A loss for Trump is a loss for Bolsonaro? Not so fast

October was not a good month for conservative forces around the Americas. In Bolivia, one year after being pushed out in a right-wing military coup, the left-wing Movement for Socialism party was swept back into office by an electoral landslide. In Chile, a referendum to rewrite the country’s dictatorship-era constitution passed with an overwhelming 78 percent of the vote. And in the U.S., incumbent President is edging ever closer to a defeat at the polls, when the country decides its future on November 3.

But in Brazil, one of the largest countries in the world to be run by an openly far-right government, are there any signs of President Jair Bolsonaro’s grip slipping?

November will be a crucial point for the Bolsonaro government. Elections in the U.S. have ripple effects on practically every administration around the world, but few more so than Brazil’s, where much of Mr. Bolsonaro’s first term has been spent hitching his political future to ’s. Were his political idol to lose next Tuesday’s election, there are suggestions that this would impact his own political clout. Brazil’s municipal elections later in the month could also signal a change in the winds of Brazilian politics.

No-one likes us, we don’t care

Brazil would not be a priority for a potential Biden government, and with Mr. Bolsonaro and his supporters mainlining conspiracy theories that make QAnon appear moderate, the status of being global undesirables would likely fortify the wills of the president’s core electorate. While it is too early to declare a Biden victory inevitable, I suspect Mr. Bolsonaro and his movement would embrace the possibility of becoming the most despised government in the world.

Never waste a crisis

And Mr. Bolsonaro’s popularity soared to new heights thanks to his government’s emergency salary program, which initially paid unemployed and informal workers BRL 600 per month during the pandemic, causing a huge temporary impact on poverty figures. Indeed, once this program comes to and end in January 2021, we will see whether this popularity has stuck.

In summation, regardless of the result in the U.S., Jair Bolsonaro remains free of organized and credible opposition and should hold on to his relatively strong position.

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