Trump Republicans just love Hungary’s leader

It is quite fascinating to see how quickly Trump’s followers latch on to authoritarian leaders around the world who pursue bigoted anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant policies, all wrapped up in the rhetoric of nationalism and patriotism and with a religious garnish. Their latest hero is president Viktor Orban of Hungary, who has been in power for 12 years and just won re-election.

Hungary’s authoritarian leader and longtime Russian ally, Viktor Orban, clinched a fourth consecutive term in power on Sunday, after a landslide election win that he touted as a rebuke of liberalism, the European Union and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Orban’s Fidesz party strengthened their position in Parliament despite forecasts predicting a tight race. It won 53% of the vote with almost all ballots counted, enough for a commanding lead over a united coalition of opposition parties.

The results indicate that Fidesz will hold 135 seats in Hungary’s 199-seat parliament, meaning Orban would retain a two-thirds majority that will allow him to enact further changes to Hungary’s constitution.

The far-right, anti-vaccine party Our Homeland also made it to Parliament, winning seven seats in a strong showing.

Orban has gained close control of Hungary’s judiciary, media and education institutions during his 12-year stint in power, which is now set to be extended until 2026. He has pushed legislation targeting migrants and the LGBTQ+ community, and has spoken of his intention to build an “illiberal” state within the EU.

Crusading against Western liberal values has also formed a centerpiece of Orban’s premiership, and a referendum was also held Sunday on his controversial law that bans educational materials and programs for children that are considered to promote homosexuality and gender reassignment.

LGBTQ rights groups encouraged voters to spoil their ballots, in order to prevent it from reaching the threshold of required to be considered valid. The tactic appeared to have worked; while those who responded sided mostly with the government, only 3.5 million valid votes were cast, short of the 4.1 million needed to validate the referendum.

But Orban’s law, which he frames as a “child protection” measure, is already in place and the ballot was seen as symbolic. Orban previously framed a 2016 referendum on migrant quotas as a victory even though it was similarly invalid, and human rights groups fear he will use the results of this ballot to further target the LGBTQ community.

You can see why Trump’s supporters would like Orban and fervently hope that Trump can return as president and have the kind of power that Orban wields.

In his continuing efforts to talk to (and make fun of) ardent Trump supporters, Jordan Klepper attended the recent Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in Florida. He was struck by the admiration that attendees had for Orban so he also went to Hungary to see what was going on there. He is going to present a series of reports of his Hungary trip starting April 21st.

Klepper was interviewed by Seth Meyers about what he learned from his visit to Hungary.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    The EU is fed up with him. He has allies that are blocking attempts to sanction Hungary (a consensus is needed) but now they are working on a workaround to block EU funds going to countries that have no independent courts, or have other democracy problems.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    The Polish leaders have given Hungary a lot of support in EU, but they have not yet gone as far as Victor Orban towards authoritarian rule.
    They fear Russia for obvious reasons and during the war they are unlikely to alienate their EU neighbours further.

  3. Matt G says

    It’s hard to see how humanity survives when authoritarianism remains so appealing to so many.

  4. lorn says

    Yes, Hungary is becoming something of a right-wing paradise. They love the raw power, the control, the masterful voice and the unity of every public face saying and thinking the same thing.

    The key here is the go-along dynamic. Right down to the most trivial thing you dare not contradict the power. Bad things, ‘it’s all perfectly legal’ , happen to people who do not cooperate. When was the last time your taxes were looked at? And there are always people willing to incriminate you to curry favor with the powers that be once it becomes clear the power finds your attitude difficult.

    The signals permeate the society because all media are under Orbon’s control. He has allowed his system to work. At first there were a lot of physical threats and some number of people were killed, beat up, exiled, or fled after being picked clean. Once the order of the day was established there is far less need for obvious violence.

    He changes things up just enough to keep people guessing and to prevent anyone challenging him from the right. It is a nearly perfect mafia based society. Everyone knows his place in the pecking order and everyone pays. Everyone in any position of power gets a cut. But never too much, or from the wrong people.

    Everything is wonderfully well controlled. No discord or opposition. No play or creativity. The entire public life is dead as a stone. You dare not voice any doubts, even with your family or closest friends.

    It is a wondrous chimera. Russian-style corruption and strong-man politics. Near-absolute Chinese-style media control. East-German-style secret service with webs of informants, monitoring and secret files on everyone. What might have started as Japanese-style nationalism with deep concern for the ‘family’. Over it all a thin veil of all-American artificially manufactured, AstroTurf, populist democracy.

    A right-wing Hell where choice is an illusion. Where freedom is redefined as having that imaginary choice. Where everyone is ‘safe’ but miserable because change is not possible.

  5. KG says


    Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has of course had mutiple ramifications internationally -- and one of them is to alienate Orbán (who despite initially agreeing to sanctions on Russia, has remained basically pro-Putin) from his closest ally, the PiS regime in Poland, and from some other far-right forces in Europe.

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