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Emma Cunningham / Gavel Media

Orbán’s Hungary: The Ally Trump Needs

Hungary is currently under the leadership of a far-right regime, threatening democracy and limiting personal freedoms within the Eastern European nation. The Hungarian shift from liberality to far-right politics could provide a roadmap for Republicans in the United States 2024 presidential election and years to follow.

The Hungarian government has been making headlines internationally for its right-wing policies and demotion from liberal democratic status per the European Union (EU). This comes decades after Prime Minister Victor Orbán revolutionized the liberal Fidesz party and began conservative reconstruction of the nation.

Hungary joined NATO and the EU under Orbán’s power in the '90s, at a time when the Fidesz party was proudly left-wing and democratic. According to BBC, in 2010, Orbán cracked down on democracy in Hungary and began to rule with authoritarianism. He changed the Constitution of Hungary allowing for the preservation of his power in under two years. Now, Orbán works to preserve a white, Christian, nationalist way of life by closing Hungarian borders and eliminating conversation about gender and sexuality in the media and schools, as explained by Human Rights Watch.

The Hungarian regime does not gain a lot of attention from the American press, and many do not realize the importance Hungary holds regarding Russian relations. Hungary is the closest member of the EU to Russia and was the blockade limiting Sweden’s alliance with NATO until last week. Hungarian policies closely limit the personal freedoms of citizens, and Orbán flaunts his "illiberal democracy."

Hungary’s regression from democracy comes at a time when America is facing extreme political polarization, especially preceding the 2024 presidential election. Alarmingly, American right-wing conservatives have been working together with Hungarian institutions. In fact, Orbán visited Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on March 8.

Orbán posted to X, "We need leaders in the world who are respected and can bring peace. He is one of them! Come back and bring us peace, Mr. President!"

A Hungarian-American alliance would be one to look out for if far-right leaders were to emerge victorious in the 2024 election. Conservative American figures, like Trump and Mike Pence, already suggest policies that reflect those in Hungary in terms of immigration, Christian nationalism, and LGBTQ+ rights. According to Reuters, Hungary’s alliance with NATO is also loose, and the relationship might look appealing to leaders like Trump.

The United States presidential election is nine months away, and Orbán’s Hungary reflects Trump’s personal goals for his country. The Hungarian repression of liberality and democracy could begin to inch into the American political playing ground if voters do not stay in tune with the candidate’s alliances and foreign national policies. The political field of Hungary and its impacts on America and international relations are ongoing and will continue to shape right-wing ideology. As the election inches closer and relationships become crucial, we will continue to cover Hungary’s role, including how it came to be the illiberal state it is today.

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