The One Country Whose Elections Are Crazier Than the USA's
Election season in Brazil closely resembles the race for fifth grade class president. It is what democracy hallucinates after dropping acid in front of Cartoon Network.
The Candidates Use the Same Fake Names You Enter on a Bowling Scorecard
This year in Brazil, there are five people named Batman running for various offices, along with 16 Barack Obamas and a pair of James Bonds. The crowded ballot also includes Lady Gaga, Jimmy Carter, John Kennedy, bin Laden, Zig Zag Clown, a guy named Elvis Didn't Die, someone called Kung Fu Fatty and Geraldo Wolverine. The list of candidates reads like the starting lineup of the first team the Bad News Bears ever defeated, or the scheduled euthanasia docket for a bunch of retired greyhounds.
Brazil has around 30 prominent political parties, which you may notice is about the same number of teams as the NFL. That equals at least 60 or 70 people screaming for your vote at any given time, so some intrepid lawmakers decided that it would be a good idea if they were allowed to run under pretty much whatever names they wanted as a way to distinguish themselves in the thrashing maniacal sea of candidates. However, the fact that so many of them settle on the same made-up name suggests that they perhaps misunderstood the purpose of being able to rechristen themselves "Superman's Erection" and compete for votes.
Candidates Wear Costumes
Remember Geraldo Wolverine? (What a ridiculous question -- you will never forget Geraldo Wolverine.) Would it surprise you to learn that he actually dresses like Wolverine, with a leather jacket, bushy sideburns and metal claws, and drives around in a car with his face painted on it? Because it shouldn't. Because he does.
And he's far from the only person who treats politics like an office Halloween party -- as a general rule, candidates wear costumes, because unlike U.S. politicians, who claim that they will do anything for a vote, people running for office in Brazil literally will do anything for a vote. One man, running under the name Obama BH, actually looks, dresses and has adopted all the mannerisms of the real Fred Armisen.
... that's actually pretty good.
Everybody Can Run, and They Do
A clown won a congressional seat in Brazil's 2010 elections.
This is not a stock photo. This is the actual man who actually won the election.
Campaigning under the name Tiririca (which translates to "Grumpy"), he claimed a landslide victory, receiving more votes than any other candidate for any other office that election. This is in spite of the fact that:
1) He is an actual clown (see photo above).
2) There is evidence that he is illiterate.
3) His actual campaign slogan was "What does a congressman do? The truth is, I don't know. But vote for me and I'll tell you."
4) Refer back to 1.
Geraldo Wolverine was a driving instructor with no prior political experience of any kind (although we hope that his students had to drive that same car). His big claim to fame was being rejected as a cast member of the reality show Big Brother Brazil.
Before this photo existed, that is.
And in 2001, an infamous Brazilian criminal organization called First Capital Command (PCC) orchestrated 28 nearly simultaneous prison riots across the country. A year later, one of their members ran for Congress and in no way attempted to conceal the fact that he was essentially a member of Nicolas Cage's gang in Face/Off. In fact, he celebrated it with catchy slogans like "From now on the PCC will use elections as its machine gun -- a machine gun loaded with votes," which you may notice is a sentence that will get you tackled by the Secret Service.
Luis Prada is a columnist for ManCave.com, and you can follow him on Tumblr and Twitter.