Trumpism in Europe; Hungary's Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban Targets LGBT Community
Donald Trump's victory in 2016 didn't happen in a vacuum. He adopted policies circulating through Europe and adapted them to America. Trump and Steve Bannon, who became his adviser on such things, saw Brexit in the UK along with the rise of Marine Le Pen in France and the election of far right politicians in Poland and Hungary as a bellwether for political change in Western democracies. It was a reactionary movement against immigration, secularism, and globalism and Bannon realized that America was ripe for its own franchise with a bit of racism and gun culture sprinkled into the mix.
Washington Post: [In 2018] "former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon barnstormed through Europe with grandiose plans to knit together a transnational right wing in Europe and North America. He hailed Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a “hero,” a “patriot” and an inspiration for Western politics. “What I’ve learned is that you’re part of a worldwide movement that is bigger than France, bigger than Italy, bigger than Hungary — bigger than all of it. And history is on our side,” Bannon told a crowd in the French city of Lille. “The tide of history is on our side.”
Trump has been sidelined, but his movement has infected the entire Republican Party and ultranationalists are still a force in Europe. Hungary's culture war Prime Minister Viktor Orban is one of the most successful examples.
Orban and his Fidesz Party, which promotes "Christian nationalism," passed legislation last week that bans the dissemination of content in schools deemed to promote or support the LGBT community. The idea seems to be that if gay folks can't read books about other gay individuals, they won't be gay anymore. Apparently, no one informed Orban that the Catholic Church and most nations tried that for about 1500 years and it only served as a vehicle to stigmatize and marginalize a sizeable segment of the population.
Hungary's populist Prime Minister is facing a difficult election next year and his political base eats up his gay-bashing agenda. Gay marriage is still illegal in Hungary and only heterosexual couples can legally adopt children.
Originally an atheist when he entered politics, Orban has now embraced a conservative, old testament understanding of Christian values, much like Donald Trump and other white nationalists. Orban has used his new-found religion to rail against Jews and Muslim migrants who entered Europe from Syria during the civil war.
And, Orban has become the darling of right-wing nationalists throughout Europe because of his populist anti-immigrant, pro-racial purity nostrums, and he was one of the first politicians to spout "replacement theory" nonsense.
France24.com: "... Orban is now also the darling of nationalists, from France's Marine Le Pen to Geert Wilders of the Netherlands. White supremacists say they want to settle in "racially pure" Hungary."
The era of Christian nationalism is far from over in Europe and it's a good bet that the United States will see its return in 2022. You can already see the outlines of the GOP's next campaign, stoking backlash against trans-athletes, the border, and Critical Race Theory. Politicians like Orban and Trump will continue their appeal to prejudice and resentment until voters realize that they use such issues to divert us from the real, but far more complex matters that face us such as the climate and growing income inequality.
Garret Martin and Carolyn Gallaher of the American University School of International Service wrote an interesting piece titled "Viktor Orbán’s use and misuse of religion serves as a warning to Western democracies," last year that explains some of the reasons that Orban's brand of white Christian nationalism has been successful in Europe.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content