Tweeter-in-chief can’t govern
Brazilian politics has “become a reality show,” said Alexandre Putti, with President Jair Bolsonaro playing the part of Kim Kardashian. Every week, the president, his family, and members of government “end up getting involved in some controversy,” often fueled by the president’s addiction to social media. Most recent was the spat over Bolsonaro’s favorite crank philosopher, Olavo de Carvalho. Bolsonaro shared on his YouTube channel an expletive-laden video in which de Carvalho brandished a lot of guns and accused Brazil’s former military dictators of being vain and boastful. That prompted Vice President Hamilton Mourão, a former general who took umbrage at the slight to the army, to comment that de Carvalho should go back to his old profession—as an astrologer. Two of Bolsonaro’s sons, Carlos and Eduardo, then began smearing the vice president online, prompting Mourão to respond huffily that he might just quit. By Bolsonaro’s standards, this social media episode wasn’t that controversial—remember when he tweeted a video of one man urinating on another at Carnival and asked the nation to explain to him “What is a golden shower?” With this government in constant self-inflicted crisis, it’s no wonder that Bolsonaro’s approval ratings are in free fall.