Jen Balderama writes in today’s Washington Post Opinions newsletter, about the January 8 uprising by Bolsonaro thugs in Brasilia:
“Two years and two days after election deniers violently desecrated the U.S. Capitol, Brazil — the Western Hemisphere’s second-largest democracy — experienced its own antidemocratic convulsion over the weekend, with right-wing supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro attacking the country’s presidential palace, National Congress and Supreme Court.
What is “so deeply shocking,” columnist Eugene Robinson writes, is that we in the United States “saw it here first.”
There were differences in some of the particulars; for instance, Donald Trump, unlike Bolsonaro, was still in office when he summoned the Capitol mob. But in both cases, Robinson writes, “unprecedented savagery was inspired by a cynical and unscrupulous leader who amassed his following by inflaming his supporters’ most atavistic fears and resentments, who sought not to unite his nation but to divide it — and who was willing to respect democratic norms only when election results went his way.”
In other words, it is hard to take in these events and to avoid the thought: A playbook is being followed. The question — not only for Brazil and the United States but also for democratic countries around the world — is whether this sort of brutality is a “last-gasp spasm” of “fascist-adjacent authoritarianism,” as Robinson phrases it, or an ominous sign of more to come.”
Will Argentina also see a defeated ex-president marshall her supporters and try to take the presidency by force if it is denied to her by the voters?