I am not a very big political activist. Anyone who knows me knows how I typically vote. And anyone who knows my demographic data: religion, income, residence location, social class, etc. can probably figure it out too. In the US, this is something we joke about, but every election always comes down to a few key swing states that can go to either party. States like Ohio and Florida decide the election every year, because states like Minnesota and Alabama never change.
Now enter Brazil, and your whole political stigma is thrown out the window. We discussed in our Political, Economic and Social Structure course that, on average, 40% of Brazilians change their party preference each election. That is an incredible number, but it may have something to do with the party system as well. There are apparently over 30 political parties in Brazil, meaning you rarely have an elected official with the majority of the vote anyway. And how do you learn about these candidates? Interestingly, Brazil has a mandatory 2-hour television program on every channel for every day of the month leading up to an election. This 2-hour block is dedicated solely to political campaigning, which is often created right up to the last minute as candidates poll uncertain voters. With so many candidates to choose from, and the forced marketing programming, it’s easy to understand why 40% are swayed each time.
What does this mean? Well, that’s tough to say, because so much of Sao Paulo’s culture is young and new. They are still figuring out what works, what doesn’t, and what systems will bring the best results. On the one hand, it is nice to have a forcefully informed decision between multiple candidates, but must be very hard to get any traction as a political candidate. Franken and Klobuchar would have their work cut out for them.