David Roberts

David Roberts



It is so wild to me that they're holding CPAC in Hungary, openly celebrating Orban's defeat of democracy, openly planning to do the same in the US ... it's just all out in the open now. And still the media can't seem to convey it clearly to the public.

This, at least, the US right has understood since Nixon's time. It's too bad the left just stood by with its thumb up its ass while the right built a propaganda machine that now effectively immunizes it from consequences no matter what it does.

.@today_explained has been doing a great series of episodes on Hungary & Orban. This one gets a little into Orban's history -- you won't be surprised to hear that he's an utterly amoral opportunist who says whatever is necessary to gain power.

CPAC is basically Coachella for Christian nationalists.

It's important for Americans to understand that Orban did not defeat democracy with any dramatic police action or coup. There were no troops in the streets. In most ways, the formal *appearance* of democracy is still in place. There are still campaigns; people still vote.

Orban just gradually exerted more & more control over media, until they are all beholden to him. He ensured that private companies loyal to his regime profited & that those that didn't suffered. (See: DeSantis on Disney.)

You might say Hungary still has the body of a democracy, but the soul of democracy is gone. The free flow of information, the level playing field, the fair competition among candidates, it's all gone, but if you're not LGBTQ or otherwise marginalized, it can still FEEL normal.

This is the new blueprint for the right: not some dramatic overthrow, but steady erosion of the mechanisms of democracy until only a hollow shell is left & one-party control is, if not inscribed in law, ensured in practice.

In many ways this is *more* dangerous than an explicit bid for autocracy. It deprives opponents of singular, dramatic events around which to rally. It's incremental, each step a little further than the last, nothing that trips alarms or sparks organized resistance.

Not to be gloomy, but IMO, these two years of unified Dem control were the last chance to take dramatic action to forestall the Hungary-fication of America. Thanks to Sinema & Manchin, they didn't do that, so ... that's where we're headed.

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