Florida Has Always Loved Fascists Like Bolsonaro
The ex-president's exile in Orlando is part of one of history's grimmest trends.
Well, here we go again. As the new year dawned, a bunch of supporters of a far-right, morbidly unhealthy ex-president who is currently in Florida stewing over an election that he refuses to admit he lost legitimately decided to storm the leading citadels of their country’s power in a wild attempt at…something or other. Sound like anything you know?
Yes, it’s hard not to draw a line between what happened in the U.S. two years ago on January 6 and what happened over the weekend in Brazil, where thousands of fanatical backers of former President Jair Bolsonaro descended on the capital, Brasilia, and proceeded to lay waste to the country’s top governmental institutions—including the presidential palace, the Congress, and the Supreme Court—in a seeming effort to topple current President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who ousted Bolsonaro in a very close election in October. (Bolsonaro is currently doing his favorite thing: lying in a hospital bed in Orlando.)
Unlike their counterparts on January 6, the Brasilia attackers waited until after Lula had taken office to go nuts. They also chose to make their move on a weekend, when virtually nobody, including Lula, was in the buildings they went after. These are somewhat strange choices to make if you are trying to have your little insurrection actually work, and this one, like the one on January 6, didn’t work. What it did do was remind Brazil, and the world, that fascists are still on the march, and that they still have a strong base of support.
But there is another, even deeper historical trend reasserting itself here. By installing himself in Orlando while his supporters run riot in Brazil, Bolsonaro is adding his name to a long line of fascists and tyrants who have fled their home countries and found a warm welcome in the U.S.—or, more specifically, in Florida. You could even call fascism one of the things Florida loves most.
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