On Sunday, Brazil's Bitter Presidential Race Comes to an End

By David Biller and Carla Bridi

"This is anybody’s race, with Lula still the favorite but by a small margin," said AS/COA's Brian Winter to the Associated Press.

On Sunday, Brazilians choose between a future of conservative values under a far-right leader or the hope of returning to a prosperous past presided over by a leftist. In the fiercely polarized country, many are simply voting against the candidate they despise.

On the one hand, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva points to his track record improving Brazilians’ livelihoods while president from 2003 to 2010 and pledges to care for them again. Opposing da Silva is President Jair Bolsonaro, who appeals to religious conservatives and claims da Silva’s return to power would usher in communism, legalized drugs, and abortion.

For months, it appeared that da Silva was headed for an easy victory. Opinion polls can be highly unreliable predictors of election results, particularly in an enormous, sprawling nation like Brazil. But analysts and politicians agree that the race has grown tight. […]

“Lula’s campaign is about the past; that is its biggest strength and biggest weakness,” said Brian Winter, vice president for policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. “It is the memory of boom years of the 2000s that makes people want to vote for him. But his unwillingness or inability to articulate new ideas and bring in fresh faces has left him somewhat helpless as Bolsonaro closes the gap.”[…]

“This is anybody’s race, with Lula still the favorite, but by a small margin,” Winter said. “People are going to be hanging on for dear life on Sunday watching these results come in.”

Read the full article.