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.