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Following a divisive, theatrical presidential campaign that saw one frontrunner jailed and another one stabbed, Brazilians will vote Sunday in what is likely to be a referendum on crime, corruption and economic failures in Latin America's largest country.

Expand chart
Data: IBOPE; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The big picture: The candidate jailed on corruption charges — former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula — has been replaced by a far less popular member of his leftist Worker's Party, Fernando Haddad. Lula's disqualification on Aug. 31 turned Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right firebrand sometimes called "tropical Trump," into the front-runner. No candidate is expected to earn a majority on Sunday, paving the way for a run-off between the top two vote-getters on Oct. 28.

Key issues
  • Corruption: 77% of Brazilians believe political corruption is rampant, having seen each of their last three presidents face criminal charges or impeachment votes.
  • Crime: There were an all-time high 63,880 homicides in Brazil last year, and just 10% led to arrests. Rapes also rose 8% to 60,018 last year.
  • Economy: Corruption helped drive Brazil's budding economy into a deep 2014 recession, and many Brazilians haven't recovered. According to a Gallup poll, 32% had trouble buying food in the last year, while 25% lacked enough money for shelter.

Bubbling dissatisfaction and anger have created a political situation ripe for disruption, one that has been seized upon by Bolsonaro, who vows to purge the country of criminality.

  • Until recently, Bolsonaro was a fringe figure known for his sexist, racist and homophobic views. He has vowed to give police more license to kill and expressed an affinity for military dictatorships — in a country where authoritarian rule prevailed from 1964 to 1985.
  • His opponent, Haddad, hopes that Lula's popularity will bolster his own chances, but he remains far behind.

The bottom line: A second-round runoff is expected, likely between Bolsonaro and Haddad. It remains to be seen whether the moderate candidates who trail the frontrunners will throw their weight behind Haddad to fend off a far-right takeover.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
10 mins ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.

Newsrooms seek next-gen bosses

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, HuffPost and Wired are all looking for new editors. Soon, The New York Times will be too.

Why it matters: The new hires will reflect a new generation — one that's addicted to technology, demands accountability and expects diversity to be a priority.

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

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