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Tucker Carlson went to Hungary. He’s filming a week of his crazed, sycophantic, lunatic fringe
talk show on-location in one of the most autocratic countries in Europe. It is too easy to shrug your shoulders and write off what he is doing. “Wow! He’s nuts! He’s sucking up to another dictator, fine, ok. Same old Tucker, ha ha! This could never happen here, in America.” Couldn’t it?
Before I answer that – let’s look at Hungary. You will quickly see exactly why this should be so troubling. So yes, what is happening in Hungary could happen in America. It is only too easy. Tucker and Bannon and the rest of the mob have for years praised Hungarian Prime Minister Orban’s system of government as “what democracy should be” and “the future of Western civiliza- tion.” Here is just a partial list of Viktor Orban’s anti-democracy tactics that he and his authori- tarian party have used to great effect in Hungary – transforming Hungary’s democracy into a one- party autocratic state. Demonizing the “other”: Orban has successfully inflamed anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic fervor in Hungary, claiming his rule is the only thing that can “defend Hungary’s families” from the threats of immigrants. He built a wall to keep immigrants out and tried to get the EU to pay for it. Hate immigrants? Fear the Jews? Hate minorities? Then you have a home in Orban’s party. He manipulates and stokes these fears constantly to hold onto his own power. He calls it “The Movement,” The media has effectively been turned into state-sponsored propaganda, attacking anyone Orban sees as a threat to his rule. This is a classic authoritarian tactic. He uses it as a cudgel and anyone – including civil servants, judges, anyone who speaks out against him – is a potential target. Brainwashing Hungary’s education system: This is one of the darkest tenets of Orban’s rule. He has fully transformed the education system in Hungary. Must-read novels in schools are by Fascists who supported Mussolini. Orban is using a faux-“culture war” to eradicate critical thought in schools. Subordinating the judiciary: Orban and his cronies have completely transformed what was once an independent judicial system in Hungary into a weapon for Orban’s ruling party. Hungarians can no longer count on an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law or democratic principles. Whatever Orban wants is the law.
Extreme gerrymandering: He’s protecting his reign by stacking the deck. Orban’s party rewrote the political map in 2011 with no independent input. But read the list above again. What items on that list has Trump’s autocratic mob not either accomplished or put on their wish lists? Demonizing the other: Ever hear Trump talk about immigrants- observed all the White Nationalist at the January 6th insurrection complete with Trump banners and Confederate flags. Now they’re blaming COVID on immigrants. A corrupt media onslaught: Turn on Fox, Breitbart, or any of the dozens of outlets creating an alternate reality. Brainwashing the education system: It isn’t just the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world running for school board. It is more endemic than that. They’re using “Critical Race Theory” to get back into schools and get rid of pro-democracy thought. Subordinating the judiciary: This has been Trump and McConnell’s stated goal. They aren’t even hiding it. McConnell hijacked Garland and Trump got three nominees. Now the Supreme Court is a 6-3 ultra conservative cadre. Extreme gerrymandering: Beyond the gerrymandering dozens of GOP-led states have already enacted, more could net Republicans 10+ seats next year, making con- trol of the House – and the rules – simple math. Legitimizing political violence: January 6th is just the beginning. 15% of Americans believe that resorting to political violence is justified to save our country. 26 States are attempting to pass Voting Rights restrictions to ensure their re-election as a minority party.The Department of Homeland Security just released warnings of organized threats to overthrow the government by violence to “reinstate Trump as President.” That scene, of course, is authoritarian movement politics, and it is in full bloom in America. And now you see Trump is encouraging his supporters to sign up for “official Trump supporter cards” that happen to be blood- red and gold with a rather familiar-looking eagle on it. All it’s missing is the swastika it carries. The mask is slipping. There can be no doubt what they are blatantly dog-whistling.. The question is no longer: “what are we going to do about it?” It is “what do we HAVE to do about it?” It is both a sim- ple and a difficult answer. The simple answer is we have to form a coalition of everyone who is pro- democracy. There is no Left vs. Right anymore. No Republican vs Democrat. Only everyone who is ready to work together for one goal: beat the autocrats and save our democracy. Our policy dis- agreements must wait. If we are lucky we can beat this authoritarian movement and then have the arguments again. But if we do not defeat them America as we have known it will cease to exist.