It is rule of thumb that many conservatives who take over national leadership from failed liberals undergo a policy trial of fire before triumphing and winning a solid reelection.
Except Donald Trump. His policy and political victories seem to have started the day he took office. His trials, well, have been actual trials.
But Margaret Thatcher went through tough times and violent national labor strikes until good economic news and the Falklands War brought her landslide reelection in 1983.
Ronald Reagan went through his own economic crucible from 1981-1983 until a rising economy and a national security resurgence, typified by the successful Grenada operation, brought him his own massive win over a weak Democrat opposition in the 1984 presidential election.
Now, one of the two strongest conservative leaders in the Western hemisphere is in a similar situation. We know where Trump stands. But how about Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro?
Better than he was before.
Good numbers in a Wednesday CNT/MDA poll has the pugnacious president scoring well with Brazilians on fighting corruption, handling the economy, and stopping crime. 35% of his countrymen view his administration as great or good. That’s up from 30% in August. His detractors are at 31%, down from 39%.
His personal approval is at 48%, up from 41% in August. The other side sports 47%, down from 54%. The next presidential election is in 2022 and Bolsonaro leads his probable leftist opponent, a former president driven from office and jailed for corruption, by over ten points.
The Brazilian president’s main issue has been in comms. He just had to fire his cultural secretary for cribbing from Josef Goebbels, the Third Reich cultural minister, in a speech. But that’s mild compared to other missteps.
He once told a female political opponent, “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.” He later clarified, saying the female politician was “not worth raping; she is very ugly.”
On women in general, “I’ve got five kids but on the fifth I had a moment of weakness and it came out a woman.”
On those who betray national security, “I am in favor of torture, you know that. And the people are in favor of it as well.”
On gays, “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”
I could go on. But you get the drift. The man makes Donald Trump look like Joy Behar.
However, voters all over the world care more about crime and the economy than they do about boneheaded statements. Bolsonaro like Trump, warts and all, looks like a good bet for eventual reelection.