It wasn’t front page news, and it wasn’t a “huge” story – it hit my newspaper on page three, and measured maybe five by five inches:
But it was Trump’s handwriting on the wall, a loud and clear declaration of his intent after he wins the presidential election in 2024.
And make no mistake:
If Trump is alive in 2024, he will run for president.
And when he runs, it sickens me to say it, but – he will win.
In early January Trump endorsed the Hungarian prime minister, who’s running for reelection this spring.
If I were handed a map of Central Europe with the countries unidentified, I’d have to stop and think before pointing at Hungary. And of course, I couldn’t name the Hungarian prime minister. So, for my clarification:
Hungary is about 36,000 square miles, and has a population of around 10 million. The country’s capital and largest city is Budapest, and Hungary is a member of the European Union.
And here is the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán:
Orbán is a Hungarian politician who served as prime minister from 1998 to 2002, and now since 2010. He’s the leader of Fidesz, a national conservative political party.
So, a not-so-large country led by a not-super-high-profile guy.
Why would Trump bother to endorse him?
On January 3 Trump said,
“Viktor Orbán of Hungary truly loves his Country and wants safety for his people. He has done a powerful and wonderful job in protecting Hungary, stopping illegal immigration, creating jobs, trade, and should be allowed to continue to do so in the upcoming Election. He is a strong leader and respected by all. He has my Complete support and Endorsement for reelection as Prime Minister!”
Here, in contrast, is what some media outlets say about Orbán:
“Mr. Orbán and his party have steadily consolidated power in Hungary by weakening the country’s independent and democratic institutions – rewriting election laws to favor his Fidesz party, changing school textbooks, curbing press freedoms, overhauling the Constitution and changing the composition of the judiciary…a far-right foreign leader who has touted turning his country into an ‘illiberal state.’” – New York Times 1/3/22
(Once again, for my own clarification: Illiberal: opposed to liberal principles; restricting freedom of thought or behavior.)
“Consider what Orbán has done in recent years to consolidate power and establish himself in the mold of a prototypical authoritarian:
Seized control of the university system in the country.
Changed election laws.
Altered textbooks to reflect his anti-immigration stance.
Cracked down on independent media.”
– CNN 1/4/22
“Since taking power in 2010, Orbán and his far-right Fidesz party have embraced one-party rule, radically overhauled Hungary’s constitutional system, and promoted what Orbán calls ‘illiberal democracy.’”
“Orbán’s hardline stance on immigration and increased control over the country’s press, judicial system, and academic institutions have also raised questions about Hungary’s membership in the European Union. Last year, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), a group that monitors the health of democracies, ranked Hungary among the world’s top 10 autocratizing countries.” – Insider, 1/3/22
“…Orbán, who has championed ‘illiberal democracy’ and become a pariah among European Union members…During the past decade, Fidesz, Orbán’s political party, has introduced a new constitution that weakened judicial independence and human rights protections. Orbán has also curbed the rights of journalists and expanded government control of the media.” – Washington Post, 1/3/22
Hell, this guy – Orbán – built not one, but two border walls:
Trump and Orbán – in matching, overly long red ties – had a bromance at the White House in 2019:
And Orbán endorsed Trump twice – in 2016…
…and in 2020:
OF COURSE TRUMP LOVES THIS GUY!
And Trump is telling us – loudly and clearly – that when he wins in 2024, Orbán’s playbook is the one he’s going to follow.
With additional tips from the likes of Putin, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, Bolsonaro, bin Salman…
And who’s going to stop Trump? These suck-ups?
They’re too busy with other plans, as described in this January 6, 2022 Union-Tribune editorial:
“Since Trump asserted the election was stolen after TV networks declared Biden won, state-level Republican operatives in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan have set plans in motion to allow them to throw out election results they don’t like. Their main method is to rewrite state laws to shift the certification of results from nonpartisan officials to partisans, and to allow these partisans to decide which ballots to count and which to reject. They are also preparing legal arguments that state legislators have the authority to override voters decisions.”
This writer in New York Magazine summed it up well:
“…the scary thing is that Trump’s admiration of the Hungarian apostle of ‘illiberal democracy’ is most clearly aspirational…Orbán is what Trump dreams to become.
“…the Hungarian leader is a wizard at giving himself authoritarian powers that distort democracy into something very dissimilar, much like the ‘heads, I win; tails, you lose’ system Trump transparently favors where his manifest greatness cannot be legitimately repudiated.
“So in Orbán’s Fidesz party, we see Trump’s vision for the GOP: a populist model featuring Christian nationalism seasoned with racism and xenophobia, endless attacks on ‘globalist elites,’ and an ever-heavier thumb on the electoral scales.”
Trump’s handwriting is on the wall.