Brazil’s Lula and Bolsonaro are about to face off again. What you need to know
The first time Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva collided, it was in 2007. They didn’t know each other’s names at the time, but Bolsonaro was on the cusp of a new political movement and da Silva was on the cusp of political redemption.
The second time the two men are going head-to-head, they will have lived through the two other seismic shifts in Brazil
Brazilian politics is a strange country by normal standards: The two dominant parties, the leftist Workers’ Party and the right-wing Brazilian Social Democracy Party, are divided not only along ideological lines, but also on a spectrum of political values. The left party — which has dominated Brazil for more than three decades — is at war with everything that it once believed in and is in favor of everything that it once opposed. The right, meanwhile, has been on fire for a decade and a half, but is starting to cool after a quarter century of dominance.
But this is the first time the two competing ideological forces have ever met in a countrywide election for president. It’s a sign of where Brazil is heading, as the ideological split between the two parties deepens and both parties increasingly look like the country’s last hope for a stable, democratic government.
Bolsonaro’s campaign is centered on the idea that the country is on the brink of collapse and he wants to take the reins of government and save the country from what he calls a national calamity. He has painted himself as an outlier on issues like immigration and climate change, and has frequently attacked the Democratic Party as the “Bolivarian Revolution’s favorite son.”
And as Bolsonaro’s candidacy opens up, so too does a battle for the country’s soul, one that pits the left against the right and represents a starkly different style of politics than Brazil has seen since the end of the military dictatorship in the mid-‘70s.