In November 2016, as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro lay on his deathbed in Havana, eccentric billionaire Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States, ushering a global shift in the very way of doing politics.
With constant use of misinformation and discrediting the established media, Trump ruled on social networks, using the platform to carve out his own favorable narratives and attack adversaries with his brash style of internal and foreign policy.
Trump’s rise to power inspired a number of similarly boorish politicians around the globe, none more so than Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro. Looking on as Trump entered the White House, with his apparent free rein over the country, furthering violent discourse and poo-pooing all of his critics as “fake news,” surely made Jair Bolsonaro sit up and take notice. If someone like Donald Trump could become president in the U.S., why couldn’t he do the same in Brazil?
It was then that the veteran congressional backbencher set about touring Brazil, drumming up support from far-right radicals, wooing the Armed Forces, and building his presidential platform. Two years later, in an election that echoed that of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro won the runoff vote. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, four years after first entering the White House, the “Trump project” has come to an end, with traditional Democrat Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. For Jair Bolsonaro, more than seeing his political inspiration cast aside at the ballot box, the post-Trump era is likely to be one of diplomatic isolation for his government.
A politically orphaned Bolsonaro now looks on, perhaps uncertain about his own future.