On Sunday evening, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban secured a fourth term after his Fidesz party won an overwhelming victory at the ballot box. Just a day prior, CNN had proclaimed “Top Putin ally facing tough reelection fight in Hungary,” a take that aged like spoiled milk.
Once it became clear that Orban had won, CNN then put out a story entitled “Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian leader and key Putin ally, calls Zelensky an ‘opponent’ after winning reelection.”
Hungary’s authoritarian leader and longtime Russian ally, Viktor Orban, clinched a fourth consecutive term in power on Sunday, after a landslide election win that he touted as a rebuke of liberalism, the European Union and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Orban’s Fidesz party strengthened their position in Parliament despite forecasts predicting a tight race. It won 53% of the vote with almost all ballots counted, enough for a commanding lead over a united coalition of opposition parties.
Just to be clear, Orban has not only condemned Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but he has also supported the EU sanctions on Russia. Yes, Hungary and Russia are close, with the former being heavily dependent on the latter for its energy needs, but to suggest Hungary is a “key” Putin ally at this juncture is a highly simplistic reading of the current situation.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Orban campaigned primarily on a platform of keeping Hungary’s troops & weapons out of the conflict. He has supported most of the EU’s sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine, but resisted going further…
In other words, the Hungarian position is a carbon copy of the German position (and largely, the US position). Still, as expected, Orban’s big win led to claims that Hungary had voted “against democracy.”
If Hungary really votes overwhelmingly against democracy and for corruption I cannot see why it should be accepted in the EU. Kick it out! https://t.co/Z66yrH6PFb
— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) April 3, 2022
It now looks virtually certain that Viktor Orban has been reelected as Prime Minister of Hungary in elections that were dubiously free and barely fair.
It's a dark day for democracy, for Hungary, and for the EU.
— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) April 3, 2022
According to the left, democracy itself is now a threat to democracy. There are no indications the vote in Hungary was tampered with or rigged in Orban’s favor. On the contrary, the process there is open and streamlined. The insinuation that Hungarian voters have no right to choose their leaders is actually anti-democratic in and of itself.
And while this article isn’t meant as a defense of everything Orban has done or will do (for a thorough breakdown of Hungary’s right, click here), the left continues to completely miss the point as to why he’s popular. Hungarians are very traditional. Most of them do not agree with Europe’s descent into boundary-less hedonism. They are anti-abortion, believe in biological sex, are very religious, and generally just want to be left alone.
Orban’s latest victory is not a stain on democracy. Rather, it is democracy in action, which does not guarantee results everyone will agree with. The left does not get to redefine the term to mean “whatever the far-left approves of,” and the rush to proclaim Hungary a dictatorship while trashing it as a poor, less enlightened European country probably only solidified support behind its populist leader.
“I don’t know how we ended up with an American Orban, and neither do my fellow teachers who used to try to chat up first graders about sex.”
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) April 4, 2022
If the left is seeking to prevent an “American Orban,” they couldn’t be doing a worse job of it. Pushing the sexualization of children? Letting the border turn to shambles? Proclaiming the mutilation of children as a federally protected civil right? That’s how you get an even larger populist backlash than occurred in 2016, and it will be well deserved.
Join the conversation as a VIP Member