Brazilian election coverage

I’ve been terrible at updating this site. Must to better. But for now, I thought I’d put up my recent coverage of the Brazilian elections – though there’s more to come too.

For Compact I previewed the election, emphasising that it was a battle between order and chaos, rather than one that is politically polarised on a left-right spectrum. I did perhaps overemphasise the desire for order though, given Bolsonaro’s – and Bolsonaristas downballot – positive result. The peak of anti-corruption “anti-politics” has passed, but there is still widespread rejection of the establishment, one that Bolsonaro can seemingly still champion, despite everything.

For Unherd, I took the unorthodox path of talking about someone who wasn’t even a candidate anymore: a ridiculous, arrogant life-coach who was running for president until behind-the-scenes party shenanigans scuppered his candidacy. This self-described theologian provides an important window into the way Brazil is changing. In Brazil’s market dictatorship, precarity and violence rules. In such a context, the Manichaean and oft-times apocalyptic worldview of evangelical Christianity flourishes. But this life-coach provides it with a New Age twist.

Also for Unherd, I wrote up the first round results on the whistle, noting how the pollsters had underestimated Bolsonaro’s vote, and ventured some reasons as to why this may have been. I conclude that Lula is the last of his kind.

For Jacobin, I reviewed the BBC/PBS documentary series on the Bolsonaros. Though the document is perfectly adequate, its critical angle on Bolsonaro recapitulates what has been so ineffectual about the opposition to him: indulging Bolsonaro’s framing of a contest between jobs, growth, development on one hand, and preservation of the Amazon on the other. In fact, Brazil is marked by the absence of any developmental project, and that’s the real problem.

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