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Conservatives continue with their disturbing Orbán infatuation

Republicans continue to heap praise on illiberal Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán — and Americans would be wise to take note.

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Over the past year and change, I’ve noted the MAGA movement’s infatuation with Hungary’s authoritarian leader, Viktor Orbán.?

Many conservatives praise Orbán — a bigoted and illiberal ruler — as a model for the style of leadership they’d like to see in the U.S. And the right’s Orbán obsession only seems to have grown recently, as right-wing figures openly ponder their own antidemocratic dreams.?

Donald Trump praised Orbán as “probably, like, one of the strongest leaders anywhere in the world” during an October campaign rally at which the former president incorrectly referred to Orbán as “the leader of Turkey” and seemed not to know basic geographic facts about Hungary. (As my MSNBC colleague Steve Benen explained, this was far from the only time Trump has gushed over Orbán.)

Kari Lake, the Arizona Republican and U.S. Senate candidate who has seemingly softened her anti-abortion rhetoric of late, recently heaped praise on Hungary’s abortion policies at a Trump rally in Florida.

Hungary has tightened its abortion laws and created cruel barriers for abortion seekers, but Lake falsely claimed Hungary hasn’t changed any of its abortion laws, lauded the country for “supporting families” and praised a tax break for young Hungarian mothers that’s seen as a way to combat immigration.

And on Wednesday, the influential New York Young Republican Club hosted an event for officials affiliated with Orbán’s fascist-friendly Fidesz Party.

You may remember the club for hosting an inflammatory fundraising gala last December that featured House Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, George Santos and Matt Gaetz, as well as Donald Trump Jr. and several other far-right extremists.?

Wednesday’s event, called “Viktor Orbán — The Defender of Europe,” featured several people associated with the Fidesz Party, whose members have been known to use antidemocratic means — like gerrymandering — to entrench their power. (Is it becoming abundantly clear to you why the party appeals to today’s GOP?)

The event even included Hungarian violinist Zoltán Mága, who I'm going to assume was invited largely because of his last name.

Needless to say, the event was heavy on Hungarian hype. And that’s noteworthy.

Trump is reportedly looking to establish his own Orbán-esque government if he wins the 2024 presidential election — one equipped with an army of lawyers and political appointees that would allow him to effectuate his authoritarian vision.?

And the praise that Trump and fellow conservatives are heaping on Hungary’s administration seems like an indicator of the regime they’d try to construct in the U.S. if given the chance.?

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