Brazil’s Evangelical Far Right Could Elect The Country’s Next President (HBO)

Brazil’s supreme court ruled Wednesday that former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has to start serving a 12-year prison sentence immediately, even while he appeals his conviction for corruption. The ruling effectively knocks him out of this year’s presidential race — which he was leading in every poll.
Lula’s imprisonment sends the Brazilian left even deeper into a long-brewing crisis.
And Operation Car Wash — the sprawling corruption investigation that led to Lula’s conviction — has brought down and implicated high-level politicians by the dozen across the political spectrum. But it’s the right wing that has best taken advantage of the crisis that Car Wash caused, forcing Lula’s center-left Workers Party out of power — and now, with Lula almost certainly out of the way, clearing a path to the presidency.
One of the most powerful drivers in the rise of the Brazilian right is the rapid growth of Evangelical Christianity in a traditionally Catholic country.
Evangelicals have one of the most powerful blocs in the country, and high-profile pastors have the power to direct their congregations toward voting for (and donating to) their anointed candidates. That means the Evangelical machine is in better shape than most heading into this year’s elections — even more so now that Lula, the undisputed center of gravity on the Brazilian left, is effectively out of the way.

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