Jair Bolsonaro's victory on October 28 turns Brazil towards the extreme right and backwards in several aspects of its democratic transition initiated with the 1988 Constitution, especially those related to social justice, environment, human rights and the economy. Understanding why he was elected and what he represents is key to grasping the new Brazil emerging from the election and what to expect for the near future.
For the first time Brazil has elected a president without the support of the poorest or the destitute. Though 55 percent of the electorate opted to steer the country into the abyss, people with lower incomes did not vote for Bolsonaro. In the new Brazilian Congress the military and police caucus overshadows all others.
Brazil has recently undergone a shift from economic growth to recession, as well as from a left-wing, neo-developmentalist politics to one on the far-right, authoritarian and economically ultraliberal. Such an economic and political U-turn touched upon the countryside in contrasting ways. This paper reflects on the politics of the past. It suggests that the road to regression was paved during the tenure of the Worker’s Party (PT), when politics were considered both popular and progressive. And it was under the PT’s rule when the ‘rural world’ mattered the most for politics.
"If farmers expect society to help protect them against the crushing effect of surpluses, they must be prepared to protect society by working out permanent arrangements for storing of reserve food supplies. Both farmers and non-farmers have a responsibility to each other, and any dodging of this responsibility by either group is likely to end in disaster.” Former US secretary of agriculture Henry A. Wallace