Brazil President Bolsonaro holds out threat of not accepting electoral verdict. Populists are often scared by popular will – The Indian Express

It’s easy to forget, given its current ubiquity, what a curious anomaly modern representative democracy really is. Throughout much of human civilisation, the idea that a group that holds office will voluntarily give up their power — on a principle as capricious as one person-one vote — had little currency. After all, it was only after World War I that many of the West’s so-called liberal democracies granted the franchise to women. The widespread success and acceptance of democratic politics, then, is indeed commendable. And the unfortunate attempts in many parts of the world to undermine the system are disturbing.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro — like Donald Trump, who he seems to have styled himself after – has been described as a “strongman”. This “strength” has been manifested in statements against vulnerable groups and minorities, LGBTQ persons, Cøvid-denial and a general lack of respect for institutions. Now, as the election season in the country heats up, Bolsonaro is following a similar script to populists elsewhere, notably Trump: He is gearing up to deny a popular mandate. The president has recently repeatedly questioned Brazil’s election officials and voting machines and said that he will not accept the electoral outcome. Hinting at support from the armed forces, he has told people to “prepare for war” in case the verdict is, in his reckoning, suspect.
“Strongmen”, too often, are too feeble to take on challenges to their power. State power is used to target opponents, and when they do not succumb, they are demonised in the name of popular will. The final irony is when even the popular will —expressed through an election — ceases to be popular enough. Hopefully, Bolsonaro’s grandstanding, while exposing the strongman’s weakness, will not taint Brazil’s politics, come election day.
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