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Hungary's media react to news of Donald Trump’s victory

Not surprisingly, reactions in Hungary's government media, as well as in Jobbik and the extreme-right media, are celebratory of Trump's victory as another nail in the coffin of elitist liberalism. But not all of Hungary is reacting so positively to the election results. We have gathered editorials from a spectrum of leading Hungarian media about Trump's victory.

Media sources close to the Hungarian government attributed the Trump victory to a liberal elite out of touch with ordinary people and with reality. Pro-government daily Magyar Idők criticized the "dreamworld" of President Barack Obama and of liberalism at large, charging that Western leaders have been pursuing a system of ideals that is unworkable in reality, and has dictated a discourse on issues that don't concern ordinary people.
"The shocking result of the American presidential elections really wouldn't be so strange if this dreamworld were not so mesmerizing and hadn't become the real home of international media and politics, and if so many leaders of Western civilization hadn't broken away from real life," wrote Magyar Idők.
This liberal dreamworld and its architects had scorned and mocked those of their countrymen with different perspectives, because "they are stupid, they listen to populist rhetoric, they are easily led, they believe the lies, they are racist, and are not even worth living with." Such an elitist attitude, perpetuated in the media and in elite cultural spheres by Robert De Niro, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, George Soros and others, had widened the gap between those with political power and those without.
"For them, the American flag and the national ethos mean something different, because it looks different from a village in Nebraska than it does from a luxury apartment on the top floor of a Park Avenue skyscraper," the article continued. The election of Trump was a sign to politicians that they must become closer to those they represent and to hear their voices, and to make decisions that might be internationally unpopular but necessary domestically.
Another conservative Hungarian newspaper, Magyar Hirlap, published an opinion piece by Gyula T. Máté which begins with a reference to Hillary Clinton's "botox-tormented face," and goes on to make similar criticisms, not only of the American liberal elite but also the European Union.
"[Trump] could win because the underestimated 'rural American rube' stood up beside the closed factory cities and the manual laborers of the so-called Rust Belt," Máté wrote. "Because they had had enough of having their lives sacrificed on the altar of the almighty dollar."
The same kind of dissatisfaction had prompted Great Britain to leave the European Union months earlier, Máté argued, and Trump's victory represents a definitive answer to liberal "PC [politically correct] dogma" that could sweep Europe.
"I wonder what awaits the French prime minister (sic), good Francois [Hollande]?" wrote Máté. "And what will happen if Trump sweeps out the Washington mainstream stables? What if something similar gets into the minds of the peoples of Europe, who are increasingly open to revolutions? What happens if the 'rural rubes' pop the liberal PC balloon here too?"
On Válasz, András Zsuppán thinks the Prime Minister took great risk in his early approval of Trump's candidacy – and won. In a way, his position was also based on cool analysis, since the Clinton team and the State department staff John Kerry inherited from her was vehemently anti-Orbán anyway and he had nothing to lose, it could be argued. Nevertheless, calling Ms Clinton's migration policies 'lethal' for Hungary was a great affront which would have surely been remembered had Hillary Clinton won, Zsuppán remarks. And, he adds, the world expected her to win. PM Justin Trudeau of Canada made an anti-Trump speech in front of the UN General Assembly in September. Boris Johnson, shortly before becoming Foreign Secretary said he wouldn't go to New York because he was afraid he might come across Donald Trump there. In the circumstances, taking Trump's side was a daring move, the conservative commentator thinks. He also believes that it will not be unnoticed in Washington. In his closing remark, Zsuppán draws attention to Mr Orbán's gut instinct about what ordinary people feel, which often prompts him to take surprising steps against the dominating trends, disregarding well established ideas and the opinion-leaders representing them. This time, he notes, events proved him right.
Jobbik-connected news portal decried the elitism of "Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Manhattan", declaring Trump's election to be a "revolution" in response to the "slow backsliding of the white working population." The election result was less victory for Trump than "the failure of the old elite," including that of Hollywood which "has spent the last 15-20 years in a heroic struggle for the rights of homosexuals, transgenders, blacks, immigrants, and homosexual transgendered black immigrants, while they humiliated, spat on, and laughed off the white lower-middle class." Those voting for Trump hadn't necessarily done so in the belief that he would serve their interests in the long term, but rather because "finally not Barbra Streisand, Cher, Bloomberg or CNN are saying what's cool, but them: the despised, ridiculed, pitied majority." said the mainstream media is also to blame for disaffecting working white people by giving priority of coverage to special interest stories, and legitimizing "PC" discourse on college campuses, where words like "racist" and "sexist" often come up, while words like "white trash" have come into everyday use. Issues such as transgender bathrooms had dominated the media while tens of millions of people had been left out of the economic recovery, and little had been done to improve conditions for working people.
Trump's election certainly managed to send "the biggest f**k you in human history" to Hollywood and media elites, the article concluded. But Trump's election "signals a much smaller change than his opponents are scared of, or that his supporters dream of".
In an article titled "Trump is victorious, the world is now a more dangerous place," Péter Magyari, a journalist with liberal newsportal, explains Trump's victory as perhaps one of the most important consequences of the "cultural counter-revolution" that has swept across the Western world in recent years, the very counter-revolution responsible for the Brexit referendum and the Polish and Hungarian governments.
Magyari's ominous outlook suggests the Trump presidency may very well be the final nail in the coffins of the European Union and NATO.
"In his campaign, Trump belittled both international organizations," Magyari wrote. "Because these organizations guaranteed peace in Europe during previous decades, the world may become a more uncertain and dangerous place with Trump's victory."
In terms of how the Trump presidency will affect Hungary, Magyari writes: "[We can be] certain that the world's political emphases will change [with] Trump's victory. For Hungary, this may also mean that the country will become more defenseless against Russian influence."
In his piece titled "Twilight of the west?", András Jámbor, a writer for blog Kettős Mérce, argues that Trump's victory may be a result of faith being lost in the financial and political system.
"An enormous block of voters in the most developed countries do not feel as though their countries were their own, instead they see [their countries] and leaders as corrupt and unresponsive. [These voters] are inclined to usher in an earthquake to make their feelings known," Jámbor writes.
According to Jámbor, "the elites" ignored the feelings of the masses by sweeping these problems under the rug. This tactic failed, and inevitably resulted in Brexit and Trump's victory.
"Does the elite have an answer for this problem? How will they respond to these emerging anti-elite autocrats? How will they earn the trust of the voters? Is it possible for the people to take power in their own hands and build real democratic systems?" he asks.
Index journalist Gábor Miklósi published a piece focusing on the much more immediate consequences of a Trump administration, which were largely covered in this New Yorker piece.
Trump made some pretty serious threats during the campaign, Miklósi points out, including locking Hillary Clinton in prison, suing all the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, and regulating the media reports of him that were too critical.
According to Miklósi, while it is not likely that Trump will throw Clinton in the slammer or sue every woman who made allegations against him, his open praise of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Il, his disregard for basic rights and the defense of America's allies, his racism, sexism and ignorance of science provide plenty of reason for alarm. Should Trump actually press forward with what – based on his own statements – many believe to be autocratic inclinations, the Trump presidency will be greatest test of the foundations of America's democratic institutions to date.
But according to Szabolcs Panyi of Index, even with all its problems and challenges, the United States is a strong and developed democracy with strong checks and balances capable of checking presidential power. Trump will be forced to seek consensus with American society, Congress and civil society.
"Regardless of what Trump promises his immigrant-fearing voters, things in America don't work like things here where it only takes a few months to send soldiers down to the Serbian and Croatian borders to put up a barbed-wire fence, or where it is possible to set the State Audit Office upon fussy civil society organizations," Panyi writes.
In a piece published in Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Tóth described the US elections as a "revolution."
"It isn't simply that Hillary Clinton was defeated. Everything that defined America and the fate of the world since the end of the Cold War was defeated," Tóth writes.
According to Tóth, at this moment Clinton's defeat is a much more important fact than Donald Trump's victory, "and this defeat is shared by the entirety of liberal mass media."
Tóth expressed criticism of the uncritical manner in which mainstream media reported on the campaign, but he also points at the faults of more grassroots outlets such as Breitbart, describing them as "those which do meet the most basic conditions of professional journalism."
"We can now see that Trump's victory is a sign of defeat for the now dysfunctional mass media, the pollsters and public opinion researchers, and wishful thinking," Tóth writes.
According to Tóth, "the leaders' illiberal ballot revolution is not one [and] the same with the dissatisfied masses that have put them into power. [These leaders] consider increasingly autocratic styles of governance, or the restoration of those systems, as the mechanism through which to stay on top of an increasingly chaotic world."

Last Updated on Friday, 11 November 2016 08:07

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