If You Want to Rule Brazil, Draw Power from the Streets

In a Country with Too Few Democratic Tools, Mass Protests Can Make or Break a Government

Last August, Brazil’s leftist President Dilma Rousseff was forced to step down from office after the nation’s senate voted to impeach her. But Rousseff’s true downfall came months earlier, when record numbers of Brazilians turned out in street protests to demand her resignation.

The deeply unpopular Rousseff wasn’t the first Brazilian leader, and likely won’t be the last, to lose her legitimacy after millions of people took to the streets. Over the last 50 years, Brazilians have raised street demonstrations to an art form akin to the country’s effusive Carnival celebrations. …