August 30, 2008 by Ryan Joy
One notable cultural difference between Brazil and the United States is the method of campaigning during election time. Right now is the time to elect city councilmen and mayors throughout the country. Here in Natal/Parnamirim there are hired cars with the politicians name on them that drive around all day blasting music and political propaganda from speakers strapped to the roof of the car. “Carros de som.” I’ve asked and this is true all over Brazil. They play the same music-propaganda-combo track VERY loud over and over and over again. Seriously, I know the lyrics and jingle for at least two candidates by heart. When they pass near the house you cannot continue a conversation until they´re down the block, and keep in mind that we´re behind a thick rock wall and inside a stone house. I will have to get a picture of one of these cars.
From what I can tell, these tactics seem to be regarded as more of an annoyance than anything else. Yet, the politicians obviously must do it because they think it increases their chances to be elected. I asked do people vote for the most loud or most quite last night at dinner and that garnered a lot of laughs.
The other thing about their election is that the candidate´s name is not promoted so much as their number. Each candidate has a 6-digit number and it´s plastered everywhere and promoted in the same manner as we would see ringtones being sold. “Votação 61253 para a cambiar!”