Left and Right

What American conservatives really admire about Orbán’s Hungary

By Damon Linker, The Week

Tucker Carlson’s decision to spend last week broadcasting from Hungary and reciting nightly love letters to the country’s prime minister Viktor Orban on Fox News has predictably provoked an intense reaction.

Many critics see this as the latest sign of a growing fondness for authoritarianism and even fascism on the American right. The drift toward Caesarism is very real, as I’ve examined on more than one occasion in recent weeks. Yet conservative admiration for Orban has other sources, and it’s crucial to recognize the difference.

For one thing, Orban’s Fidesz Party has actually won elections by wide pluralities — and, if a unified anti-Fidesz opposition holds together, it runs the serious risk of going down to defeat in next year’s parliamentary elections. (Benjamin Netanyahu was unseated in Israel a few months ago by precisely such a unified opposition.) Suffice it to say that a government that comes to power by election and then faces the prospect of being booted from office through the same means can hardly be described as a tyranny.


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