His presidency seemed to confirm the disagreement. Polls have always shown high rates of disapproval as it has moved from argument to debate and from crisis to crisis. It all seems to point to the possibility of losing the first round For Bolsonaro on Sunday – a correction of what critics had hoped was a historical aberration.
But Bolsonaro once again defied expectations.
Not only did he beat the polls on Sunday, with 43 percent of the vote and a second round against rival Lula, but his allies made windfall gains across the country. his party Now the eldest in both houses of Congress. Candidates supported by Bolsonaro won 14 seats in the Senate, a chamber previously hostile to the president. Lola’s allies won only eight.
In the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – home to a quarter of the population – the Allies demonstrated similar strength. In Rio, Governor Claudio Castro won nearly 60 percent of the vote to defeat his leftist rival. And in São Paulo, Lula’s hometown, Where former governor João Doria has repeatedly clashed with Bolsonaro over his coronavirus response, the president’s candidate beat Lula to take the advantage ahead of the second round.
“We already have what we need to liberate Brazil from the tyranny, bribery and injustice that exasperates us,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter on Monday. “A more profound change has already begun! It is not the people who should be afraid.”
Instead of emphasizing Bolsonaro’s weakness and returns on Sunday showed his surprising strength. Brazil has made it clear that it is not in a race to return to the leftist politics and leaders who ruled it before he rose to power.
Federal University of São Paulo said: “Bolsonarismo is powerful and represents millions of Brazilians, rooting itself and spreading in Brazilian society.” Sociologist Esther Solano, who studies the president’s supporters. “Bolsonarismo has come to stay and could even surpass Bolsonaro.”
It looks like the President is still destined for defeat in the second round on October 30th. Lula, who is seeking his third term as Brazil’s president, beat Bolsonaro in the first round with more than 6 million votes, winning more than 48 percent of voters. He was only 2 million away from getting the 50 percent he needed to win straight in the first round. Opinion polls, if to be believed, still expect a second round win over.
The country remains highly polarized, drawn between two political giants triggered in part by personal and mutual animosity. But the majority of voters have consistently said they will not vote for Bolsonaro. His aggressive rhetoric, his rejection of the epidemic that has killed more than 686,000 Brazilians, his political war actions against ideological opponents – all of which still constituted an obstacle in the way of the runoff.
But the movement of Lula and his supporters nonetheless seemed defeated because they considered the Brazil they did not recognize and the outcome they did not expect.
“I really cried,” said Larissa Paglia, 28, on Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo Sunday night. “We were not expecting this result. Even if it was beneficial to us, we did not expect it.”
Historians were less surprised. Brazil has an international reputation for a certain liberal approach to life – carnival, bikini thong, Brazilian wax job – but in fact this is a very conservative country where right-wing movements have long found strong followers by appealing to Christian values.
Pedro Doria, a journalist and historian, said Bolsonarismo’s supporters – with its appeal for individual liberties and its appreciation for the country’s broad conservative interior – reflect much of this discourse. In the same way that former President Donald Trump tapped into historical sources of discontent in the United States, Bolsonaro found his base by channeling underlying grievances and fears.
“These ideas are deeply rooted in Brazil,” he said. “We sometimes think these ideas are gone, but political thought is not something abstract that intellectuals draw in universities, but ideas that people pass on to their children for the shape they think society should be.”
“This conservative way of thinking runs deep in Brazil. It never died.”
Now the movement is preparing to shape events in the country for years to come. Seven of Bolsonaro’s former cabinet members, who each carried out one of his most controversial political initiatives, have been elected to Congress.
One of them was former Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, who oversaw the dismantling of institutions protecting the Amazon rainforest. Another was Eduardo Pazuelo, who implemented Bolsonaro’s contradictory coronavirus policies at the Ministry of Health. Another one was Damars Alves, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family and Human Rights, who spent most of her time in this position fighting culture war battles.
In Mato Grosso state, one of Bolsonaro’s loyal ex-ministers defeated Luiz Enrique Mandetta – the health minister who clashed with Bolsonaro over the president’s recommendation of unproven drugs to treat the coronavirus.
The political scientist said, “Even if Bolsonaro loses, the movement he has led so far will remain a powerful force.” Matthias Spector, Professor of International Relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation. “It would limit the ambitions of Lula’s administration as it would be able to derail any move and make it more difficult.”
Bolsonarismo now controls the Brazilian right. Political analyst and columnist Fabio Zanini said what was left of the moderate right “perished” in Sunday’s vote. Bolsonaro is the undisputed standard bearer.
“He was able to replicate some of what he did in 2018,” he said. “He is the man that conservative Brazilians now look to as their representative.”
Pessoa reported from São Paulo. Paulina Villegas from Brasilia contributed to this report.