-By James Kettle and Eden Chua
In what was coined the “most important election in the history of Brazil” by James N Green, the director of Brown University’s Brazil Initiative, 55.2% of Brazilians voted far-right populist leader Jair Bolsonaro for President, paving the way for him to assume office on 1 January 2019.
Bolsonaro appears to be a worrying choice for President, having praised dictatorship, called refugees “the scum of the Earth”, and called women “tramps”. Indeed, his views, not unlike that of Trump’s, threaten to bring Brazil’s democracy one step back. Not surprisingly, some of the people who voted for him felt that there was a need for an outsider to step into the establishment to tackle crime and “rough it up”, vocabulary that was similarly used to justify Trump’s rise to power.
It is worrying indeed that in a democracy, voters have used their voting power to vote for a President, who, by all objective projections, appears to be set to undo the cornerstones of democracy.
On April 8, the Hungarian parliamentary elections took place, with a significant win for Prime Minister Victor Orban’s right-wing coalition. The win was particularly significant because it signalled the widespread approval and support of the people for an ultra-nationalistic, anti-immigration party, especially in the face of a record turnout of 70.2% of voters, the highest since the 2002 elections. Moreover, with Orban’s victory, he was given the opportunity to continue with his gerrymandering tactics, and hence expand his grip over the state, the judiciary, and the press.
Beyond just the national level, the victory of Orban’s party also has larger implications for the European Union, by further spreading the illiberal, xenophobic contagion that has gripped the EU in recent years pertaining to the migration crisis.
The US midterms elections are taking place on Nov 6, and expected turnout is poised to be high. As the country stands more divided and polarized both parties are rallying supporters to get out and vote. Through this we have seen accusations of voter suppression in Republican states, the Army deployed on the southern border to intercept the encroaching migrant caravan and countless speeches from pundits on both sides. In addition rallies and incentives to get younger people to vote have been increasing dramatically before this election as people aged 18-24 vote the least in respect to every other demographic. There is an incredible amount of energy on both sides. Republics are emboldened by the successful conservative takeover of the supreme court. Democrats are looking at these elections as an opportunity to stop Donald Trump.
The results of this election is hugely important, as the midterms are a report card for the president. If republicans can retain the house and senate, then Donald Trump will effectively have free rein to do as he pleases because the Republican party has seemingly stopped trying to restrict his actions. If democrats gain the House or Senate, then they can stop Donald Trump’s agenda and have a better more effective foothold in the the 2020 presidential elections. Americans have a choice, and how they choose will not only affect their country, but the entire world.
The deadline for Brexit is approaching, and neither the UK government or the EU can find a solution to the multitudes of problems that are arising because of the Exit, from borders, trade, and people. As Britain stands alone against the entire continent of Europe with a Prime Minister that is completely innepted to find any actions Britons are facing the consequences of a vote that took place over two years ago. The flash point of the negotiations are in Ireland. Where the lack of real borders have quelled religious and ethnic tensions and the reinstatement of a hard border will surely be followed by a wave of sectarian violence from both Irish Nationalists and Northern Irish protestant groups.
Many British people are calling for a new vote, having seen the confusion and diplomatic nightmare that brexit has caused. However the chances for a revote are incredibly low, and more likely than not the British people will have to continue their country leave one of the largest economic union the world has ever seen. Only time will tell if they will come out in one piece.