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What if Bolsonaro really tries to stage a coup?

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Much has been said about the threats Jair Bolsonaro poses to Brazilian democracy and the risks around the 2022 election. When talking about the possibility of the far-right president trying to overturn the election and stage a coup, discussions usually center around how he might do it.

This week, however, we want to have a different discussion. If he really pulls that trigger — no matter how he does it — then what? Who’s going to stop him? And how?

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  • Filipe Campante is an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. His research by him looks at what constrains politicians and policymakers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, and political protest.

This episode used music from Uppbeat. License codes: HLV454OEALKQ0QVC, JAWBPNFRZHIXEMLU.


You can watch the conversation between Gustavo and Filipe on YouTube:

Background reading:

  • We have launched a special 2022 election report with everything you need to know about the races for Congress, governorships, and, of course, the presidency. Buy it here! Use the Explaining2022 promo code for a 20-percent discount.
  • Here’s our take on the first presidential debate of 2022.
  • Lula has built a broad front for himself, counting on the support of eight former presidential candidates — from the far-left to the pro-market right. And he wants voters to engage in “tactical voting,” that is, choosing him even if only to unseat Jair Bolsonaro.
  • The polls suggest that strategy may be paying off. According to one renowned institute, Lula is three percentage points ahead of his adversaries — combined.
  • During the weekend, Mr. Bolsonaro renewed his attacks on the credibility of Brazil’s voting system. He said the only possible outcome of the election would be him winning in a first-round landslide. Any other outcome would mean that “something abnormal” happened with the vote count.
  • In July, Mr. Bolsonaro met with foreign diplomats and threatened to stage a coup.

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