In Brazil, Eccentricity at the Ballot Box Is the Norm – NYTimes.com

Brazil’s vibrant democracy is wide open for any candidate, including Wolverine, various clowns, Batman, and even “Obama BH”:

Jimmi Carter Santarém Barroso is running in Amazonas State; John Kennedy Abreu Sousa is running in Maranhão, in Brazil’s northeast; and Chiang Kai Xeque Braga Barroso — whose first name evokes Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese rival in the mid-20th century to Mao Zedong — is seeking to be elected in Tocantins State.

via In Brazil, Eccentricity at the Ballot Box Is the Norm – NYTimes.com.

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10 thoughts on “In Brazil, Eccentricity at the Ballot Box Is the Norm – NYTimes.com

  1. asaclem says:

    As political strategies run rampant and top aids in both the Obama camp and on the Romney campaign offer up ideas on how to keep their respective candidates relevant in the ever changing area that is American politics, no one has yet to put forward a nick name for Mitt or Barack. However, maybe its time to take a chapter out of the Brazilian politics manual and do just that. Mitt Romney could be Mighty Miracle Mitt, an allusion to his promise to turn around the economy. Barack Obama could be Barack “I got Osama” Obama, just to make sure we remember on election day.
    Personally I think it worth a shot.

  2. marianorfila says:

    I think that elections needed to be taken more seriously in Brasil. The increase of weird candidates create an idea that elections is just a big joke. People vote not necessarily for the ideas and the work of the candidate, but because of how funny or how entertaining the candidates can be. Some candidates use such funny thing to grab the public attention like in the case of Tiririca or Francisco Oliveira Silva (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11465127). He used this TV image to get the attention that he needed to win the elections. I am not saying that the candidates are bad and that they don’t have good ideas. Is the population is voting for the wrong reasons.

    • logankeicher says:

      There is a certain amount of this that happens everywhere though, in varying degrees, all over the world. For example, people didnt vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger because of his political platform or ideas, it was his name and recognition that got him in. (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/27970.html) President Bush gained much respect and votes simply because of his family name as well. While we don’t have any Spiderman’s or Batman’s running for president, I think it would be hypocritical to say that a politicians name has no effect on his political prowess here in America.

      • carlosalett says:

        To take Logan’s point a step further, incumbent politicians are able to ride their “ideological wave” while in office and do things that, if they had proposed while campaigning, their own party might have opposed. Obama’s actions have hardly upheld the populist mask under which he campaigned, but the fact that that was his election time policy means that many of his supporters still view him as a populist fighting for the rights of the people and ideologically opposed to the Bush time mentality.
        The truth is that Obama has exploited the loss of civil liberty under the Bush administration and even extended it (here’s just one example http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/we_won_–_for_now_20120917/)
        The point I’m trying to get across is that US politicians may not campaign as “Wolverine” but they certainly have their masks which they forge during election time, and then electorate perceives them that way for the rest of their time in office, even if their actions are far removed from that image.

        I also found the review by the Political Compass helpful, even though it offered no proof for its arguments http://politicalcompass.org/uselection2012

  3. Hannah Barton says:

    Honestly, on reading thHonestly, on reading this article, I can’t help but laugh at the gimmicks that are being adopted in Brazil. It’s funny, but at the same time it’s not, because we see a destruction of the honorous tradition of election in democracy, and these farcical marketing strategies seem to insult the it. However, I can’t fault it without faulting out own election practices that are becoming norm. Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney may not campaign under superhero names, but they do use the jokes of David Letterman and other talk show hosts to put forward, their campaign. Or they emphasize personal traits that simply do not matter in presidents. So if their election practices are ridiculous, maybe so are ours (I mean just look at the amount of money being spent!)

    • mitchmender says:

      I read the article in a different way… I served my mission in Brazil and saw how the people feel very wronged by their political leaders. They have been lied to, robbed, and abused. I felt that the idea of having batman or “jimmy carter” running for president did to things for the people one it gives them hope for a better future and two it gives a little joy to what can be a rather depressing time of the year. In order for the the people of brazil to take their elections more seriously they need to see that politics isnt a joke but that good can come from it and that corruption can be ended. also it is important to note that voting is compulsory in Brazil and this has a huge impact on the way Brazilians view election day as a burden and not a privilege. here is an article that talks about this corruption http://infosurhoy.com/cocoon/saii/xhtml/en_GB/features/saii/features/main/2010/10/01/feature-01

      • katiaroque says:

        This video in the BBC news website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19700072 talks about the large number of political candidates running for a small number of seats in the city council. This to me represents the common knowledge of how government careers in Brazil are one of the best and most laid back jobs in the country. My husband spent 6 months visiting and interviewing political representatives in Brasilia and was appalled at how little they worked, how much they earned, how many benefits they had, and most shocking, how little education they had. We have so many bright professionals in the country. I wonder why they do not get involved in politics. As a Brazilian, I feel ashamed when I read news of this sort, but at the same time, I feel a personal responsibility to do something about it.

  4. bmedwards9 says:

    I find this article really funny personally. I served my mission in Brasilia which is the capital and the center of politics. I was serving when Dilma was elected as president. Although I do not recall any funny names, I remember seeing multiple ads in our mailbox for hundreds of different people. They all claimed to have the support of the governor running or Dilma or any other important person in the area. On election day, it looked like it had snowed outside because there were all these tiny papers everywhere saying vote for this person or that person. Elections in Brazil are important but really are as crazy as this article puts it.
    Here is an article stating the election in 2010 between Dilma and Jose, both using only their first names. http://www.opendemocracy.net/arthur-ituassu/brazil%E2%80%99s-big-election-dilma-vs-jos%C3%A9

  5. Dylan Bates says:

    This is quite surprising. While the names of their politicians is hilarious, It also reflects a whimsical political atmosphere. I wonder if politics are taken seriously in Brazil? I was encouraged by the end of the article where it comments that it seems that funny names don’t affect how likely a candidate is to be elected. I would hope that Brazilians consider the people they are electing on a deeper level than their names.
    In looking for articles on politics in Brazil to see just how seriously they take their government, I ran across a lot of articles about corruption. It seems that Brazil has a big problem with that. I found an article that gives hope that Brazilians do hold their government accountable for more than just their names. It seems they are also trying to monitor the money that passes through it as well. It is very interesting.
    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/cities/can-open-data-prevent-public-corruption-in-brazil/5205

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