While the future of Bolsonarism has been publicly disputed by governors Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) and Romeu Zema (Novo), the Liberal Party launches its own trial balloon: Michelle Bolsonaro.
Currently, the former first lady has 5.9 million followers on Instagram, almost 1 million more than Eduardo Bolsonaro, the most popular of Jair Bolsonaro’s children on the network.
Unlike her husband, Michelle made public her decision to vaccinate herself against Covid in the United States in 2021. Furthermore, the style employed in her public interventions is in stark contrast to the belligerence of the retired captain.
In a recent post, viewed by more than 4 million people and liked by over half a million, Michelle talks about Carnival using the same language as institutional feminism.
Dressed in a pink T-shirt, she warns: “Carnival is a tradition in our country. Everyone who likes it and wants it has the right to enjoy the festivities. Everyone’s safety needs to be guaranteed. If you are the victim of harassment, report it . You are not alone. Stay tuned for this year’s theme: My costume is not an invitation. No it is not”.
I emphasize the use of the expression “all people”.
At the same time, Michelle also uses language aimed at the Christian audience.
At a presidential campaign event in Cascavel, he declares to a crowd of people dressed in green and yellow: “A wise woman builds her home, but wise women build a nation,” which is joined by a chorus of those present waving balloons with national colors.
The mixture of the two languages has a clear objective, as stated by Cris Corrêa, a black writer and anti-feminist influencer: to bring together more women than feminism.
Today Michelle leads the women’s sector of the Liberal Party, the PL Women. To do so, she has almost R$900,000 a month at her disposal, coming from the party fund, and has a salary of R$39,200, the same amount she would receive if she were a federal deputy.
The party hopes that the investment will result in winning more female votes. In addition to betting on a strong campaign on March 8, the PL has already announced that it will fund a political tour by Michelle Bolsonaro in Brazil with the aim of expanding the reach of her program for women.
The agenda should focus on the engagement of women in politics, women with disabilities and mothers of people with disabilities, the so-called “rare mothers”.
The undertaking, however, is not the result of the party’s special regard for women.
In 2022, four days before the elections, the party had used only 23.46% of its resources for female candidates, when the legal minimum is 30%.
However, current legislation provides that votes received by candidates from women and black people will count twice for the distribution of resources from the party fund and the Special Campaign Financing Fund until 2030. A rule that the PL seems eager to comply with.
Michelle Bolsonaro does not have the institutional political experience of Tarcísio and Zema. However, it is well ahead of both in two fundamental aspects to measure political potential these days: digital capital and charisma.
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