DEMOCRATIC BACKSLIDE AND THE SHORTCOMINGS OF CONSTITUTIONAL CULTURE IN BRAZIL

This paper discusses the democratic backslide in Brazil, connecting the process with deep deficits in the Brazilian constitutional culture. First, it discusses the mistakes in the narrative adopted by some Brazilian legal scholars and political scientists, according to which the country is not facing a democratic backslide, because “the institutions are working”. The paper shows that there are serious and growing failures in the operation of Brazilian institutions in current times. Then, the paper argues that, in order to ensure the strength and resilience of a constitutional democracy, a constitutional culture embedded in society is extremely important. Nevertheless, Brazilian constitutional culture is still very fragile, as shown by the election of President Jair Bolsonaro and the continuous support for his government by a large portion of the electorate, in spite of his continuous and radical attacks against democracy and the most basic tenets of the Brazilian constitution.