Think of it as Brazil’s version of “America First.”
That campaign carried Bolsonaro to a decisive victory in the country’s presidential runoff on Sunday. He won 55 percent of the vote, easily defeating leftist candidate Fernando Haddad.
Bolsonaro appealed to Brazilians by promising to “break the system” and depart from the status quo after a tumultuous few years. Brazil suffered from a deep recession starting in 2016. That economic crisis was accompanied by political turmoil, as a massive corruption scandal unspooled in the country at the highest levels of government and business, leaving few high-profile leaders unscathed.
Against this backdrop, a rise in violent crime has left some voters yearning for order and security, which Bolsonaro — an ex-military officer — promised to deliver.
But his embrace of “law and order” carries alarming undertones, as he has expressed a fondness for the country’s past military dictatorship. His anti-democratic views are just one element of his disturbing rhetoric, though; the president-elect also freely spews misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ, and racist statements.
The presidential frontrunner has been compared to US President Donald Trump; both men share a reputation for incendiary rhetoric, have tried to build campaigns on promises to end corruption and crack down on crime and chaos, and know their way around social media.
Indeed, Trump tweeted Monday that he’d called to congratulate Bolsonaro on his victory. Bolsonaro also tweeted about their conversation, saying the US president had congratulated him on his “historic election.”