On October 2nd, Brazilians headed to the polls for the first round of national elections. At the top of the ticket were two very familiar names in Brazilian politics: incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro and former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known best simply as Lula.
These two men are starkly different kinds of politicians. Bolsonaro is very much a right wing populist, often compared in style to Donald Trump. Lula is former union leader who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and later served 580 days in prison before his conviction was annulled.
After the first round of presidential ballots were cast, Lula won 48.4% of the vote and Bolsonaro, 42.2%. Since no candidate won over 50%, the election will go to a run-off on October 30.
This election is deeply consequential for the future of democracy in Brazil and also carries important international implications, which we discuss with today’s guest, Matthew Taylor, professor of international studies at the School of International Service at American University.
We start off by discussing the first round results and electoral dynamics heading into the second round, before having a deeper conversation about what this election means for Brazil and the world.
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