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Woke Politics Goes South

The shortcomings of "wokeism" – ideological rigidity, a penchant for intolerance, and disregard for the practicalities of government – become even more jarring and dangerous when transposed to Latin America. Even more than in the Global North, right-wing populists are the most likely to benefit.

LONDON – Some people call it left-wing identity politics. Others call it “wokeism.” It helped elect Donald Trump president of the United States and provided convenient controversies to distract British voters from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s weak record in office. Woke politics is now traveling south, with equally dismal consequences.

For example, it is helping Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, a Trump wannabe, to recover in the polls ahead of the country’s presidential election in October, making the race tighter than it was two months ago. In Chile, woke activists recently produced a draft constitution that The Economist has described as “ridiculously broad” and a “confusing mess.” Polls suggest voters are likely to reject it in a September 4 referendum.

Before I condemn myself to being “canceled,” let me state three obvious facts. Yes, countries like Brazil, Chile, and Colombia – where the right-wing populist Rodolfo Hernández received 47% of the vote in the recent presidential election runoff – after long histories of social injustice, income inequality, and racial and gender discrimination, need serious reform.

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