Social democratic primaries in Brazil an exercise in futility

The PSDB party was once a dominant force in Brazilian politics. It will hold a historic primary election on Sunday. But does anyone care?

psdb primaries
PSDB frontrunners João Doria (left) and Eduardo Leite. Both are presidential longshots. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

For most of Brazil’s democratic life, the center-right Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) was the well-heeled conservative half of the country’s dominant political duopoly, alongside the center-left Workers’ Party. The PSDB was pivotal in the creation of the Brazilian Real, and won two consecutive elections in the first round, losing four others in runoffs. Since 2018, however, the PSDB has lost its place as the country’s main right-of-center force.

And by the looks of things, they won’t regain that mantle in 2022.

The party will hold its presidential primaries on November 21, but none of their candidates seem to...

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