Extreme non-viable candidates and quota maneuvering in Brazilian legislative elections

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International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


This article explores the causes and consequences of extreme non-viable candidacies, also known as “laranja” (orange) candidacies in the Brazilian political lore. We first define and delineate what makes a candidate a laranja, engaging the comparative literature on sacrificial lambs and using district-level electoral results to operationalize the concept. We then advance a typology of laranjas with four ideal types that vary along dimensions of legality and intentionality. Next, we apply descriptive statistics and a hierarchical logistic regression model to explore the individual, party, and district-level characteristics of extreme non-viable candidates and assess whether and how laranjas are distinct from non-laranjas. Finally, we illustrate the gendered character of laranjas, documenting how the candidate gender quota law in Brazil has been associated with a proliferation of candidatas laranjas (women extreme non-viable candidates).