Opinion

How the coronavirus changes Brazilian politics. And how it does not

Bolsonaro's handling of the Covid-19 crisis may alienate parts of his electoral coalition, but there is also the possibility he will come out on top

brazilian politics coronavirus
Brazilians turn their windows into protest venues. Photo Jorge Araujo/FP

Over the past month, the onset of simultaneous public health and economic crises has caused upheaval and disorientation across much of the world. In Brazil, however, the situation has been further aggravated by the bizarre behavior of its president. Jair Bolsonaro first dismissed the coronavirus outbreak as a “media fantasy,” deploying his favorite tactic of dismissing inconvenient facts as “fake news.”

However, this approach was undermined by the rapid spread of the coronavirus across Europe and North America and by several members of his own entourage contracting the disease. Mr. Bolsonaro himself claims to have twice tested negative but...

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