Friday, September 07, 2018

Political Effects of a Brazilian Stabbing

Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed and had emergency surgery to treat some serious injuries. MercoPress offers up this little tidbit:

Brazil's Bovespa extended gains after the stabbing as traders bet the incident could boost support for Bolsonaro, who has tapped a University of Chicago-trained banker as his main economic adviser.
I can think of three main reasons people would think this. First, sympathy. The attack humanizes an otherwise pretty disgusting individual  He's more like you, you feel sorry for him, that sort of thing.

Second, tied to sympathy is concern about crime in Brazil. He now is a victim of that crime and can become an even stronger advocate for a mano dura approach to combating it.

Third, it can reflect echoes of a Cold War past where paranoia about left-wing terrorism was rampant. The military government was founded and sustained with the core belief that leftists were trying to destroy the country, which led to extensive repression. Some Brazilians may feel the attack is connected to the Worker's Party in some way, and vote for the right as a way to reject that.

I don't know how much these things will affect the outcome, but we do know it's very much up in the air, so every little thing counts. If Donald Trump had been viciously attacked before the 2016 election, I could imagine people feeling better about him.


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