When Brazilians went to the polls in October 2018, they wanted change. The frustration with the political class led voters to elect newcomers at every level. The Senate —a chamber usually occupied by former congressmen, governors, and even former presidents—was no exception to the zeitgeist. A staggering 46 of 54 seats up for grabs last year were filled by newcomers, promising to shatter the ways of “old politics.” It took a day for us to see that the fresh faces haven’t brought anything new to the table.
The circus that was the Senate President election shows how little even Brazilian politicians take themselves seriously. The new senators tried to stage a coup, shredding the Congress rulebook and manipulating the rules to change the predicted outcome of the election. However, it is hard to feel sorry for the veterans — who stood in power for so long precisely thanks to manipulation of the rules and non-republican backstage negotiations. There are no good guys in this story.