Here's an interesting story out of Brazil that flew under my radar until now. The Brazilian Socialist Party had a black evangelical environmental activist, Marina Silva, as their vice-presidential candidate. She got 20% of the vote for president in the last election as the Green Party candidate; Brazil has run-offs among the top two vote-getters, so third parties can generate a bigger share of the vote without it being a protest vote, not unlike French politics.
The presidential candidate, Eduardo Campos, got killed in a plane crash last week, and Silva got promoted to top the ticket.
The Socialists are running to the left of the ruling Workers' Party, who are critters of the left but of a more moderate bent, more European social democrat than Hugo Chavez wannabe. Politically charismatic President Lula brought them to power and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, has struggled to govern quite as effectively, suffering through protests over spending on this year's World Cup and the 2016 Olympics rather than any number of other things a needy Brazil could be spending money on.
Silva was the environment minister in Lula's cabinet before she balked at an under-green environmental policy and resigned. That gives her a cache for folks looking to rage against the machine as well as an up-from-poverty, illiterate until she was 16 story that will resonate with folks in the favelas. If she can beat out the main conservative candidate for second in the first round, Silva would be in position to beat Rousseff in the run-off.
What makes this race especially interesting is that Silva has stands on things like abortion and same-sex marriage that would make her at home in a Baptist church in Colorado but has hard-left views on economics and the environment that are befitting of a former Green Party banner-holder. Here's the BBC's take on that front-
However, some of those critical of the bigger establishment parties are also uneasy about Ms Silva's devout religious views, fearing she is too conservative on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.
Brazil's evangelicals aren't knee-jerk conservatives in politics; many folks have socialist economics and old-school religious values without it being as weird as it would be in the US. It would be interesting to see if a born-again Ralph Nader with a common touch could get votes from Brazilian conservatives in the run-off without scaring off folks looking for a full-spectrum progressive.