Brow Beat

John Oliver Begs Brazilians Not to Elect the “Brazilian Trump” to the Presidency

John Oliver wants the world to start paying attention to what is going on in Brazilian politics, noting there is a “very real chance” Latin America’s largest country will “elect a dangerous ideologue with potentially disastrous consequences.” As Oliver taped his Last Week Tonight segment Sunday, the returns for the Brazilian elections were coming in, showing that far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro won a clear plurality of the votes but just shy of the 50 percent he needed to win outright. That means he must now compete in a runoff on Oct. 28.

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Oliver began the segment by explaining that Brazilians are “pissed off right now.” And with good reason. The country has suffered the worst recession in its history, crime is out of control, and a huge corruption scandal has engulfed much of the country’s leadership. People are “understandably disillusioned,” Oliver said.

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That disillusionment has suddenly made Bolsonaro, a political outsider who has “become known there as the Brazilian Trump,” attractive to many voters. And that is alarming. “The nicest thing you can say for [Bolsonaro] is he has not been implicated in a corruption scandal—yet,” Oliver said. “Unfortunately, that’s literally the only nice I can find to say about him because he’s a terrible human being.”

Oliver went on to note some of the horrific views held by Bolsonaro, who has called refugees arriving in Brazil as “the scum of the world,” wants to make it easier for citizens to buy guns, and also favors “psychotically strong law enforcement.” Oliver also highlighted some of Bolsonaro’s greatest misogynist and homophobic hits, such as when he told a lawmaker “I would never rape you because you’re not worth it” or when he said in an interview that if a child is gay you can use the “whip and you change their behavior.”

Oliver ends the segment with a “glimmer of hope,” noting the #EleNāo (#NotHim) campaign that has emerged to oppose Bolsonaro. “Brazil, please, look I realize you’re disgusted with your politics at the moment and you’re not inspired by any of the alternatives but anything is better than Bolsonaro,” Oliver said. “You still have a chance to vote #EleNāo and not let this man fingerbang your democracy.”

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