Luis Augusto fits the picture that political scientist Guilherme Casares paints for Bolsonaro’s followers. He spent years searching for Bolsonaro and his supporters. “They are mostly white, and slightly older than middle-class men.”
“We’ve had a left-wing government for 13 years and Bolsonaro describes himself as an anti-left,” Casares said. “He also introduced a new element into Brazilian politics: faith. This president is religiously nationalist and attracts a lot of people. But Bolsonaro is also fundamentally anti-establishment, and he says he fights corruption in Brazilian politics.”
Bolsonaro was a victim
This struggle against the established order strikes a chord with many “bolsonarists”. “Our president is fighting the system,” explains Luis Augusto. “The regime is constantly attacking him because they want to get rid of him.”
“Bolsonaro has done quite well in positioning himself as the victim,” says political scientist Casares. “He is a victim of the system, the press, the conservatives, the Supreme Court. On social media, he constantly complains that he is being frustrated and this is a popular and effective way to maintain support.” Casares compares Bolsonaro to a cult leader: “He is flawless, Bolsonaro makes no mistakes. If you criticize, you put yourself out of the movement,” said the political scientist.
Luis Augusto must smile a little. “Of course the president is a victim. They are trying to discredit him from all sides. They are portraying Bolsonaro as an incapable president so that he does not have a chance in the elections next year.”
Louise Augusto doesn’t think this will work. “We have a president for whom people are taking to the streets, while no other candidate can rally the people. The street is ours.”
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