Anti-fascist Brazilians expressed horror late Sunday as they watched the misogynist, racist former military officer Jair Bolsonaro advance toward a likely victory in the country’s presidential race, days after hundreds of thousands of women and allies protested his extremist agenda.
Shocking journalists and poll-takers by unexpectedly winning 46 percent of the vote in the general election’s first round, Bolsonaro now heads to a run-off scheduled for October 28. He will face former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Worker’s Party (PT), who garnered just over 29 percent of the vote.
The election results stoked fears that under Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL), Brazilians could soon be living under a military dictatorship like the ones that ruled the country for large portions of the 20th century—and which Bolsonaro has reminisced about during his campaign.
The danger of a fascist takeover is especially plausible because the country lacks strong institutions that could keep Bolsonaro’s power in check, as Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald explained on Democracy Now! last week.
“You really don’t have institutions the way you do in the U.S., like a strong Supreme Court or a kind of deep state of the CIA and the FBI or political parties that would constrain him in what he wants to do,” Greenwald said. “And especially given how much popular support there now is behind him, there’s a substantial part of the country that is genuinely terrified about what he intends to do, and intends to do rather quickly, and probably can do—namely, bringing back the worst abuses of the kinds of dictatorships that summarily executed dissidents, that shut down media outlets, that closed congresses, that we thought was a thing of the past here in Latin America but is now on the verge of returning to its most important and largest country.”
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