erik lundegaard

Wednesday April 10, 2019

Bolsonaro and Trump: Who's Worse?

John Lee Anderson has a good piece in the April 1st New Yorker about Brazil's new authoritarian president, Jair Bolsonaro. It's smartly titled “Southern Strategy.” (This was before Whatserhface turned that phrase into an ignoramus' history lesson this week.)

Comparisons between Bolsonaro and Trump are easy to find for anyone who wants them:

  • Bolsonaro is on his third wife
  • His shitty kids are involved in his business
  • He insults people via Twitter
  • He insults people in person (“She's not worth raping”)
  • He likes the appearance of toughness (“A policeman who doesn't kill isn't a policeman”)
  • He verbally abuses the press
  • He's directly supported by Steve Bannon
  • He has the support of the religious right, the arms industry, anti-environmentalists and the xenophobic
  • His allies feign exasperration at his worst tendencies but constantly support him
  • Despite the above, in the last election, he won more than half the female vote

A good discussion can be had on which man is worse. Bolsonaro grew up working class and made a career in the military before the leap into politics, which seems more admirable than Trump taking over the family business. But he seems more vicious; and he's the head of a country with only a few decades of democratic rule.

That said, and no offense, but if Bolsonaro ruins Brazil, it will set back that country only decades and won't be felt much on the world stage. If Trump ruins the U.S., if he makes a mockery of rule of law, if he darkens the shining city on a hill, I don't know where the world will be.

Posted at 03:56 PM on Wednesday April 10, 2019 in category Politics  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard