The American right increasingly looks to Hungary as a model for the United States. They already have the antidemocratic tactics down. Now they’re looking to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán for a comprehensive political philosophy to match.

By Ben Beckett, Jacobin

At first glance, “Viktor Orbán will speak at CPAC” reads like a simple news item. In reality, it’s an ominous political forecast. If we want to understand conservative leaders’ designs for the country, it’s worth asking why the activists and intellectuals who gather at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) have made the right-wing Hungarian prime minister their guest of honor.

Viktor Orban at an EU meeting

The American Right has always had an instrumental view of democracy, happy to play by the rules to achieve its ends and equally happy to discard them when they get in the way. Across the country, Republicans draw unfair voter districts and pass arbitrary rules to suppress the vote. They fire bureaucrats who won’t tow their line. They abuse arcane procedural rules like the filibuster to help them stack the judiciary and grind the basic functions of government to a halt.

From an objective standpoint, all this rule-rigging makes it difficult to establish how much of a mandate any particular conservative government has, though that never stops Republicans from claiming one when they’re in the majority and pressing their advantage as far as they can. If they still can’t come up with enough legislative support for their agenda after all that, their lifetime-appointed activists in the judiciary simply concoct a legal argument for their desired outcome.

Read More