Denouncing reporter’s statements as “fake news”, moving the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, pulling out of the Paris Accords, a political battle against Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro, (Lopes) and a tough on China proposition.
To most Americans, when they see these statements, they would most likely think of one person, Donald Trump. What most don’t know is that these statements are also true for the new Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro. Trump is leading a trend based on un-democratic notions across the world. Bolsonaro wants to use his far-right ideals to follow in Trumps footsteps by making Brazil Great Again.
From those examples, we can already see that there are large similarities between these two political figures which enact pride to their supporters. How Boslonaro has been influenced by Donald Trump? Whether it be his heavy hand against immigration or the economic change Bolsonaro wants to improve Brazil’s wealth, but I think that Trump had a large effect on Bolsonaro just by getting elected.
Trump had a campaign that was different from the norm in American politics. He ran as an outsider to the politics. He ran stating that he needed to run in order to rebuild the country, as if somehow those previously in power corrupted it. He also stated that we are transferring the power from Washington back to the people as if it wasn’t already a democracy, by the people for the people. With Trump being a political outsider by not coming from a traditional political background and winning, this gave the inspiration and motive for Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro is an ex-military captain and has been a congressman for 27 years. He is considered to be a political outsider like Trump, Giuseppe Conte in Italy, and Victor Orbán in Hungary. Bolsonaro is an anti-establishment political figure which largely pushed his ideals after Operation Car Wash. Operation Car Wash was a large embezzlement scandal of more than $10 billion in government funds linked to over 80 government officials, including congressmen and supreme court judges. In 2016 Dilma Rousseff, the President of Brazil, was impeached for illegal movement of funds. With both of these situations happening within 2 years of his running for office, it led the pathway for his outsider, anti-establishment rhetoric to lay hold of the voters.
Jair Bolsonaro had everything in the bag. He had the populist and political outsider example of Trump to know that he truly had the possibility of winning in a large, highly developed country. With that same example, he knew that he did not need to follow traditional democratic ideals. He had large corruption scandals happening which just empowered his anti-corruption and anti-elitism rhetoric. Corruption had been in Brazil’s history for a long time, so having the knowledge that he could win as a political outsider was that edge that he needed against his opponents.
Seeing this populist movement and the loss of so many officials due to corruption, this could lead to the destruction of democracy within Brazil and Trump is just an example to fuel the fire. Since Trump has remained as President, starting in 2016 and continuing through 2018, the United States was dropped in democratic category to be a flawed democracy for the first time ever. According to the democracy index, it continued to drop in 2018. In a recent conference with Trump and Bolsonaro, Trump stated that the countries may be in better relations now due to the friendship between Trump and Bolsonaro. Trump, by being elected has been the front running image of non-democratic ideals and working against the system. If our democracy is dropping due to Trump and now having great relations with Brazil, we can only imagine what will happen to Brazil’s democracy with a more radical president than Trump, Jair Bolsonaro.
Photo by Chris Kleponis, Creative Commons Zero license