Bolsonaro is not a “Trump of the Tropics”

I have two pieces out this week in reaction to Bolsonaro’s election.

For NBC Think I argue that, despite international media putting Trump and Bolsonaro in the same league, “the U.S. is led by a politician who still enacts policy within the bounds of the law, in and through American institutions.” More broadly, though, we can draw some conclusions. Most importantly, that: “the link between free market capitalism and democracy may be breaking. If so, genuine democrats face a fork in the road: cling to an increasingly anti-popular neoliberal order or defend democracy, warts and all.”

In The Baffler, I draw out three lessons for the Left: don’t govern for its own sake; don’t play fast and loose with words; liberals are not to be trusted.

Surely the lesson for the Left in all this is that if you’re going to govern, you must implement your program. If you can’t see it through, get out of government. Ruling at all costs is for the Right. Let the forces of reaction take the flak when it all goes wrong. While there may be an honest desire to protect workers from the worst consequences of right-wing government, if you are the ones implementing soft austerity, you will be blamed for the social consequences. The Right will win the next election and undo whatever limited good you did. You won’t be thanked for softening the blow, and your credibility as a workers’ party will be blown.




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