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Author Topic: Recent US elections look like Brazilian past elections and vice versa  (Read 456 times)
buritobr
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« on: May 30, 2013, 08:56:52 pm »
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Brazil´s GPD per capita is 1/4 of the USA´s GDP per capita, its electoral system is different: the winner is the candidate who has the absolute majority of the popular vote. If in the first round no candidate reaches 50%, there is a runoff election between the two most votes candidates three weeks after.
However, it is possible to establish some comparisons between American and Brazilian presidential elections. Both are continental countries with many inequalities among states, federative republics and both countries have high diversity of ethnic groups.
Unlike the USA, Brazil had slavery in all its territory until the late 19th century. However, slavery was stronger in the Brazilian northeast. The south and the southeast watched during the late 19th century european immigration, free labor and industrialization. The Brazilian northeast can be compared to the American south: warmer, poorer, more rural, more social conservative. The Brazilian southeast and south can be compared to the American north: cooler, richer, more industrialized and more urban (Brazilian south and southeast are still poorer than American south).
I gave some initial explanation in order to introduce the topic: the opposite directions of the electoral realignment in Brazil and in the USA.
In the USA, even when the Democratic Party was more leftist than the Republican Party, democratic candidates like Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Carter were more strong in the south than in the north. Since 1988, however, (or 1992 or 2000), the democrats are stronger in the north and the republicans are stronger in the south - the poorest places of the country are more conservative than the richest places of the country.
An opposite phenomenon happened. Traditionally, the poorest states in Brazil were electoral strongholds of the right. This alignment took place in the first democratic period in Brazil (1945-1964), in the right-wing military dictatorship (1964-1985), when the party that backed the regime was very strong in the north and in the northeast and in the first elections of the New Republic (1985-present). The presidential election of 1989, when the right-wing candidate Fernando Collor defeated Lula, showed a social and geographic division very similar to the republican-democratic division of the USA in the 2000s. The result of the Brazilian election in 1989 looked like the result of the US election in 2004. Collor defeated Lula by a narrow margin, but the electoral map was almost all blue because Collor was very strong in the rural areas specially in the north and in the northeast. There were only small red points in the map representing the majority held by Lula in many big cities. Only two states had a red area bigger than a blue area: Rio Grande do Sul and Rio de Janeiro, in the south and in the southeast respectively. These states have income higher than the Brazilian average.
After being defeated in 1994 and in 1998 by wider margin, Lula was elected for the first time in 2002, by a 61-39 margin against José Serra, the conservative opponent. He had 80% of the votes in Rio de Janeiro by tied to his opponent in the rural areas of the north and northeast.
Everything changed in 2006, when Lula was reelected. During his first term, Lula lost some supporters in urban middle class because of the corruption scandals in which members of this Workers Party (PT) were involved. However, he gained the support of the poorest people in the poorest states in Brazil because he increased the minimum wage and because his program of income transfer was sucessful. So, the election of 2006 was a realigning election. Lula was the winner by the same margin 61-39 against Geraldo Alckmin, the conservative opponent. However, the geographic and the social composition of Lula's supporting based changed a lot. Lula had more than 4/5 of the votes in the rural areas of the north and the northeast, where he had fewer than 1/5 in 1989. Rio Grande do Sul was one the few states that voted for Lula in 1989 and voted against Lula in 2006. In the richest places in Brazil, Lula was the winner only in Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Brasília. Lula lost in São Paulo and in the south.
His sucessor Dilma Roussef was elected by a narrower margin in 2010 (56-44) against José Serra, but the division of Brazil in 2010 was the same of the division of 2006.
The victory of Lula in 2006 and the victory of Dilma in 2010 can be compared to the victories of Franklin Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter. In all of these elections, the winner candidate had large support in the poor states of the country - including conservative voters - but had also support of the urban working classes in the rich states.
So, both in Brazil and in the USA, the left moved to the north and the right moved to the south.  But in Brazil, the left moved to the poor places of the country and in the USA, the left moved to tha rich places of the country.
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batmacumba
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2013, 02:26:22 am »
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However, slavery was stronger in the Brazilian northeast.

Uh...
No. Not at all. Actually, quite the contrary. Economic dependence on slavery, in the NE, was concentrated in the coast, while in the SE it was the sole widespread economic organization. The sertão was organized in a system of mild serfdom. Which endured way onto the mid to mid-late XXth century. That's why the population there is much more 'parda' with few blacks, while in BA coast you can see a strong majority of black people. And this mild serfdom feedback helps to explain the rightwing alignment, before the XXIst century.

The American realignment is quite more complicated than ours and than this way you've put. Welcome to the forum, and take a few time to follow the discussions on this realignment (volta e meia alguém recomeça a discuti-lo). Actually, it's not quite an ideological voting pattern realignment, but more of a party ideologies realignment.

But I always wondered that, without the north, the Southern USA states would evolve to an Anglophone Brazil.

Seja bem-vindo.
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buritobr
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 03:29:47 pm »
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Sorry for taking so long to answer, I did not have so much time to write that month

I know that the ideologies of the parties played a role in the geographic realigment of the vote in the USA. The two parties had very different ideologies in the 19th century. However, as it was discussed in a topic in the US elections, since 1932, the D candidate is on the left and the R candidate is on the right in the American political spectrum in every presidential election. But from 1932 to 1956 and in 1976, the Democratic candidate was still stronger in the South than in the North, and in poor rural areas than in rich suburban areas.

That's why, I though that in some periods, American and Brazilian elections had similar electoral polarization

USA: 1932-1956 and 1976, Brazil: 2006 and 2010
> L candidate (Democratic or PT) very strong in rural areas of the low-income states (even among social conservative citizens) but also strong among unionized workers in high income states
> R candidate (Republican or PSDB) strong in high income small towns in high income states, strong among wealthy neighborhoods near big cities (suburbs in USA, rich neighborhoods inside big cities in Brazil)
> High polarization according to income. Low share of votes for the L candidate in the top income group, high share of votes for the L candidate in every low income group
> Low polarization according to social values. Both parties having social liberal and social conservative voters

USA: 2000-2012, Brazil: 1989-1998 (and somehow 2002)
> Blue maps with small red points. R (Brazil: PRN in 1989, PSDB in the other elections) candidate winning in almost all rural and coutryside areas, even in low-income areas, L vote concentrated in metropolitan areas.
> L canditate performing better in the countryside of high income states than in the countryside of low income states
> Some polarization according to income. Although R wins in poor rural areas, L performs better among working class in metropolitan regions than among high income citizens there. However, the polarization is much smoother than it was in the other case. L performs well among some upper middle class groups
> Large support for the L by universities and artists
> High polarization according to ideology


Even after the Democratic party becoming the leftist and the Republican party becoming the rightist party, the ideology of these parties changed in the last 40 years. The Republicans became more social conservative, religious and hawkish (and also more economic conservative). The Democrats became more economic conservative and social liberal. This explains partially the geographic realigment.
 
But the ideology of the parties in Brazil also changed and this is also a partial explanation for the geographic realigment here.
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