A Trumpian candidate’s incompetence
Stop trying to prove that far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is racist, said Cora Rónai. On the Roda Viva talk show last week, the hosts goaded Bolsonaro into saying that Brazil shouldn’t feel bad about having been the world’s biggest importer of slaves because Africans “themselves handed over the slaves.” Then they got him to promise that, if elected, he would reverse policies that address racial inequities because they only “divide Brazilians.” The pundits clearly think they have done the public a service by exposing Bolsonaro, the front-runner polling at 25 percent, as “a troglodyte who longs to restore the dictatorship,” but they haven’t. Bolsonaro voters already know that about him, and like it. They’re like Trump voters: They want someone who will say “F--- political correctness” and who “promises to put the house in order.” Rather than highlight Bolsonaro’s crudity, journalists should instead help undecided voters see how he’d make a mess in office. They can start by asking Bolsonaro some simple policy questions. Those would reveal “his absolute unpreparedness, his lack of any national project, his irrelevance as a parliamentarian, his inability to form alliances.” Racism may not be a turnoff for voters, but incompetence surely is.