Here's what Jair Bolsonaro, Trump, and Putin have in common

The first line of Jon Lee Anderson's long-awaited profile of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro in the New Yorker is a real killer. "The authoritarian leaders taking power around the world share a vocabulary of intolerance, insult, and menace…"

As Anderson writes, in Bolsonaro's Brazil–and around the world–"A budding authoritarian borrows from the Trump playbook."


Like many autocrats, Bolsonaro came to power with a suddenness that alarmed the élites. He had run a low-budget campaign, consisting mostly of a social-media effort overseen by his son Carlos. At events with supporters, he posed for selfies making a gesture as if he were shooting a machine gun. He promised to "reconstruct the country"—and to return power to a political right that had been in eclipse for decades. In the inaugural ceremony, he vowed to "rescue the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat gender ideology, conserving our values."

Afterward, Bolsonaro received a procession of foreign dignitaries, and as they stepped up to pay their respects the crowd greeted them with cheers or boos. The Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán got perfunctory applause; the bolsonaristas seemed not to know who he was. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is fending off charges of fraud and bribery, got a riotous cheer. Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, the only left-wing leader to attend, was subjected to shouts of "Get out, communist," and "índio de merda"—"fucking Indian."

Despite Bolsonaro's divisive rhetoric, American conservatives were enthusiastic about his Presidency. He had expressed leeriness of China and hostility toward socialists in Cuba and Venezuela; he promised to move Brazil's Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Donald Trump didn't attend the inauguration, but he tweeted his solidarity: "The USA is with you!" Bolsonaro, who sees in Trump a kindred spirit and an opportunity, tweeted back, "Together, under God's protection, we shall bring prosperity and progress to our people!"

I don't want to give it away, but the last line will make your blood run cold if you're hoping for someone other than Trump in 2020.

Jair Bolsonaro's Southern Strategy []