President-elect Bolsonaro swept in from the far right
Jair Bolsonaro, surrounded by federal police, after voting in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 28

THE DIN IN BRAZIL’S LOWER HOUSE OF Congress was so loud the seven-term Congressman running for Speaker could barely be heard. His colleagues paid little attention, many speaking over him. Unperturbed, Jair Messias Bolsonaro forged on, waving a newspaper as he railed against his ineffective contemporaries.

The former army captain, then 62, won just four of the 504 votes that day in February 2017, a result that seemed to confirm his irrelevance in Brazilian politics. Yet an aide was streaming his diatribe live on Facebook, where it received 450,000 views and accelerated his nascent political movement. Just 21 months later, Bolsonaro has the full attention not only

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME11 min readScience
The Climate Caucuses
Extreme weather in Iowa has forced 2020 U.S. presidential candidates to tackle climate change head-on
TIME3 min readScience
The Sands Of TIME
THIS ISSUE, IF CIVILIZATION can get its act together, might just mark a midpoint in TIME’s coverage of the biggest crisis facing our planet. Three decades ago—at a moment when much of the world was only beginning to wake up to the damage humanity ha
TIME2 min readScience
Behind the cover THREE DECADES AGO, TIME named earth “Planet of the Year” for 1988, featuring a cover by the artist Christo of the earth encased in plastic on a beach in Long Island in New York. For this week’s special-issue cover on climate change,