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Trump’s victory divides the press

November 14th, 2016

Commentators are sharply divided in their judgements of the result of the US presidential election.  Most of them nevertheless have Hungarian affairs in mind while writing about America.

In Élet és Irodalom, János Széky is convinced that Trump accepts the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and fears that there may be no limits to Russia’s potential endeavours to rebuild its former sphere of influence (to which Hungary once belonged). He quotes his earlier statement according to which Trump’s Hungarian fans are fans of Putin and thus he considers them as traitors.

In Népszava, former MSZP Chairwoman Ildikó Lendvai suggests Hungary’s left should learn another lesson from the US election. Namely that the middle class which helped Trump win could have been a left-wing constituency under different circumstances. She sees two different ways of addressing the complaints of the social strata left behind during a period of increasing income inequality. One is Mr Trump’s, who in her view offers division and hostility towards others. The other way she envisages would be an inclusive solution. And “if that is not what the Left stands for, then I don’t know why it should survive”, Lendvai writes.

In Magyar Hírlap, Zsolt Bayer interprets the outcome of the US election as “a revolt of the sane”, who have put an end to the reign of what he calls “the liberal consensus”. Despite having all the media against them. This prompts him to add incidentally that the Hungarian Left is wrong to claim that no fair elections are possible because of the current right-wing media advantage. He compares the representatives of the liberal consensus to the authoritarian Big Nurse in the psychiatric hospital in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In his closing lines, Bayer writes that “although the liberal consensus looked as though it would perform a lobotomy on us, at the very last minute the revolt succeeded nevertheless.”

In Kettős Mérce, Brigi Kiss disagrees with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who described Mr Trump’s election as president “the victory of democracy’. She cautions against that “exaggeration,” for she believes democracy didn’t win even by Mr Orbán’s standards, who defines democracy as the rule of the majority. Hillary Clinton, she remarks, won the popular ballot by a large margin. She also quotes a tweet by Donald Trump, who famously wrote in 2012 that “the Electoral College is a disaster for a democracy”.

On 888, László Bertha castigates those – including European opinion leaders and the protestors in the United States – who see President-elect Trump as a threat to democracy. In reality, he argues, people show that they are democrats when they accept the outcome of an election when their preferred candidate loses. Those who do not have no right to pose as the defenders of democracy, he suggests. Trump’s victory may be a harbinger of the end, not of democracy, but of what he calls “a liberal monopoly of opinion”.

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