Understanding the rise of Orban: a lesson for western democracies in crisis – My Piece on openDemocracy

Understanding the rise of Orban: a lesson for western democracies in crisis – My Piece on openDemocracy

My recent piece on openDemocracy is discussing how unchecked capitalism led by elites living in their bubbles paves the way to the rise of right-wing extremist. A social crisis created by neoliberalism inherently carries a threat of an autocratic turn. In this perspective small-town Southern Iowa and the Hungarian countryside are not so far away from each other. „Most observers seem to utterly miss the angle that makes the story of Hungary's last decades a case-study with international implications. Viktor Orban’s electoral victories did not happen in a vacuum – they were direct consequences of the disillusionment that most Hungarians felt after 20 years of democracy. While on a superficial level Hungary looked like a fairytale of a free-market transition, the social conditions of the majority of the population entered…
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Populist playbook – Opinion Piece on POLITICO

Populist playbook – Opinion Piece on POLITICO

I was asked by POLITICO Europe to make a quick analysis of yesterday’s Hungarian elections and the lessons they provide on the trend of rising extremist leaders. The playbook of Orban and Trump have striking similarities. "A divided country, where urbanites vote for progressive candidates and rural areas turn to extremism. Two separate societies, each living in their own media bubble. Cultural elites detached from the everyday realities of the countryside. The result? A crushing victory for a hardline conservative strongman" You may read the full piece here on POLITICO.
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The Stakes of the Upcoming Hungarian Elections

The Stakes of the Upcoming Hungarian Elections

This week my piece on the coming Hungarian elections appeared on Mérce, one of the leading independent portals in the nation. Short English Summary: • Fidesz led by Viktor Orban will most probably receive the highest number of votes – still, the elections will have stakes, pretty high ones. • The real question is, whether Orban’s victory will be enough for a 2/3 supermajority in the new Parliament (i.e. have enough seats to pass any kind of legislation, including amendments to the Constitution) • If yes, Orban will set out to eliminate the last two major checks on his power dominance: the current system of municipalities and the still existing independence of the judicial system. • On the other hand, a result short of the supermajority would send an important message…
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Opinion Letter in the New York Times

Opinion Letter in the New York Times

My letter to the editor was published today in The New York Times. As a reply to a recent front-page article, I discuss some points regarding the nature of Viktor Orban’s regime in Hungary. " Mr. Orban’s electoral victories were a result of the disillusionment that most Hungarians felt after 20 years of democracy. Their resentment was rooted in the policies of technocratic elites, who as ardent followers of neoliberal orthodoxy promised that Hungary would catch up with the West. Crony capitalism is not merely a feature of the regime, but rather its main goal. Mr. Orban’s illiberal rise to power served one crucial objective: wealth accumulation for his inner circle. Thus, corruption is not a side effect, but rather the regime’s main ambition."
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Field Report from Iowa

Field Report from Iowa

My piece on the last days of the hard-fought 2016 presidential campaign featuring first-hand experiences from Southern-Iowa was published yesterday. You can read the full text here.
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