Right-wing media in America is closely watching the Brazilian presidential elections and recycling baseless voter fraud conspiracy theories from 2020 to cast doubt on any results that do not favor Brazil’s far-right incumbent, President Jair Bolsonaro.
Sunday’s Brazilian election resulted in a run-off, after neither Bolsonaro nor leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received more than 50% of the vote. While Lula slightly outperformed Bolsonaro, the election will now go to a second round of voting in late October. Despite stronger than expected results for Bolsonaro, America’s right-wing pundits continued to claim the results were plagued by election fraud.
Prior to the election, Bolsonaro took a page out of the MAGA movement’s playbook and repeatedly pushed the narrative that Brazil’s elections are vulnerable to being rigged. While there is no evidence for these claims, Bolsonaro has continued to allege various methods of election tampering took place to cast doubt on the electoral process, including the claim that election officials could alter ballots “without leaving a trace.”
These claims sound eerily similar to U.S. election rigging conspiracy theories, like Dinesh D’Souza’s 2000 Mules conspiracy theory and false claims about Dominion Voting Systems. Others in the right-wing echo chamber have claimed fake polling was used to suppress voter turnout for Bolsonaro.
On October 3, right-wing commentator Glenn Greenwald told Fox News prime-time host Tucker Carlson, “They wanted, I think, to manipulate the outcome of the election through these fraudulent polling — or at the very least, polling that's radically wrong.”
Carlson responded, “Not only in Brazil.”
Now, American right-wing media are exporting their 2020 election conspiracy theories to Brazil and cementing their false allegations that there was widespread fraud in the U.S.
- Infowars founder Alex Jones claimed there was “massive election fraud happening in Brazil.”
- On War Room: Pandemic, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon called the election a “stark warning to MAGA” of the “games that are being played in these elections.” Right-wing activist Matthew Tyrmand later added, “People are absolutely crying fraud in Brazil because it’s the same thing we saw in 2020.”
- Alt-right troll and rape apologist Mike Cernovich: “The West wants to rig public perception of the election in Brazil. Few votes are in. Bolsonaro is hated by the occupying regime in the US.”
- Right-wing commentator Mike Crispi tweeted: “Also: if somehow the runoff is avoided and Bolsonaro loses, clear cut case of election fraud with late ballot dumps”
- “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander posted on Telegram: “They’re blatantly attempting to STEAL the election from President Bolsonaro. Pray! Protest! Some of the same patterns I saw in 2018 and why I flew to Florida to save Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis.”
- Far-right outlet Patriot Voice: “Looks like [they] are attempting to steal the Brazilian Presidential Election from Bolsonaro.”
- Fringe right-wing outlet The Gateway Pundit, published the article "'Biggest Victory for Patriots in the History of Brazil' Despite MASSIVE Fraud!"
This is not the first time Bolsonaro has been connected to America’s conservative movement: He has been a right-wing media darling since he was first elected president in 2018. Carlson even traveled to Brazil to interview the president in 2022.