“Bringing Back Happiness” Key to Lula’s Campaign Message – Bolsonaro Has Yet to Concede, But Allies Back Results – Pro-Bolsonaro Truckers Block Roads

Lula campaigns in Minas Gerias, a key battleground in the Brazilian Presidential Election (Ricardo Stuckert)

Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where it’s a sunny 90-degree day, and many people are wearing red to celebrate the win of Lula. 

“Bringing Back Happiness” Key to Lula’s Campaign Message 

Unlike most American campaigns that promise programmatic changes, Lula campaigned on a simple message of “bringing back happiness to Brazil.” He pledged to workers that he would get “Brazil smiling again”. 

In campaign speeches, Lula routinely spoke of the need to bring back a standard of living where workers would have enough money to have little BBQs cookouts at their house on the weekend.  His speech become so popular that it was converted into the slogan “Vaccine, Steak, Beer & the Workers Party.”  emboldened on t-shirts and posters. 

He built campaign events that were fun and often turned into street parties. (See our dispatch from Lula’s 77th birthday party in Rio) Quite literally, the campaign created its own culture that appealed to people, and it was on display last night as thousands of parties in Rio’s main plaza, Cinelândia. 

“Lula has brought us great joy,” says 23-year-old Afro-Brazilian activist Thais Magaheles. “Brazil is Carnival, the joy of Brazil. And we are a happy people, we are a happy people. Bolsonaro took away the joy of the people, because he favored the lie of [division]”. 

Check out our videos from last night’s epic party in Cinelândia. 

Bolsonaro Has Yet to Concede  – Allies Back Results

With Lula winning by only 1.8% against Bolsonaro, there is much fear here that Bolsonaro may attempt to dispute the results in a manner similar to Trump, which could sow long-term divisions throughout Brasil. 

Already, Bolsonaro has accused the independent Tribune Superior Electoral (TSE) that administered the vote of being rigged against him. He also accused the media and polling firms in Brasil of under polling his performance and costing him votes as a result. 

So far, Bolsonaro has yet to speak publicly, leading many to worry that he may try to claim electoral fraud. However, several of Bolsonaro’s closest allies in Congress have accepted the results. Likewise, the entire international community, from Joe Biden to Vladimir Putin has accepted the results. 

For more on, Bolsonaro’s allies jumping ship, check out the Brazilian Report. 

Truck Strikes in Southern Brazil against Election Results

Despite Lula winning the results, many Bolsonaro supporters, who have been fed “fake news” that the election was stolen, are unwilling to accept the results. Truckers in 12 states have organized blockades of the roadways to protests

However, many experts say that so far, the strikes are quite small and lack the support of the national truckers union. 

For more, check out Reuters. 

Help Payday Cover the Fight for Brazilian Democracy 

While the election may be over, it still looks like they are is going to be a lot of action in Brasil in the next few days. 

Donate to help us keep covering this crucial story.  Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 735 recurring donors today. 

Thanks again for all the support. 

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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