Monday, October 08, 2018

Jair Bolsonaro's Triumph

Roughly three weeks ago when I talked to Fred Batista on my podcast, it seemed like Jair Bolsonaro was hitting a ceiling and Fernando Haddad was moving up. But over that span of time, almost the opposite happened and Bolsonaro came much closer to a first round win than people thought possible.

The results:

Right now the Tribunal Superior Eleitoral has Bolsonaro at 46.03% and Fernando Haddad at 29.28%. The remaining 24.69% was scooped up by 11 other candidates, the highest of which was Ciro Gomes with 12.47%. Marina Silva only got 1%. Meanwhile, 8.79% of the votes were blank or void. Not a whole lot of Brazilians voted from abroad, but a majority (58.68%) went for Bolsonaro and Haddad came in third. Not too surprisingly, the PT is not so popular with Brazilians who left.

Bolsonaro's party, the Social Liberal Party (PSL) won 51 seats in the lower house (I've also seen 52 so we'll see). His son Eduardo reportedly received the most votes of anyone in history in the lower house. It's notable that the PSL only got 4 seats in the Senate. It looks like a total of 20 different parties will be represented in the Senate and 30 in the Chamber of Deputies.

The Brazilian center evaporated. The PT is a popular party but a troubled one. It got enough votes to be competitive but also drove many to vote for another extreme. Why they did not choose a more moderate option is something that people will likely be studying for some time. Like Donald Trump, Bolsonaro promises easy answers to hard questions, and that can be seductive.

The second round is going to be difficult for Haddad. Bolsonaro is so very close and the remaining 25% of the electorate will see their choice as bad and worse. It is a choice between a party many see as corrupt and a maniac. As with the first round, Brazilians in particular but those of us interested non-Brazilians will be consuming polls voraciously. The runoff is October 28 and three weeks is a long time.


shah8 2:32 AM  

I think I have to ask.

What is at all radical about PT's agenda?

Greg Weeks 8:35 AM  

Good question. I think the answer is that it's more about a perception of being radical than actual radical policy. Perhaps not unlike the odd but persistent perception in the US that Obama was radical.

Anonymous,  1:45 PM  

Anybody that defends the rights of the poor (and not only theirs...) is a radical in the current Brazilian context....

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