Bolsonaro: The Brazilians go all in for winning

They did it.  Brazil went and pulled the trigger: its voters elected conservative Jair Messias Bolsonaro, colloquially known as Tropical Trump for his open admiration of President Trump and his comparable agenda.

The margin was huge: 55-44 over his socialist rival.

The press, of course, is aghast.  These journalists are all using headlines with terms like "far-right" and "fascist" to describe him, something they never did when real fascists and far leftists, such as Hugo Chávez, got elected.  Yes, Bolsonaro talks out of turn – you can see a collection of politically correct and sometimes just bad things he's said, all of which has driven the left to clutch its pearls, with all the craziest stuff said two decades ago.  Meanwhile, the Brazilian Deep State and the rabid left are planning protests and riots.  They aren't going to take this any better than U.S. Democrats did.  One of them already stabbed the man and nearly killed him, for starters, and they aren't going to get better.  On the lower level of the attack front, people have been run out of restaurants.  Sound like any place you know?

There's a symmetry in this, a reason it had to happen, and that's worth looking at for perspective on how it can be used here.

What makes Brazil similar to the U.S.?  Well it's a giant country, and it's somewhat separated from its neighbors by both its language and its vast and impenetrable Amazon jungle.  It's also got a big racial mix.  It's definitely got exceptionalism, because it is different.  Big.  Racially diverse.  Separate.  Most Latin American states can't say that.  But Brazil can, and that gives it some things in common with the U.S.

It's also got a rich coastal elite, a giant welfare class, and a hinterland of taxpayers whose interests nobody cares about.  Sound like the deplorables?  You bet.

Then it's had a long stretch of left-wingery.  President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who indeed was a far leftist affiliated with what's known as the São Paulo Forum of Castroite (kid you not) and Chavista leftists, got elected in 2002 and, like President Obama, was the King of Cool.  By no small coincidence, President Obama was a big-time admirer of the man, who came off as so reasonable and hip in Oliver Stone's documentary about Latin leftist leaders, South of the Border.  Like Obama, Lula proceeded to do what all socialists do: spend the country into the ground, expand the dependency class, expand the bureaucrat class, hike taxes and fees such as bus fares, and introduce unpopular social engineering.  What's more, street criminals were coddled as poor underprivileged pitifuls, not the thugs preying on the public that they really were.  Vast government cash rolled their way.  As if that wasn't bad enough, then the lefties did the other things socialists do, which is engage in Our Thang corruption, in what became a series of giant scandals of insider pocket-lining, from corruption at the state oil company to the collection of congressional corruptions known as "the car wash."  Socialist insiders in, the rest of the public out.  Lula ended up in jail for it, and his successor ended up thrown out, but the soggy conservative who replaced them was implicated in congressional money scandals, too, suggesting a swamp where payoffs and revolving doors were out of control.  Like our swamp.

Then, with the fall of oil prices, the same thing happened to Brazil as happened to Venezuela: the money ran out.  Brazilians were left with nothing: a truly atrocious economy and some international humiliation with the Olympics, too.  If the message wasn't clear enough about the impact of a long stretch of heavy hipster socialism and a fawning media, well, the thousands of refugees from socialism pouring in from Venezuela to Brazil's northern states pretty well gave the reminder.

Any questions as to why they wanted a Trump?  Their beautiful country needed a hosing out so badly that there was no other alternative.  Taking a flying leap with this guy seemed like the only way to get any change at all.

Bolsonaro did make some sexist remarks, but according to Foreign Affairs, huge numbers of women went for him anyway.  The Salena Zito dynamic of "seriously but not literally" seemed to be operative in that country, too.  I knew right away without opening the story as to why they did: violent crime, because violent crime affects women more than anyone.  I used to be such a victim myself in San Francisco's crappier zones in the 1990s, repeatedly getting assaulted and robbed and watching the illegals and people who needed involuntary institutionalization get away with it as the police stood by mouthing platitudes.  It was absolutely transformative.  I know what they know.  When there's one set of laws for one group of people and another for the women, you could not care less about stupid remarks about using money, sex, and who's attractive.  You go with the guy who promises the guns, which is what Bolsonaro has done.

This is unheard of, given the pervasiveness of pacifism from the left in the face of criminals.

Bolsonaro is also on record as expressing admiration for the generals who ruled Brazil in the 1970s, back when the country faced a scourge of left-wing terrorism far more serious than ours.  It was a nation of One, Two, Many Ayerses, and one of them, Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, profited handsomely for it, taking up politics as a guerrilla bookkeeper and then becoming Brazil's president.  Who says crime doesn't pay?

But along with the generals, and Bolsonaro's admiration for them, similar to Trump's, there's one significant beauty spot embedded in that stance: Bolsonaro, like the Chilean military ruler he also admires, Augusto Pinochet, has admitted he knows nothing about economics.  He's done what Pinochet did, which was hand the economics over to the free-market Chicago Boys, who turned that country from a socialist pit even worse than Brazil into a first-world paradise.  Trump has embraced the free market, too, but not with the guts it takes for Bolsonaro to do it, because free-market ideas are accepted more widely in this country.

Pinochet is the dirtiest word in all Latin America, a guy whom it's absolutely taboo to bring up and talk about seriously, owing to the influence of Castroite propaganda on the continent.  But Bolsonaro has noticed the reality: that Pinochet's military government's human rights violations against leftist Ayers types and others pale in comparison to his economic legacy, which is stellar.  The left has long dishonestly used the former to discredit the latter, which is why Latin America has been so pathetic about embracing free markets.  Bolsonaro has broken that cycle and appears hell-bent on embracing free markets again, same as Pinochet did (and Trump did, breaking the weak GOP record after Reagan).  If he does what the Chicago Boys did in Chile, he will have some seriously impressive results.

To be fair, it's not going to be easy to clean up after the socialist mess.  Argentina, despite electing conservative Mauricio Macri president, is sinking under the cleanup effort because the previous socialism was so bad.  If you read the memoirs of the Chicago Boys, such as those of José Piñera and Hernán Büchi, you will learn that those geniuses who transformed Chile had an absolute hell of a time cleaning up after the socialist morass they started with, too.  Brazil has gargantuan debt and is going to have to privatize many resources just to dig out.  There are going to be ups and downs.

But if Bolsonaro is as serious as he appears, and has no intention of turning into a failed populist such as Duterte of the Philippines, he'll keep this course, because it's what really gets results.  It's helpful that Brazil does have a serious free-market scene with some impressive Milton Friedman-like economists, such as guided President Reagan.  Results are what did it for Trump, enabling the public to rally to him in the aftermath of his outsider election after such a thick curtain of press, state, and political opposition.  That's what allows an outsider to thrive, and Trump provides a recent example of how it's really done.  It's also helpful that the left is still denying the bad results of its policies or denying that there's any such problem, yawning at complaints about crime and debt, and trying to blame the other guy.  Denying a problem is only going to make the public tune out and stay open-minded on hard choices.

Brazil badly needed an outsider. It's a great thing that the outsider they embraced is a guy who looks to Trump's record of success.  It's a big smile-inducer to read that President Trump has heartily congratulated Bolsonaro, too.  Let's hope the U.S. under Trump is as supportive as possible for Brazil's effort to dig out from under its socialist ruin and transform itself into the nation its geography says it ought to be: a nation addicted to "winning."

They did it.  Brazil went and pulled the trigger: its voters elected conservative Jair Messias Bolsonaro, colloquially known as Tropical Trump for his open admiration of President Trump and his comparable agenda.

The margin was huge: 55-44 over his socialist rival.

The press, of course, is aghast.  These journalists are all using headlines with terms like "far-right" and "fascist" to describe him, something they never did when real fascists and far leftists, such as Hugo Chávez, got elected.  Yes, Bolsonaro talks out of turn – you can see a collection of politically correct and sometimes just bad things he's said, all of which has driven the left to clutch its pearls, with all the craziest stuff said two decades ago.  Meanwhile, the Brazilian Deep State and the rabid left are planning protests and riots.  They aren't going to take this any better than U.S. Democrats did.  One of them already stabbed the man and nearly killed him, for starters, and they aren't going to get better.  On the lower level of the attack front, people have been run out of restaurants.  Sound like any place you know?

There's a symmetry in this, a reason it had to happen, and that's worth looking at for perspective on how it can be used here.

What makes Brazil similar to the U.S.?  Well it's a giant country, and it's somewhat separated from its neighbors by both its language and its vast and impenetrable Amazon jungle.  It's also got a big racial mix.  It's definitely got exceptionalism, because it is different.  Big.  Racially diverse.  Separate.  Most Latin American states can't say that.  But Brazil can, and that gives it some things in common with the U.S.

It's also got a rich coastal elite, a giant welfare class, and a hinterland of taxpayers whose interests nobody cares about.  Sound like the deplorables?  You bet.

Then it's had a long stretch of left-wingery.  President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who indeed was a far leftist affiliated with what's known as the São Paulo Forum of Castroite (kid you not) and Chavista leftists, got elected in 2002 and, like President Obama, was the King of Cool.  By no small coincidence, President Obama was a big-time admirer of the man, who came off as so reasonable and hip in Oliver Stone's documentary about Latin leftist leaders, South of the Border.  Like Obama, Lula proceeded to do what all socialists do: spend the country into the ground, expand the dependency class, expand the bureaucrat class, hike taxes and fees such as bus fares, and introduce unpopular social engineering.  What's more, street criminals were coddled as poor underprivileged pitifuls, not the thugs preying on the public that they really were.  Vast government cash rolled their way.  As if that wasn't bad enough, then the lefties did the other things socialists do, which is engage in Our Thang corruption, in what became a series of giant scandals of insider pocket-lining, from corruption at the state oil company to the collection of congressional corruptions known as "the car wash."  Socialist insiders in, the rest of the public out.  Lula ended up in jail for it, and his successor ended up thrown out, but the soggy conservative who replaced them was implicated in congressional money scandals, too, suggesting a swamp where payoffs and revolving doors were out of control.  Like our swamp.

Then, with the fall of oil prices, the same thing happened to Brazil as happened to Venezuela: the money ran out.  Brazilians were left with nothing: a truly atrocious economy and some international humiliation with the Olympics, too.  If the message wasn't clear enough about the impact of a long stretch of heavy hipster socialism and a fawning media, well, the thousands of refugees from socialism pouring in from Venezuela to Brazil's northern states pretty well gave the reminder.

Any questions as to why they wanted a Trump?  Their beautiful country needed a hosing out so badly that there was no other alternative.  Taking a flying leap with this guy seemed like the only way to get any change at all.

Bolsonaro did make some sexist remarks, but according to Foreign Affairs, huge numbers of women went for him anyway.  The Salena Zito dynamic of "seriously but not literally" seemed to be operative in that country, too.  I knew right away without opening the story as to why they did: violent crime, because violent crime affects women more than anyone.  I used to be such a victim myself in San Francisco's crappier zones in the 1990s, repeatedly getting assaulted and robbed and watching the illegals and people who needed involuntary institutionalization get away with it as the police stood by mouthing platitudes.  It was absolutely transformative.  I know what they know.  When there's one set of laws for one group of people and another for the women, you could not care less about stupid remarks about using money, sex, and who's attractive.  You go with the guy who promises the guns, which is what Bolsonaro has done.

This is unheard of, given the pervasiveness of pacifism from the left in the face of criminals.

Bolsonaro is also on record as expressing admiration for the generals who ruled Brazil in the 1970s, back when the country faced a scourge of left-wing terrorism far more serious than ours.  It was a nation of One, Two, Many Ayerses, and one of them, Lula's successor, Dilma Rousseff, profited handsomely for it, taking up politics as a guerrilla bookkeeper and then becoming Brazil's president.  Who says crime doesn't pay?

But along with the generals, and Bolsonaro's admiration for them, similar to Trump's, there's one significant beauty spot embedded in that stance: Bolsonaro, like the Chilean military ruler he also admires, Augusto Pinochet, has admitted he knows nothing about economics.  He's done what Pinochet did, which was hand the economics over to the free-market Chicago Boys, who turned that country from a socialist pit even worse than Brazil into a first-world paradise.  Trump has embraced the free market, too, but not with the guts it takes for Bolsonaro to do it, because free-market ideas are accepted more widely in this country.

Pinochet is the dirtiest word in all Latin America, a guy whom it's absolutely taboo to bring up and talk about seriously, owing to the influence of Castroite propaganda on the continent.  But Bolsonaro has noticed the reality: that Pinochet's military government's human rights violations against leftist Ayers types and others pale in comparison to his economic legacy, which is stellar.  The left has long dishonestly used the former to discredit the latter, which is why Latin America has been so pathetic about embracing free markets.  Bolsonaro has broken that cycle and appears hell-bent on embracing free markets again, same as Pinochet did (and Trump did, breaking the weak GOP record after Reagan).  If he does what the Chicago Boys did in Chile, he will have some seriously impressive results.

To be fair, it's not going to be easy to clean up after the socialist mess.  Argentina, despite electing conservative Mauricio Macri president, is sinking under the cleanup effort because the previous socialism was so bad.  If you read the memoirs of the Chicago Boys, such as those of José Piñera and Hernán Büchi, you will learn that those geniuses who transformed Chile had an absolute hell of a time cleaning up after the socialist morass they started with, too.  Brazil has gargantuan debt and is going to have to privatize many resources just to dig out.  There are going to be ups and downs.

But if Bolsonaro is as serious as he appears, and has no intention of turning into a failed populist such as Duterte of the Philippines, he'll keep this course, because it's what really gets results.  It's helpful that Brazil does have a serious free-market scene with some impressive Milton Friedman-like economists, such as guided President Reagan.  Results are what did it for Trump, enabling the public to rally to him in the aftermath of his outsider election after such a thick curtain of press, state, and political opposition.  That's what allows an outsider to thrive, and Trump provides a recent example of how it's really done.  It's also helpful that the left is still denying the bad results of its policies or denying that there's any such problem, yawning at complaints about crime and debt, and trying to blame the other guy.  Denying a problem is only going to make the public tune out and stay open-minded on hard choices.

Brazil badly needed an outsider. It's a great thing that the outsider they embraced is a guy who looks to Trump's record of success.  It's a big smile-inducer to read that President Trump has heartily congratulated Bolsonaro, too.  Let's hope the U.S. under Trump is as supportive as possible for Brazil's effort to dig out from under its socialist ruin and transform itself into the nation its geography says it ought to be: a nation addicted to "winning."