On reclaiming populism.
With only a couple of days to go until the decisive runoff between Lula and Bolsonaro, we continue our Bungazão 2022 series by talking to to political scientist Miguel Lago about how Lula and Bolsonaro both construct a Brazilian people. Lula does so broadly on class lines, while Bolsonaro’s construction is a moral one: “good citizens” and those to be excluded.
Why is populism the right way to analyse the election, and how might Lula re-embody Brazil’s greatest populist leader, Getúlio Vargas? We discuss how Bolsonarismo works on the basis of ‘micropower’ – that is, it appeals to those who hold power over others in any walk of life.
And we conclude by looking at Bolsonaro’s combination of transcendence and transgression, and how it has re-politicised Brazilian society. Why is this recipe proving more successful than the transactional politics of old?
Batalhadores do Brasil, Miguel Lago, piauí (in Portuguese)
The self-help guru who conquered Brazil, Alex Hochuli, UnHerd
What Lula’s Comeback Means, Alex Hochuli, Compact
- Do que falamos quando falamos de populismo, Miguel Lago & Tomás Zicman de Barros, Companhia das Letras (in Portuguese)
- Linguagem da destruição, Miguel Lago et al., Companhia de Letras (in Portuguese)