The Power of Lula

A little more than one month ago, at the end of August, things looked differently. For the voter concerned with the rise of Bolsonaro (PSL), and the wave of extreme right-wing populism washing over Brazil, it looked like things would turn out okay in the end. Sure, the rise of Bolsonaro and what it signified –– similar to the growth of extreme right-wing views seen in many recent elections –– was worrying, but Brazil would not repeat the US experience of Trump.

On August 20, Bolsonaro led the polls with 22% according to Datafolha (one of Brazil’s major polling institutes, associated with one of the nation’s foremost newspapers, Folha de S.Paulo). He was followed by Marina Silva (REDE, green center-left) at 16% and Ciro Gomes (PDT, center-left) at 10%. Bolsonaro’s high rejection percentage, however, meant that the opponent qualifying for the second round would defeat Bolsonaro by receiving the total of the anti-Bolsonaro vote. What did the first round matter anyway if everything would be settled comfortably in the second round?

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