The Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, lost the general election in 2002 after serving four years. He came back victorious in a free and fair election held in 2010 and has served ever since. Ten years later, Hungary is no longer a democracy but an authoritarian, illiberal democracy where Orban wields uncontested power.
Since his return in 2010, Orban has trumped up crisis’ to pass laws suspending the rights of individuals and opposition parties. He jailed and continues to jail any who oppose him.
Most significant major corporations are now controlled by Orban’s cronies.
He warned that refugees and Muslims were an existential threat to Hungarian society and culture, and put up walls and electric fences on Hungary’s borders to keep them out.
He keeps the church on side by persecuting homosexuals and making abortion illegal.
He demonized the free press and today has secured control over all the air waves and media companies in Hungary.
He appoints political allies to the judiciary—not legal or constitutional scholars—thereby using the law as his personal weapon.
He openly and unapologetically rigs elections and vote counts.
Eerily similar to what we’re witnessing today south of the border!
Much of the world, including 70 per cent of Canadians, are breathing a sigh of relief that the Orban clone in the White House has lost and will soon be gone, but Trump’s power to deceive is alive and well and his return in four years shouldn’t be discounted.
Trump and his media failed at their concerted campaign to disenfranchise or suppress Democratic voters during the presidential election. Yet he convinced at least 50 million Americans—and Russia—that the election results are a fraud.
He and his legal team unsuccessfully filed more than 40 lawsuits to throw out Biden votes to no avail, this time. He’s now pressuring Republican legislators and bureaucrats in swing states, won decisively by Biden, to appoint Trump loyalists to the Electoral College, the final body that names the next president.
What’s next—releasing his armed private militias and the National Guard on fellow Americans or deliberately provoking increased world conflict?
These actions, together with a subservient Attorney General, Supreme Court and Senate—institutions once independent and critical to curtailing presidential abuse of power—places America on the verge of joining Hungary as an illiberal democracy. Governed by one with meaningless elections and a corrupted judiciary.
It didn’t have to be this way. It was a Republican-controlled Senate the last time a Republican President, Richard Nixon, went rogue. Putting country before party, Republican senators in 1974 said, “go on your own accord, Mr. President, or be impeached”.
Even if Joe Biden succeeds in becoming President in January, American democracy is on life support as tribalism, alternate truth and conspiracy theories reach an all time high.
It is impossible to function as a democratic society when there aren’t any shared truths and the other side is painted as inherently evil.
Trump’s tactics and power trajectory has paralleled Orban’s.
If Trump continues to play his cards well, he still has an excellent chance to return as President of the United States in 2024 and secure his dream.
A dynasty where he is absolute monarch and his daughter and successive generations follow him seamlessly into the Oval office to make America white again.
The saving grace may be that Trump’s baby boy tantrums and juvenile ego could eventually be his undoing.
In contrast, Orban accepted defeat and then prepared very well for the next election and his eventual ascension to absolute power.