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Bolsonaro grows among evangelicals: the election may become a religious conflict

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Brasile | 0 comments

The long awaited Datafolha poll is out. One can see that nothing has changed in relation to the other polls that came out until last week. One could say that Bolsonaro has gone up a little since the last one by the same institute: he had a 19-point difference against Lula, and has now reached 15. But I think that Bolsonaro’s problem is not simply to grow or not to grow. The problem is that Lula doesn’t seem to be falling. And that, even though he is growing, his rejection is still very high, still the highest rejection of a presidential candidate among those who make it to the second round.

Everything points to a very difficult campaign. Some analysts are working with the hypothesis that there are still chances for Lula to win in the first round. Particularly, I believe that at this point a certain effect of the aid among the poorest should already be noticed. The President, so far, has only recovered the votes that he had lost – which is very little – and very slowly. Considering that, generally, the candidates in power, who have the “machine in hand”, as the common sense says, always carry a certain media and material advantage, the result is below expectations.

(foto: g1)

We can even put on the table the fact that the campaign on television, for the mandatory electoral hours, has not started. The President has one minute less than his main opponent: according to the information released by Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Lula will have 3 minutes and 39 seconds, and Jair Bolsonaro, 2 minutes and 38 seconds. We wonder how this time will be used. Will the President talk about communism? Gender ideology? Gay kits? If so, it will be the first time in television campaigns. I think that this speech will not be repeated on TV, considering that it fits a voter who already belongs to it. On the contrary, I believe that, disappointing some Bolsonarists, the President will try to make a new speech. But what it will be, I prefer not to risk.

This Monday, August 21, the interviews of the presidential candidates on Jornal Nacional also begin. A classic. By the draw, Bolsonaro will be the first. We know about the hostilities he has with Rede Globo, so it is difficult to comment on what we should expect. In fact, what all conscientious citizens really expect is that it will be a good interview, that he will comment on his government’s program, and that he will clarify his plans for the subject that most concerns Brazilians at the moment, that is, the economy. But, as we know, he is not used to doing this…

(foto: Brasil247)

It seems that Bolsonaro is growing even more among evangelicals. This could be his card up his sleeve. He and Michelle have free access to the platforms – I mean, altars – of the churches to campaign, since before the official date allowed by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). On the social networks, there are many pastors who echo messages in support of the President. Not by chance, Lula is also trying to advance in dialogues with representatives of these groups.

It is clear that Christianity has always been present in Brazil, and that its forms have been differentiated over time. The relationship between Church and State has been discussed at least since the Constitution of 1824. The phenomenon of Pentecostalism, however, a specific movement of Christianity, is relatively recent, since its arrival in Pará at the beginning of the 20th century. From the 1990s on, the evangelicals grew very fast in Brazil, a movement influenced by North American evangelicalism, and started to have a very direct relationship with politics, either by supporting candidates or even creating their own political parties. Evidently, as we are a secular State, religion is thrown into the private sphere. Or it should be.

(foto: Gospel

The election phenomenon of 2022, however, shows a differential. We have never had an election with a religious issue so present. In 2018 it appeared, a little more prominently, but it is not a parallel. Bolsonaro instrumentalizes this issue: he himself is not an evangelical and hides the political rivalry – which arises from theology, that is, both consider themselves to be representatives of the true religion and, therefore, of the true, or more correct, worldview – existing between Catholics and Protestants.

As Foucault would say, inverting Clausewitz’s logic, politics is war continued by other means. This election can become a religious conflict.

(foto copertina: Teknomers)


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