Did Brazil just vote for a Fascist?
You’d be mistaken for thinking so if you watched or listened to the Australian mainstream media these past couple of days.
Then again if you believed the mainstream media you would be certain that Fascism was not only incipient in Brazil but in Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Britain, Canada the United States and even Australia.
Lefty journalists LOVE calling things “fascism” almost as much as their far left street thug friends love attacking equally dubiously defined “fascists” in masked baying mobs
The truth is, just like all the other times leftists in newsrooms have wet themselves screeching like demented hysterical mental patients over the supposed oncoming shadow of fascism about to descend on some corner of the globe, the facts are a little more complex.
For one thing the media’s new Duce-de-jour, former military commander and current Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, hasn’t even won yet. He scored an absolutely astounding 48% in the first round of voting but now faces a run-off election in two and a half weeks’ time against Worker’s Party candidate Fernando Haddad. The Lebanese descended Haddad is the handpicked socialist successor chosen by “Lula”, the ex-two-term far-left President still so popular amongst the poor that he probably would have won this election had he not been convicted and then imprisoned for truly obscene levels of corruption (even for Brazil).
But the shock of the Left worldwide is perhaps understandable; this result came almost out of nowhere. Bolsonaro broke all expectations and won with most demographic groups. He got votes from black, white and everything in between, atheist to evangelical, poor to rich, across the board his voter count was far higher than anyone expected and in a country of 210 million far higher than could possibly be explained away by anything as mundane as voter fraud.
In the highly racially and economically divided state of Rio de Janeiro, Bolsonaro won a shocking 60% of all votes cast, winning every neighbourhood and district, most with more than 50% of the votes cast. It was a truly stunning feat.
So how did he do it?
Some have compared Jair to Donald Trump or Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and he certainly shares those two leaders flair for annoying journalists by making outlandish statements that they can’t help but report on.
For instance Bolsonaro’s stated solution to the nation’s crime epidemic is to unleash the military and police into the nation’s favelas and give them “carte blanche” to kill criminals. He has criticized the former leader of Chile Augusto Pinochet for not killing enough Communists. He has called for the chemical castration of sex offenders. When he voted to impeach Socialist President and former Marxist guerrilla Dilma Rousseff (again for gross corruption) he dedicated his guilty vote to the Colonel who had tortured her in prison. Perhaps most vitally of all he has repeatedly declared that if a coup is needed to fix Brazil’s problems then he would not hesitate to call for one.
And Brazil does have problems.
The country under the inept leftist to far-leftist economic leadership of the last decade and a half has drifted in and out of recession despite its massive resources and potential. Even in 2015 one of the worst years of the Syrian Civil War less people were dying in that conflict than from crime in Brazil’s streets. Last year over 60,000 people were murdered in the country, easily the most in the world. Perhaps most terrible of all under the leadership of President Dilma in 2014 Brazil lost the World Cup semi-final to Germany 7-1 at home.
Clearly something must be done.
But all these things alone didn’t push Bolsonaro to his historic election result. As recently as a few months ago even the ludicrously inaccurate Brazilian polling companies had the charming cheeky rascal with the tricksters smile so far behind as to be a bit of a joke.
He of course had his base amongst the middle class whites of the Southern regions sick as always of subsidising the inefficient and financially unstable north. He had made good inroads into Brazil’s growing Evangelical Christian community and had won the endorsements of some of the more vital leaders amongst that congregation. But alone none of that describes the results that have had leftie journalists crying into their twitter in at least three languages.
The answer is that Haddad was standing for the Workers Party (PT in Portuguese). And the whispers around the traps most journalists don’t like talking about indicated that without the charismatic figure of Lula at the helm the fact that the PT’s rhetoric sounds alarmingly like that of the government of Venezuela may have kept a lot of people home from the polls.
While western journalists manage quite easily to forget that only a decade ago they were cheering on Chavez and his policies that have now annihilated a once prosperous country, it’s slightly harder for Brazilians. About 2.3 million refugees have left Venezuela for neighbouring countries in the last four years. Around nine thousand continue to swarm across the borders every day, and those who flee into Brazil do so into some of the later countries’ poorest districts causing discontent, strife and sometimes even outright mob violence.
It’s easier to ignore the failures of socialism when they’re on the other side of the world as opposed to when they’re right next door.
This “neighbourhood” factor, plus the fact that when Bolsonaro was recently stabbed at a campaign rally the assailant turned out to be a Marxist from the Communist “Socialism and Liberty Party” may have helped bring on his late race surge.
It’s good to see that the extreme Left is full of violent, counter-productive lunatics no matter where you are in the world.
So did Brazil just elect a fascist? No, even if Bolsonaro wins “fascism” hasn’t erupted in Latin America’s largest state. Will that stop journalists and left wing activists (but I repeat myself) from hyperventilating? No. Not at all.
After all if they had to sit down and think about things rather than live in their little fantasy world where they’re the eternal heroes fighting the eternal baddies from eighty years ago they might have a moment of self-reflection. And in that moment of self-reflection they might question why their totally-right-never-wrong ideals keep failing.
They might even ask themselves why so many people are so sick of Marxists and their fellow travellers that they’re willing to almost vote in a guy who openly applauds those who tortured them.
And believe me; they really don’t want to ask themselves that.