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By SERGIO AMADEU DA SILVEIRA*

The only thing left for Jair M. Bolsonaro is the coup or misinformation.

On April 12, 2021, deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro wrote the following message on Twitter: “Lockdown it is the opposite of social distancing. At the lockdown people are condemned to be confined at home, increasing the proliferation of the virus”. The online applause from numerous followers, notoriously Bolsonarists, caught my attention. Undoubtedly, the content comes to be funny.

How could confinement increase the spread of the virus? How could this happen? Circulation containment measures adopted by numerous cities have effectively reduced contagion. In addition, the lockdown it is not opposed to social distancing, it is one of its applications. The phrase of the son of the President of the Republic, former candidate for ambassador in Washington, sounded like a child's game that makes absurd and antagonistic compositions.

This kind of crazy reasoning is not an outlier when we look at Bolsonarist leaders, starting with Jair Bolsonaro himself. Rationality and fact-based debate are not part of the universe of the new fascism. The bet of its greatest leaders is on the reaffirmation of catchphrases, catchphrases, in general, linked to the defense of retrograde, reactionary and violent values. Like the American alternative right, Bolsonarism worships the values ​​of religious fundamentalism centered on white supremacy, the strengthening of patriarchy, contempt for culture and education, hatred of homosexuality, the erratic simplification of social conflicts, contempt for environmental issues and the idea that violence purifies society.

Here we need to place our attention. Bolsonarism is weakened. Reality imposed itself and many people saw that hatred of the PT could not motivate such a disastrous choice for democracy and for the conduct of a society such as the one that resulted in the election of a neo-fascist like Bolsonaro. The vote given to a person who openly defended torture, the military coup, which attacked educators and scientists, led the country to become a paradise for the proliferation of the new coronavirus. With our tradition in Public Health, any other government would have been able to bet on mass vaccination and adequate measures to save lives that were neglected by the captain and his generals installed in the Planalto Palace, also called the “glass house”.

Currently, the more weakened, the more Bolsonaro depends on the so-called Centrão and his birds of prey, the more he hands over positions and funds to this group of deputies who make parliament a way of gaining private benefits. Such a situation reinforces Bolsonaro's bizarre ideas, a clearly unprepared politician who assumed the position of leader without ever being taken seriously during his long journey through the orange groves of Brasília. With members of his family accused of corruption and involvement with the militias, Bolsonaro knows he needs to remain in government, but his economic policy and, above all, his actions in the face of the pandemic, the conversion of denialism and the attack on the vaccine into a motto of the mobilization of his followers, has generated wear and tear that seems to result in a rejection that exceeds half of the electorate.

With the possibilities of re-election becoming smaller and smaller, Bolsonaro has only two alternatives. The first is to mobilize your hordes to support a coup that would necessarily have to be military. As much support as it has among the Military Police and among militia groups, I don't think it's feasible to form a coup force based on these armed groups. Bolsonaro was unable to pacify even the deputies he elected by the PSL, how could he organize a paramilitary force that was not organized by the Army? However, most generals do not seem to support the coup's exit. The Army was deeply worn out during the government of Jair Bolsonaro. I confess that I was astounded by the low level of many of the high-ranking officials that Bolsonaro exposed in his disastrous administration. Bolsonaro may even dream of an authoritarian exit, but it does not seem that he will be able to organize it without the support of the generals.

The second alternative is to apply the disinformation strategy as an all-out war. Before detailing this solution, it is important to rule out other possibilities. What does Bolsonaro have to present in an election campaign? A policy of economic growth? Technological development? An environmental policy to defend biodiversity? An exemplary health policy? Works considered indispensable to the regions? The increase in education levels and the number of students in universities? An international policy with great global and domestic repercussions? What can Bolsonaro lead to a presidential debate?

Bolsonaro's management has absolutely nothing positive to present in an electoral campaign based on facts. Therefore, the only thing left for its strategists is the appeal to reactionary values ​​and the fabrication of lies, slander, conspiratorial inventions, omissions of events and real facts, in short, the most complete disinformation. Bolsonaro has nothing positive to present. He will be able to tell bankers that he never failed to benefit them. What is truth. He will be able to speak to ruralists that he ended the environmentalist mi-mi-mi and let the herd pass by destroying environmental inspection and other obstacles to the expansion of pastures and the cutting down of forests. But he will always be able to speak strictly to these sectors. It doesn't look good to assume that he handed over the Amazon to the fury of loggers, miners and environmental devastators linked to the ox bench.

Bolsonaro will become more fundamentalist the closer he gets to the elections. To please the pastors, he will say that he protected churches and cults when mayors and governors wanted to close the temples. But, that won't be enough. A similar speech failed to save Crivela in Rio de Janeiro. Bolsonaro will have to create a parallel reality and annul historical facts to reduce his rejection and regroup the electorate that elected him. He will need to expand the pocket sphere that is articulated by Whatsapp, mainly by Whatsapp Business – an application increasingly used by small and large merchants and service providers, among them, the old man from Havan. Simultaneously, the click factories will involve thousands of contractors earning little, but earning something to operate various digital devices in defense of Bolsonaro and the spread of misinformation over the internet. Many robots will also be triggered to replicate untrue, defamatory content and the defense of the neo-fascist leader on platforms.

It should be noted that, like Trump, the holder of the glass house will try to create an institutional crisis if his electoral defeat is confirmed. For this, Bolsonaro and his leaders have already disclosed their convenient fear of fraud in the elections. Interestingly, those who could most rig elections are those who dominate the companies that provide services to the Electoral Justice. It is unlikely that within the structure of electoral justice fraud on a sufficient scale would be feasible to reverse a large electoral result. Frauds can occur from the manipulation of the ballot boxes, mainly in its installation and in the collection of the devices that contain the results.

If this process is carried out by technical public servants, fraud is less likely. It can be carried out by service providers who have access to the ballot boxes, who obtain a “password for root” and have enough knowledge to circumvent and leave no traces, that is, to erase the logs of fraud. It turns out that this could not be done on a scale, as service providers take care of a reduced area. This area would be insufficient to convert a percentage of votes without anyone noticing a break in the electorate's pattern.

Finally, the electoral dispute will take place in the midst of a war of disinformation. Bolsonaro intends to create again the suspension of the parameters of reality. To do so, he will generate disinformational bombardment in order to confuse and render ineffective attempts to recompose reality. It is what remains for the most disastrous and genocidal ruler in the history of Brazil.

To work the parallel reality, Bolsonaro will have his most complete lack of character. Everyone remembers that Bolsonaro said that the new coronavirus would be a “little flu”. It is not possible that the president has forgotten this. There are videos in which he audibly and unmistakably states this gigantic nonsense. But Bolsonaro says he never spoke that way. There are also several videos in which he appears attacking the vaccine. It is becoming evident that Bolsonaro prevented the federal government from acquiring in a timely manner and in sufficient quantity the necessary doses to immunize our population. However, Bolsonaristas recently released on social media and Whatsapp channels the lying version that those who prevented actions against covid-19, including the purchase of vaccines, were mayors and governors.

That's how war will be. Note that the leaders of Bolsonarism deeply felt the devastating effect of the #BolsonaroMente campaign on Twitter. They know that Bolsonaro will be used to deny Bolsonaro himself. Therefore, they will try to flood the network with conspiracy theories, specific lies to mobilize each micro-segment of the electorate. They will try to awaken fears. This worked in the last elections. They will seek to reach the sum of all fears to persuade the electorate that one day they already voted for Bolsonaro and that they abandoned him. However, that's the problem. What will need to be presented to a voter disappointed with Bolsonaro for having experienced the disaster of his administration to make him vote again for the neo-fascist alternative? One thing I have no doubt about, whatever needs to be said, even if false, untrue, invented, will be said. Bolsonaro has nothing to present other than disinformation. Here, the vaccine is the best solution.

Sergio Amadeu da Silveira is a professor at the Federal University of ABC. Author, among other books, of Free software – the fight for the freedom of knowledge (Conrad).

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