Late Sunday night. I was online looking for vote results in Brazil. I also learned that there was a real 6.3 – scale earthquake down in Argentina.
In reality, the Brazil earthquake, the large victory by Jair Bolsonaro, got more attention. His numbers were huge in a huge country: 55.54% of the popular vote!
The response was predictable. The left is calling him a right-winger, and some even fascist: Far-right congressman Bolsonaro wins presidential election in Brazil!
An hour ago, I shared that headline by phone with a friend in Sao Paulo. He laughed and said something like, we’re all fascists today! And then he laughed some more.
The Atlantic is asking: “Can Brazil’s Democracy Withstand Jair Bolsonaro?”
My reaction is simple. What planet have the people at the Atlantic been living in? Has anybody there walked in a Rio or Sao Paulo street? Have any of them spoken to a small businessman in Brazil? A small businessman struggling to understand the government regulations created to benefit the crony capitalist trio of big government, big labor, and big companies. A mother who is afraid to send her children to school.
Let me be honest. Lula and the left did not create corruption. Nevertheless, they were really good at it, especially in buying votes in the poor areas promising stuff that the country can’t afford.
So here we are. Brazil has a new president and he has serious challenges ahead of him, the underperforming economy in particular.
I would recommend the following the president-elect:
1) Go hard against the criminal elements. They are a threat to everyone, especially the poor who can’t put gates around their homes or hire bodyguards. If necessary, occupy these districts and impose martial law. My friends tell me that the troops will be greeted as liberators.
2) Take the lead and call on the OAS to do something about Venezuela. At the moment, the Brazil-Venezuela border is a problem. Do what no other leader of Latin America has the courage to do. Identify Maduro as a threat to all.
We wish the president-elect well. However, the left does not go away easily, as we’ve seen in Argentina.