Omar G. Encarnación, Professor of Political Studies at Bard College.
The recent attack on the presidential palace in Brazil bears a seeming resemblance to the events of January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol. For Professor of Political Studies Omar G. Encarnación, however, the similarities are in appearances only. In The Nation
, he examines how Brazil’s democracy is better designed to withstand threats. “Even though political violence driven by conspiracy theories and mass delusion about a stolen election will forever unite the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations, Brazilian democracy fared better than American democracy under a president who was hell-bent on undermining the institutions and norms that he was elected to protect,” he writes. In Encarnación’s view, several factors contributed to this strength, including a reinforcement of the country’s judiciary to counter Bolsonaro’s impact, an electoral system recognized by voting experts as one of the safest in the world, and that Bolsonaro lacked institutional backing equivalent to what Trump received from the Republican party. “None of this means that Bolsonaro didn’t manage to inflict serious damage on Brazilian democracy,” he continues. “But the mere fact that Brazilian democratic institutions have withstood the Bolsonaro era is itself a cause for celebration.”