We are in perilous times. We are at a tipping point. Ther xenophobia and racism we are seeing is much more subtle. The words and inflections are calculated to allow deniability. Donald Trump's White House visitor yesterday was Hungary 's white nationalist, Viktor Orbán.
Was I the only one who heard the dog whistle that should have been audible without canine ears? Hungary's Viktor Orbán held on tightly to Trump's distorted philosophy like a scared toddler.
Hungary's white nationalist prime minister
Viktor Orbán in sync with Trump
The Hungarian prime minister gave the false impression that Christians are under attack and that immigrants present an existential problem to society.
Imagine if President Bernie Sanders invited the left-wing Nicolás Maduro to the White House after previous administrations had shunned the Venezuelan strongman. Imagine Sanders then praised Maduro, not only as an ally to the United States but as a wise ruler, and compared Maduro to himself. Then you might begin to understand the chilling message delivered by President Trump through his friendly meeting with Hungarian president Viktor Orbán.
The darkest nightmare haunting liberals since Trump’s rise has been the specter of authoritarianism. The most plausible fear is not a sudden, fascistic crackdown but a gradual upward ratchet of the governing party’s hold on the political system — what political scientists call “democratic backsliding.” And when they cast about the globe for a model of democratic backsliding, the one that always seemed most frighteningly plausible was Hungary.
Hungary possessed the most salient traits of a future Trumpian dystopia. It was a well-functioning democracy hijacked by a right-wing party that gained power by seizing on ethnonationalist resentment and slowly strangling its opposition. The tools Orbán has used to build what he half-euphemistically calls “illiberal democracy” bear a certain eerie familiarity: an electoral system that gives Orbán’s rural base disproportionate clout, his intimidation of independent media and construction of a state news propaganda machine, and the relentless sowing of xenophobic fear.
We have got to eradicate this metastasizing cancer. We do not have much time.
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