Hard Right rising

The Republican Party in Texas, the second largest state in the land, actually found the election illegitimate. What is most concerning for us in Europe is the potential alliance of the American anti-democratic right with similar-minded political entities on our continent. This is perhaps best reflected in Hungary’s hosting of a Trump-aligned Conservative Political Action Committee meeting in Budapest last month. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has become a darling of the U.S. hard Right. These people see Orban as a fellow cultural warrior. They admire him for his authoritarian stance, his unashamed promoting of one-party rule, and his campaigns against immigration and gay rights. They applaud Orban’s promotion of Christianity as fundamental to beating back the, presumably Muslim, nonbelievers.

Even more troubling is the American Right’s shared admiration of Orban’s partner, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prior to the war in Ukraine, social media on the Right was filled with laudatory comments and videos about the toughness of the “nonwoke” Russian military. I cannot stress the disbelief that we in the embassy felt in seeing more than a few on the American Right describing Putin, a war criminal, with affection. Europe, of course, is not immune to such fascist pressures as well. Alongside Orban, we’ve seen Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party winning up to 80 seats in the French National Assembly. This growing alliance of the American and European hard Right should trigger memories of the dark period just prior to World War II.

The question is, what do we in Europe do? As a close ally of the U.S., we are at an inflection point. Do we offer friendly advice to the GOP that would be morally and ethically correct but likely to have zero actual effect? Indeed, such an effort may cause a backlash from our American friends. Or do we just remain totally silent as we watch a major political party of our closest ally fall deeper into a hole that may not be recoverable?