Populists hate to be unpopular. That is why they have proved so bad at handling Covid-19, a crisis that brings nothing but grim news — death, economic destruction and curtailed freedoms.

Donald Trump, the US president, and Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, are the two most prominent populist leaders in the western world. The disastrous results of their approach to coronavirus are now becoming apparent. Last week, Brazil became the second country in the world, after the US, to record more than 50,000 Covid-19 deaths.

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