Bruno Carvalho on Bolsonarismo and Trumpism

Written by
Brazil LAB
Sept. 30, 2018

In September 2018, Bruno Carvalho, former professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University and friend of the Brazil LAB, published “It’s Not Your Fault: An Interpretation of the Fantasies and Strategies of Bolsonarism (and Trumpism)” in Piauí magazine. Carvalho questions how it came to be that presidential candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro is leading the polls that do not include former president Lula, who is currently in jail, as a galvanizing figure for a considerable portion of the electorate. Like Donald Trump, Carvalho argues, Bolsonaro “feeds off of confrontations with the press and attacks on political correctness” but ultimately benefits from the politically correct coverage and restrained language of the mainstream media who calls him ‘controversial’ and ‘conservative.’ “A more accurate description,” says Carvalho, “would be ‘poorly-informed demagogue.’” Also like Trumpism, Bolsonarism remains averse to complexity and reflection, says Carvalho, and offers voters the comfort of offloading responsibility elsewhere. “We cannot underestimate the appeal and the destructive potential of this phenomenon,” he writes.

#elenão protest in Rio de Janeiro, October 29, 2018.
#elenão protest in Rio de Janeiro, October 29, 2018.