creating chaos in the domestic scenario.
Deputy for the state of Rio de Janeiro for 27 years until now, Bolsonaro had only two projects approved by the Chamber. He said publicly that he does not understand anything about economics and decided not to attend any debate in the second round. Even so, many still call him a “myth” and think he will be able to save the country.
What scares the most in Bolsonaro is not even his unpreparedness. It’s his speeches. These discourses directly affect women, indigenous groups, blacks, the poor and homosexuals. Groups that already have to deal with inequalities of privilege and prejudice are placed within a narrative of hatred that is uttered by a political leader and is repeated by his followers.
Bolsonaro was able to divide the Brazilian population between those that defend #elenão (#nothim) and #elesim (#him). However, this logic goes far beyond a simple hashtag. It comes to represent the character of the Brazilian and its compactness with the stated support for torture, violence and even the military dictatorship.
The slogan of his campaign, “Brazil above all, God above all”, in itself already represents a problem.
The totalitarian and nationalist character of the candidate very much resembles Fascism. Nevertheless, placing a religious figure as superior to all in a secular state represents a strong threat to the multicultural and multireligious character of Brazil.
But how to explain Bolsonaro’s influence in Brazil? Well, although unprepared, there is no denying the smartness of the candidate. He has sought to link the Worker’s party to the problems of Venezuela, with a narrative that says that Brazil is more likely to become the next Venezuela if governed by the rival party. Building a whole narrative about a communist threat was a very smart move, especially considering the hard criticisms to the Workers’ Party. But that was not enough. It was necessary to involve a millionaire scheme involving companies to create fake news involving the opposing candidate, being passed on by Whatsapp. Perhaps this is the key issue in these elections: the spread of fake news and the lack of intellectual knowledge of a large part of the Brazilian population.
What is to be expected from a society that ignores the opinion of political scientists, historians, sociologists, and prefers to believe the news that are routed in Whatsapp groups? When a candidate promises to solve security issues with extreme measures such as legalizing the possession of firearms, and at the same time, to fight against corruption and especially against the Worker’s party, people start to call him “the myth”. But it did not stop there: it was not enough to be someone who represented the solution to these problems, it had to be a fierce candidate to end the “party” of the “left”, the “petistas” (supporters of the Worker’s Party) and social groups that “suck tits of government “and lead the” country into bankruptcy “.
The truth is that the Bolsonaro voter fell into this network of fake news and communist threat and closed his eyes to what is really at stake: democracy and human rights. The fight against corruption (despite the candidate’s involvement in scandals) and the aversion to the PT have created a notion that it is worth everything to have security and PT out of power. It’s worth everything, including violence.
For the Bolsonaro voter, all those who criticize are “leftists” and “communists”, even though they do not even know what these concepts mean. The Brazilians have reached a level where the Pope’s religious position is questioned; where Roger Waters does not understand the real meaning of the lyrics of “Another Brick in the Wall”; where the German Embassy knows less about Nazism than the Brazilian with a “masters degree in Whatsapp”; where The Economist does not understand economics; but where the Klu Klux Klan can not be as bad as the PT.
The election will be decided this Sunday. Maybe it was not even necessary. It’s no use. Brazil has already lost without even Bolsonaro winning. Fascism came to life in the blessed country.