By Benjamin Forgat
(Opinion) Brazilian elections are in their final month and will be held on Oct. 2.
And officially, everyone is asking only one question: will Socialist Lula da Silva become president in the first round of voting or in the second?
There is no other version, not in the domestic and foreign media, and not in the polls.
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For more than a year, these institutions have been hammering into the heads of Brazilians, first monthly, then weekly, and finally almost daily, that Lula da Silva will win.
Through repetition, it has become the “Brazilian truth” – at least the visible one.
BOLSONARO IS CATCHING UP
And now this.
Conservative-religious Bolsonaro has been steadily gaining ground in the critical southeast region, home to some 90 million Brazilians.
According to the latest results, he has overtaken Lula da Silva by 1% for the first time in the most critical Brazilian state, São Paulo, where 46 million people live.
The two are tied in Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second most crucial state.
In the third most important Minas Gerais, traditionally a swing state, he is now getting dangerously close to his opponent.
The South votes for Bolsonaro, and so does most of the Center West.
The only crucial region where Lula da Silva still has a clear lead is the Northeast, with Bahia as the most significant state.
It is characterized by poor infrastructure, low education levels, and underinvestment, and for years was mainly in the hands of the left.
But even there, Bolsonaro is catching up.
The Brazil Aid (survival assistance) generously granted by his government is used by almost 50% of the ‘Nordestinos’.
Given this regular flow of money, how many of these traditional leftist voters might be hitting the “Bolsonaro” button on the electronic ballot box this time?
If there are many, Lula da Silva could be in hot water.
The press, the polls, and the establishment bravely deny and ridicule the scenario, but it is pure arithmetic.
That’s why the big guns are being brought in now, and secret deals between the presidential candidates and their parties are also likely to be forged.
Despite all the competition, the other presidential candidates have one thing in common: their deep loathing of Bolsonaro. And apart from Lula da Silva, no one has a chance of winning anyway.
ELECTRONIC BALLOT BOXES
What matters now more than ever is that the purely electronic ballot boxes function correctly and cannot be manipulated.
The Bolsonaro government, therefore, wants to call in the army to ensure this.
At the latest, since the advent of social media, we all know how fake, untrue, and manipulable the digital world is.
You can manipulate everything—likes, followers, reposts, better google rankings, mentions, and much more.
Purely electronic votes are, therefore, a risk factor. Remember the still ongoing disputes in the US on this topic.
This is probably one of the main reasons Bolsonaro fought like a lion to have a printed ballot for every electronic vote.
This is the only way to check whether the right candidate received the votes in case of doubt.
Why was and still is there opposition to this?
How can one be against more security in such an essential matter as presidential elections?
However, court cases and investigations are pending against Bolsonaro for “attacking the Brazilian electoral system without evidence” with his insistence on printed ballots, which is considered “anti-democratic behavior” by the establishment.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The attack is the best defense because it practically always works.
And so it comes to pass that the left has yet to answer why they oppose more security at the ballot box and probably never will.
And then there is the increasing danger in election campaigns of active character assassination and false flag operations.
For example, a few days ago, in the deep hinterlands of Mato Grosso State, an agricultural worker allegedly murdered another.
There is talk of knives and axes, a freak show.
Something commonplace in Brazil, whose murder rate has dropped considerably in recent years but is still among the highest in the world.
If it were not for the story told by the murderer: He, the perpetrator, is a Bolsonarista and the other, the victim, was a Lulista.
And to top it all off, the “obedient” Bolsonarista confessed to the murder of the Lulista quite voluntarily and without having to, citing “political differences” as the reason.
A killer who voluntarily reports a murder that no one witnessed to the police?
Who is to believe this?
They say there was video footage, but it was destroyed.
To the Poder360 outlet, the responsible delegate explained that a witness, supposedly the murderer’s friend, said in a statement that he watched the video on his cell phone before the content was deleted.
Let this sink in.
The “friend” betrays the murderer to corroborate the latter’s confession, so that the police really believe the perpetrator that he slaughtered the Lulista.
Now, the police will make a judicial request to access the device with the alleged deleted footage.
The story created a news cycle at just the right time.
It took less than 12 hours, and all fingers pointed at Bolsonaro. His fault.
“The family of the slain Lulista is a victim of the genocidal Bolsonaro,” Lula da Silva charged.
The campaign of Ciro Gomes, another presidential candidate, suddenly announced that another Bolsonarist, also armed, had tried to attack him.
It is easy to see where this is going; we will soon know if people will take the bait.
Is Lula da Silva guilty when a Lulista commits a crime, or Cristina Kirchner when a Kirchnerist derails?
(Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians chanted the ‘Our Father’ prayer at the celebration with Bolsonaro)
So why should Bolsonaro be responsible when a Bolsonarista goes crazy?
The opposition is playing with fire.
They are stirring up political aggression and further antagonizing the political camps.
And what about Bolsonaro?
What everyone could see and experience on September 7, the 200th anniversary of independence, was this:
Brasilia, Rio, and other capitals have not seen a crowd as large as the one that paid tribute to Bolsonaro on September 7 in a long time.
Some say it was the largest gathering of people ever seen in Brazil.
People came for the celebration, but they also came to stand with Bolsonaro.
Just as the establishment detests the man, he is loved and celebrated by the people.
Do people love and celebrate tyrants and dictators? Or do they celebrate men with whom they can identify?
Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians chanted the ‘Our Father’ prayer at the celebration with Bolsonaro because that is what Bolsonarism is all about.
God, Patria, and Family.
What gets completely lost in all the name-calling is that the current president is a religious man.
Praying is second nature to him, and he asks God for strength daily.
This is one of the reasons why many of Brazil’s rapidly growing evangelical churches are siding with the current president.
They see in him the humility that they themselves preach and practice.
And anyone who has seen the allegiance of evangelicals knows that if Bolsonaro’s movement were really composed mainly of right-wing extremists, thugs, freaks, murderers, violent neo-Nazis, and the like, as the opposition suggests and in fact orchestrates, that religious group would immediately turn away from the president.
Like it or not, Bolsonaro has created a following unlike any other in the world.
And whoever wins the October elections, Bolsonarism is here to stay.
No one who saw the Sept. 7 crowd with their own eyes can doubt that.
The Brazilian establishment and the left must learn to deal with this reality. Bolsonarism is the only real grassroots movement that exists in Brazil today.
And it gets stronger every day.
Wanting to suppress or ignoring it can only lead to one thing: Chaos.
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