A reflection of Trump?
WHILE Trump and Bolsonaro have many differences – before running, Trump was a billionaire businessman while Bolsonaro was longtime congressman with few legislative victories – many tactics used in their campaigns were remarkably similar.
Perhaps the biggest similarity and likely the one that initially gave rise to the comparisons between Bolsonaro and Trump is that neither man appears to measure his words. In the 2016 US elections, Trump often billed himself as the man who wasn’t afraid to say what everyone else was thinking. Bolsonaro shares the same lack of filter. Some of the comments that have got him in trouble reflect longstanding ideological positions, like his repeated praise for Brazil’s 1964/85 military dictatorship. Other comments may be more off the cuff and a wink at his reputation for shunning the “politically correct”, like when he told an audience that he had a daughter “in a moment of weakness” after four sons.
BASH THE MSM
Bolsonaro and his three oldest sons, who are also politicians, have hammered
away at Brazil’s main media organisations, accusing them of everything from telling outright lies about the candidate to ignoring his rise in the polls and endorsements from other politicians. Like Trump, they accuse the media of propping up the country’s traditional elite and of trying to derail a campaign that might threaten it. Carlos Bolsonaro, who is a city council man in Rio de Janeiro, recently tweeted that the media and a major pollster “ignore growing rallies in favor of Bolsonaro, including in the farthest corners of Brazil, and they try to create a narrative of Bolsonaro’s stagnation (in the polls). They really believe the population is blind and stupid!”
For candidates who don’t trust the media, social networks provide the perfect outlet. Bolsonaro, like Trump, has made heavy use of Twitter and Facebook to talk directly to voters. That became especially important after the candidate was stabbed on September 6 and confined to the hospital for more than three weeks. Last week, even after being released from the hospital, Bolsonaro skipped the most important televised debate on major network Globo, citing his doctors’ orders. Instead he held nightly Facebook live sessions with political allies and did interviews with friendly stations.
Bolsonaro has raised the specter of fraud and said it could rob him of the election. A week before the vote, he told a television station he would not accept any result but his own victory, implying that the size of support he had seen at street rallies indicated he would win, even though the polls were close. A few days later, he backed off those comments, saying he would accept the election results but wouldn’t call his rival to concede. Sound familiar? Trump trod a very similar path. “Bolsonaro is essentially saying, ‘Fairness means that I win. Anything else is fraud,’” said Jason Stanley, author of How Fascism Works.