President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is often referred to as the “Trump of the Tropics,” a comparison Mr. Bolsonaro fuels himself, emulating the Trumpian style of politics. However, if we’re comparing Brazil’s next president to other populists around the world, we would be best served looking to the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte, with his macho law and order discourse and shoot-to-kill war on drugs policy.
Both have a penchant for making offensive and “unpresidential” remarks. One suggested soldiers should shoot female communist rebels in the vagina. The other told a congresswoman she was not worth raping and pledged to “machine gun” his opponents. Both were perceived as political outsiders despite having held public office for nearly three decades.
Messrs. Bolsonaro and Duterte are products of what Filipino political analyst and policy advisor Richard Heydarian calls “emerging market populism.” Different from right-wing populism in the United States and France, built largely on anti-immigration sentiment among the so-called “losers of globalization” from the middle class, Brazil and the Philippines are quite different, with populism taking root in other ways and propagating in institutional environments with limited checks and balances.