Posted by David McCoy
Timothy Power, the Director of Graduate Studies in Politics at Oxford University, spoke at Tulane toward the end of the Fall 2012 semester about the developments and challenges in Brazilian democracy during the administrations of the PT presidents Luiz Igácio “Lula” da Silva and his chosen successor Dilma Rousseff. Professor Power was invited by Tulane’s Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).
Power’s discussion employed qualitative and quantitative methods to demonstrate the changes in Brazilian democracy. One key point employed a visual geographical analysis of voter support to show the changes in the PT’s constituency during Lula’s two elections and Dilma’s 2010 election, which demonstrated a shift of voter support from the South and Southeast to include more voters in the poorer Northeast. Power described the political implications of the success of Bolsa Familia and the ongoing turmoil caused by the Mensalão scandal, as well as the increasing consolidation of political power at the presidential level behind coalitions led by the PT and the PSDB.
Another important point brought up the fact that, although Dilma has high marks in public approval ratings, she has not yet enacted a landmark policy achievement that serves to characterize her presidency in the way that Bolsa Familia did for Lula. While the establishment of the the National Truth Commission was an important achievement for Dilma personally, Power demonstrated that the issue was neither sufficiently polarizing nor broadly important for it to serve as her defining policy. For more information, look for the upcoming information about the talk on CIPR’s site.