Why Do Conservatives Love Hungary’s Viktor Orbán?


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When the New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz first heard that the Conservative Political Action Conference, the flagship event of the American conservative movement, was being held in Hungary, he thought it might be a joke. “A lot of people have worried for a few years now that the Republican Party is becoming more ambivalent about certain bedrock norms of American democracy,” Marantz told David Remnick. “To openly state, ‘We’re going to this semi-authoritarian country’ . . . I thought it was maybe a troll.” But CPAC Hungary was very real, and the event demonstrated an increasingly close relationship between American conservatives and authoritarians abroad, which Marantz writes about in this week’s issue. Viktor Orbán wins elections and claims a democratic mandate, but his legislative maneuvers and rewrites to the constitution have rendered political opposition increasingly powerless. Marantz finds the admiration for him from many on the American right unsettling. “I couldn’t really imagine a Putin-style takeover” of power in America, Marantz says, but “this kind of technical, legalistic Orbán model” seems all too plausible.

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