Brazil on Sunday became the latest country to drift toward the far right, electing a strident populist as president in the nation’s most radical political change since democracy was restored more than 30 years ago.
The new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has exalted the country’s military dictatorship, advocated torture and threatened to destroy, jail or drive into exile his political opponents.
He won by tapping into a deep well of resentment at the status quo in Brazil — a country whiplashed by rising crime and two years of political and economic turmoil — and by presenting himself as the alternative.
“We have everything need to become a great nation,” Mr. Bolsonaro said Sunday night shortly after the race was called in a video broadcast on his Facebook account. “Together we will change the destiny of Brazil.”
If all these seems depressingly familiar, it's because it's 100% Trump's playbook.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s victory caps a bitter contest that divided families, tore friendships apart and ignited concerns about the resilience of Brazil’s young democracy.
Many Brazilians see authoritarian tendencies in Mr. Bolsonaro, who plans to appoint military leaders to top posts and said he would not accept the result if he were to lose. He has threatened to stack the Supreme Court by increasing the number of judges to 21 from 11 and to deal with political foes by giving them the choice of extermination or exile.
Mr. Bolsonaro, 63, a former Army captain who has been a member of Congress for nearly three decades, beat a crowded field of presidential contenders, several of whom entered the race with bigger war chests, less baggage, and the backing of powerful political parties.
Part of the reason for his victory was the collapse of the left. Many cried foul after former President Luiz Inácio da Silva, the longtime front-runner in the race, was ruled ineligible to run after he was imprisoned in April to start serving a 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering.
Bolsonaro's battle cry was "lock them up" and he did. Now, the bloody purge of his enemies will soon begin. There's no question how we got here, Bolsonaro's takeover is just one more domino in the end of democracy
It's only going to get exponentially worse over the coming years unless we begin the turn back to sanity in 9 days.