Early in 2015, I wrote an article to French website Médiapart called “In Brazil, conservatism advances.” The article concerned the widespread defeats to the Workers’ Party and how Brazil’s Congress was the most conservative it had been since the 1964 military coup. Yesterday, however, Brazilians chose to push the country even further to the right, favoring conservative (and often extremist) candidates in all branches of government – for Congress, the Senate, gubernatorial races, and, of course, for president.
It was the biggest electoral win of the right-wing since the generals left power in the mid-1980s. Former Army captain Jair Bolsonaro got nearly 50 million votes and was not far off a first-round win. Four years ago, his minuscule Social Liberal Party elected just one congressman. Yesterday, it became the second-biggest party in the lower house. His son Eduardo deserves some of the credit, having become the best-voted candidate for Congress in Brazilian history with 1.8 million votes in São Paulo.
Only one candidate got more votes than Eduardo Bolsonaro: Janaína Paschoal, who ran for the state legislature in São Paulo. Ms. Paschoal, who was tipped to be Jair Bolsonaro’s running mate at one point, overcame the 2-million mark.
It was not a conservative wave. It was a far-right tsunami.