This article is part of Brazil Talk’s 2018 Elections Series and is intended to give our readers a deeper understanding of the Brazilian political system, its complex electoral process and gather diverse perspectives and opinions on what the world should expect from Brazil in the upcoming months and the future of the country at the beginning of 2019.
By Rodrigo R. Soares
[5 min read]
A lot has been said about the political fragmentation in the current pre-electoral scenario in Brazil. This fragmentation has been mostly interpreted as reflecting increased radicalization, and seen as a manifestation of the underlying political preferences of a significant fraction of society. It is undeniable that there has been an increased degree of political radicalization in Brazilian society and that this radicalization also manifests itself in the pre-electoral scenario. However, I believe most of this fragmentation comes from the increasing lack of representativeness of the political system and its detachment from the demands and preferences of a major part of the Brazilian population.
The current fragmentation can find its closest historical precedent in the first direct presidential elections, in 1989, after the end of the military dictatorship, when over 20 candidates were registered in the first round – 5 of which got more than 8% of the votes, and, 7 got close to 5% or more. The worrisome difference with this precedent is that, then, despite the disappointing outcome of the election and the ensuing impeachment process, the country was coming out of a military dictatorship and there was a lot of faith in the democratic institutions and the recently born political system. In addition, an extensive and diversified gallery of leading figures in the fight against dictatorship offered political alternatives that seemed electorally feasible and morally legitimate. We no longer have the luxury of relying on figures anointed by history to exercise political leadership. This generation has passed, and the country must move on, willingly or not.
Continue reading “Part 2 – 2018 Election Series: What Nobody Wants to Say about the Current Political Crisis in Brazil”
by Isabela Messias, MIA candidate 2017 at SIPA
Brazil has been going through a lot lately: an impeachment process, a corruption scandal and an economic crisis that has plunged Brazilian GDP by 3.8 percent in 2015. Worldwide, a number of newspapers and TV channels have been discussing the crisis and its negative consequences for the country. Media outlets have mentioned the possible effects the crisis may have on Brazilian democracy, on the future economy, on investments, and on many other areas and sectors. Continue reading “Saving the Lost Generation”
by Álvaro Rossi, BA Candidate in Economic and Political Science, Columbia University.
The year of 2016 has been a challenging one for political economists. From the unexpected results of the Brexit and Peace referendums in Great Britain and Colombia respectively, to the unprecedented election of real estate mogul Donald Trump as President of the United States, the past 11 months have presented some of the most unforeseen political events in the last years. Political economists, charged with developing theories behind voting behavior, were shaken with the collective political choices of 2017. Continue reading “Facultative Voting and the Erosion of the Median Voter Theorem”
By Marina Lafer, MPA Candidate at SIPA, Columbia University
In 2004, belonging to a social and economic environment in which people were constantly raising doubts over the efficacy of Lula’s policies as Brazil’s President, I remember myself having a bad – unsupported – impression over Bolsa Familia, a program that aims to provide small cash transfers to extremely poor families, conditioned to keep their children in school and take them to preventive health check-ups. At the time of its creation, I was only fourteen years old and had the conception that it was not addressing the poverty issue. Additionally, I believed that the amount of money spent on the program was too great and by compromising that investment with one policy, the Government left many public problems unattended. Continue reading “Brazilians Have A Civic Role In Keeping the “Bolsa Familia” Program”
by Fernanda Nogueira, Co-Editor and Writer at Brazil Talk
Over 90% of Brazilians use social media to read the news, and 70% of them have Facebook as their main source. It is a global trend, and it presents serious risks to public participation in politics, for the simple fact that one can select exactly what type of news one wishes to see. Even worse, based on your profile information, social media instruments now develop algorithms that determine what reaches your newsfeed, tailored to your tastes and beliefs. This allows people to avoid opinions with which one would otherwise disagree. This conduct has led to an alienation of public opinion in Brazil and abroad and has divided people into very distant groups in face of recent events, such as the president’s impeachment, hindering real civic participation in such an important time.
Continue reading “Confirmation bias and the impeachment: How social media in Brazil helped alienate public opinion”