A re­flec­tion of Trump?

The Herald on Sunday - - THE WORLD -

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.

‘STRAIGHT TALK’

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!”

SO­CIAL ME­DIA

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.

FLOAT­ING FRAUD

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.

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