Viktor Orban Has Gone From Outlier to Precursor

Viktor Orban Has Gone From Outlier to Precursor
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, July 8, 2021 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

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It’s perhaps a sign of the times that a visit to Hungary by an American television personality known for his provocations on race and immigration has generated international news coverage. But the visit by Tucker Carlson—whose Fox News program has become a clearinghouse of far-right talking points, and misinformation, in the U.S.—has highlighted the ways in which Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s brand of “illiberal democracy” has not only gone mainstream in Europe, but has also become increasingly attractive to the Trump-era Republican Party in the United States.

Carlson is in Hungary as the guest of honor for a three-day gathering organized by a state-funded, right-wing foundation, the Mathias Corvinus Collegium. He has been filming his show while in the country, including a fawning interview of Orban and a choreographed visit to the border fence with Austria that Orban constructed at the height of the 2015 European migrant and refugee crisis.

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