The ten million Brazilian adolescents who are 16 and 17 years old are a prized booty that the left led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva directly woos with their sights set on defeating Jair Bolsonaro. The former president and his allies want to take advantage of the enormous potential of this group that, however, is very little mobilized. The incentive for progressives is that it is the age group most opposed to the far-right president, according to polls. Under the proclamation “Brazil needs you”, Lula, 76 years old and favorite in the polls, encourages the kids to get the voter title. His appeal to artists to get involved in the effort has had an effect.
The singer Anitta —the most international Brazilian artist—, the samba player Zeca Pagodinho, the rapper Emicida, some stars of Big Brother Brasil (the long-running local version of Big Brother) and many other idolized artists have multiplied messages in recent weeks to encourage them to process the authorization to be able to vote in the October elections that will decide the next president, the Congress and the governors. Several soccer clubs, such as Corinthians and Flamengo, have joined the effort.
“Let’s go there people, to change this president,” Anitta said on social networks a few days ago at a stop in the promotion of Wrap, a song in Spanish that has just been placed among the most listened to in the world. Without make-up, far from her explosive professional image, her political message reaches the mobile phones of millions of fans. A closeness that politicians cannot even dream of.
“I’m tired of being the only joy of the Brazilian. If you don’t get your title (of voter), I’ll retire,” jokes the interpreter of the Girl from Rio. The powerful 29-year-old singer and businesswoman has been campaigning for some time to promote a replacement in the presidency of the Republic.
There were also many calls from the stage at the recent Lollapalooza festival, which turned into an outcry against censorship after Bolsonarism tried to silence criticism on stage. The result is that teen voter registration has increased. They already add up to just over a million, but it is a figure that is still far from the mobilization of previous campaigns. The deadline is May 4.
Brazil is among the ten countries that allow teenagers to vote. It is a right enshrined in the 1988 Constitution, created after the dictatorship. Unlike adults, those under the age of 18 are not required to go to the polls.
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Although the electoral campaign will only officially begin in August, the pre-candidates multiply their appearances in acts, meetings and interviews. Lula has raised blisters these days among the ranks of Bolsonarism. The former president defended in a public act that abortion be treated as “a matter of public health.” This Thursday, he has added that he personally is against the termination of pregnancy. Bolsonarism reacted with harsh words on a very sensitive issue in Brazil; accused Lula of defending “the murder of unborn babies.” And other statements, in which the leftist urged to “disturb the tranquility” of the deputies related to the government and their families, were replied with reproaches and an open threat. A parliamentarian released a video in which, while he loads his gun, he gives directions on how to get to his home, where, he says ironically, “you will be welcome.”
Meanwhile, several national and regional surveys are published every week. Six months from the day of truth, Lula is still in the lead with a wide lead, but this is shrinking. In the first round, he would beat Bolsonaro with 46% (26%), according to a survey. The founder of the PT works intensely to calm the fears of the center right, which he wants on his side in defense of democracy against Bolsonaro, and the fears of the most radical wing of the left.
Lula’s team is especially interested in the youth because the polls indicate that, as the voter’s age increases, the rejection of the far-right Bolsonaro decreases. For this reason, one of the most combative Bolsonaro deputies, Carla Zambelli, decided to respond on social networks with “the campaign for the veteran vote” to mobilize the 38 million Brazilians over 60 years of age.
Brazilian progressives aspire to emulate the triumph of Democrat Joe Biden, who managed to defeat Donald Trump, among other factors, by mobilizing voters who did not usually go to the polls. But in Brazil the potential for new voters is much greater, because voting is compulsory, although the fines are reduced, which allows the wealthy classes to pay them without any problem in order to abstain.
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