Last week, the son of Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro announced that Steve Bannon will be joining the campaign as an advisor. Bannon’s support will not be financial, but rather “in the form of giving internet tips, analysis, interpreting data, that type of stuff.”
Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist seen by many observers as ‘Brazil’s Trump’ or ‘Trump of the Tropics’ is a 63-year-old former army captain and seven-term congressman. His platform, while in many cases vague on specific policies, includes cracking down on the country’s notorious corruption, making gun ownership easier in response to the persistently sky-high violent crime rate, and some economic deregulation.
Despite running under a fringe party, many increasingly see a pathway to victory for Bolsonaro. He is in third place in the polls, after abstention (a common response to Brazil’s mandatory voting policy), and leftist ex-president Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who is in jail. In Brazil’s multi-party system, this does not necessarily translate to overwhelming popular support (Bolsonaro is at around 19%), but it may be enough to enable him to win if Lula is prevented from standing, as is likely.
Bannon, the former head of Breitbart and chief strategist for President Donald Trump, has been traveling throughout Europe in his mission to aid and unite nationalist and populist movements against corrupt establishments and the global elite. He has announced plans for a new foundation, headquartered in the EU capital of Brussels, called The Movement, which will aim to provide organization, resources, and electoral support to euroskeptic and populist politicians across the continent.
Bannon’s organization has already received a pledge of support from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), and Bannon himself is continuing to build close ties with British politicians including Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
In Brazil, Bannon has said that Bolsonaro’s task will be “more arduous” than Trump’s was in the US. However, it is clear that the populist revolt is becoming a worldwide independence movement, and the driven political strategist has a seat at the helm. In Bannon’s own words, it “is what will happen.”