Hungary, Soft Facism, and the Future of America

Ten years ago Hungary was a thriving democracy, but today without violence or revolution it has officially declared itself an authoritarian state.

In 2010 Viktor Orban was elected Prime Minister on a wave of populism by fear-mongering LGBTQ citizens and his promise to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, by demagoguing immigrants, and creating bogeymen for Hungarians to fear, like a Muslims “takeover,” the “failing” EU, and George Soros, all of this despite very anti-democratic comments and being perceived as a “clown.”

Since then he “built a wall” to keep out foreign “invaders,” turned to Putin and Russia as a key ally, attacked the media as “fake news” and essentially sidelined them, increased his power, officially declared the country a “Christian” nation despite its founding as a secular country, and if all if this sounds familiar, one of Orban’s key advisors is Trump’s former advisor Steve Bannon.

After years of inching away from democracy, then letting the new normal set in, and inching farther way from democracy again, today Monday March 30th the Hungarian parliament willfully and overwhelmingly handed the entire control of the country over to one man, Viktor Orban.

Today this is Hungary’s new normal:

  • State of emergency without a time limit.
  • Viktor Orban rules by decree.
  • Parliament suspended.
  • No elections.
  • Spreading “fake news” or “rumors” will be met with up to 5 years in prison.
  • Leaving quarantine will land you up to 8 years in prison.

Hungary’s democracy is gone. Gone. And they won’t be getting it back because their largely conservative population doesn’t want it back. They’ve been primed by Orban’s state run media that democracy can take a back seat during Orban’s pursuit to “Make Hungary Great Again.” (His actual slogan.)

This is a warning. This type of “soft” fascism, where democratic tools are used to undermine democracy itself, has already been exported to other countries, like Poland.

Think about where we were five years ago and think about how far conservatives have fallen.

Today the press is “fake news.” Today conservatives look to Russia and shun the EU. Today conservatives ignore outright corruption and allow their leaders to profit from their businesses while funding the leader’s family with taxpayer money. Today the only requirement to being a conservative is your unquestioning loyalty to its leader. Today conservatives fought to give up the greatest constitutional check on the executive, the power of the purse. Today conservatives fought for a president’s right to fire those investigating him, and cheered their demise. Today conservatives fought and cheered to allow a president to bribe foreign governments to interfere in our elections. Today conservatives fought and cheered for the “unitary executive theory,” that if a president does something illegal, even if it is for his own re-election, then must be legal. Today conservatives are taught to embrace conspiracy theory, racism, and xenophobia from a propaganda network calling itself news.

Republicans have put us on this path. This is your future. The 2020 election is your most significant election in this generation’s history.

If you still think it cannot happen here then just remember one fact, Bannon exported Trumpism to Hungary and this is the result.

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