America’s Most Influential Conservative Conference Is Hosting One Of Europe’s Most Notorious Authoritarians
The 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference will play host to Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The most influential Republican ideas conference lending the podium to Europe’s most notorious nationalist is yet another troubling sign of the right’s embrace of authoritarianism.
Orbán, who recently won reelection for his fourth term as Hungary’s prime minister, has become a darling of the American right by transforming Hungary into an autocratic regime through aggressive nationalist policymaking and the use of executive power to curb criticism and opposition. Orbán’s Hungary is a far-right wet dream, featuring hardline crackdowns on immigration, increased government control of the press, and courts that cater to the powerful.
The CPAC invitation is not entirely unexpected. An international edition of the conference was held in Budapest this May. “Hungary is the laboratory where we have managed to come up with the antidote for progressive dominance,” Orbán said during his keynote address. “The nation comes first: Hungary first, America first.”
The American right has lauded Orbán for his strongman approach to governance. Trump rolled out the red carpet for him at the White House, drawing intense criticism, and sycophantic praise of the prime minister is not uncommon on Fox News. In January of this year, Tucker Carlson released a hack job special lauding Orbán’s antisemtic scapegoating of Hungarian billionaire George Soros.
The conservative idolization of Orbán’s grip on power relies on the acceptance of the Hungarian backslide into autocratic rule, and Orbán’s administration of Hungary has provided a playbook for Republicans trying to fashion the same kind of oppressive, nationalist state out of America. Orbán even unveiled a literal playbook for other nations to emulate his administration during his appearance at the Budapest edition of CPAC. He’ll bring it to America in person this August.