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Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro speaks to supporters during the Social Liberal Party’s convention where he accepted the presidential nomination, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 22, 2018 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

Fed Up With Corrupt Politicians, Can Brazilians Resist the Lure of Demagogues?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

With barely 10 weeks left until Brazil’s general elections, voters in Latin America’s largest country are seething with anger, frustration and disappointment. Many, perhaps most, have lost faith in democracy, in politicians, and in traditional governing parties. Prominent figures are warning of revolution; talk of a military coup is even in the air. Uncertainty leads the polls.

Brazil is caught in what may just be the world’s biggest ever corruption scandal, while the economy is struggling to pull out of a deep recession and its most popular politician, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is in prison. In the midst of this toxic brew, Brazilians are about to choose a new president and, not surprisingly, their choices include extremists. The most notable among them is a far-right candidate with transparently authoritarian tendencies, Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and former army captain who some are calling the “Trump of the tropics.” ...

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