GOP’s new ‘bathrooms, bedrooms and race’ mantra on display at ‘fascist’ CPAC summit: report
Orban scores crushing victory as Ukraine war solidifies support

The Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas was a sign of a troubling fascist direction being chosen by American conservatives.

"Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban won over the crowd at CPAC Texas on Thursday, arguing that his nationalist agenda in Hungary aligns with the goals of the American conservative movement – and sounding a lot like the conference’s upcoming Saturday keynote speaker, former President Donald Trump," CNN reported Thursday. "The right-wing European leader hit guaranteed applause lines – including telling the Texas crowd that 'Hungary is the Lone Star State of Europe' – and criticizing liberals, the news media and the Democratic Party."

During his speech, Orban said he predicted tomorrow's headlines in America would declare, "Far-Right, European Racist and Anti-Semite, Strongman, Trojan Horse of Putin, Holds Speech at Conservative Conference.

MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan described it as fascism and displayed a list of ten Republican election deniers on the ballot.

"They do not believe in liberal democracy," Hasan said. "And so today, in 2022, I'm sorry to say the Republican playbook is Viktor Orban playbook, and you can call that what you want, but I'm going to continue to call it fascism.

Anne Applebaum, author of the 2003 book Gulag: A History and the 2020 book Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism, posted to Twitter four reasons that CPAC "admires" Orban.

"He bent the rules, changing his constitution and altering voting laws in order to remain in power, indefinitely," Applebaum wrote. "He destroyed the independent media; nothing remains but a few websites."

"He doesn't keep his homophobia, his anti-semitism or his racism a secret," Applebaum continued. "He moves, walks and talks like a Ruritanian dictator from a movie."

NYU Prof. Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the author of the book Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present, noted that Fox News host Tucker Carlson traveled to Hungary in 2021 to hype Orban.

"Orban's appearance today at CPAC is the outcome of a carefully cultivated relationship," she said. "He can be the Big Man mentoring the GOP in how to wreck a democracy."

In May, after CPAC held a summit in Budapest, Ben-Ghiat wrote, "we can also see Orban's impact on things like the rollback of reproductive rights in the U.S. Former Vice President Mike Pence previewed the Supreme Court opinion in Budapest last fall as a speaker at Orban’s 'Summit for Democracy' where 'pro-family' agendas, meant to increase the 'right' kinds of births (white, Christian births) twinned with anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ platforms."

Stuart Stevens, the Lincoln Project strategist who has worked on five GOP presidential campaigns, posted, without attribution, “This is why we have always fought: we are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed-race.”

"That’s not David Duke, it’s Viktor Orban, the star of CPAC, the new darling of American conservatism," Stevens noted. "Bathrooms, bedrooms & race. That’s who they are."

Reflecting on the embrace of Orban by the far-right, civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill noted, "over 400,000 Americans were killed in WWII-a war in which 88% of the soldiers were white. And yet we see so many Americans (mostly white) so readily defile the sacrifice of their grandparents and forbears who fought in WWII and defeated fascism, by embracing the rise of fascism here."

"And perhaps that’s because so many who fought fascism abroad were still prepared to tolerate, embrace or promote white supremacy and racism at home. And there’s the rub," Ifill wrote. "Orban and Trump’s rhetoric is not alien to this country. It had been pushed to the margins. But it is not alien."

And that’s why we have to confront and grapple with the contradictions of our history," she counseled. "So that we can understand what calls will resonate in times of fear and stress-calls that repeat earlier unresolved contradictions and threaten the project of building a healthy multi-racial democracy."

Watch Mehdi Hasan's analysis:

CPAC fascism