Radio Atlantic: Liberalism’s Last Stand

Viktor Orbán has worked to remove all impediments to his autocratic regime in Hungary. Next week, President Trump will welcome him to the White House.

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Franklin Foer joins Edward-Isaac Dovere to discuss his story in the June issue of The Atlantic, about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Orbán describes his vision of Hungary as an “alternative to liberal democracy,” and in recent years, he’s cemented his power by undermining civil society.

When Orbán’s party won a majority last year, it rewrote parts of the constitution, redrew parliamentary districts, and stacked courts. Foer details how one of the last independent institutions—a university in Budapest founded by George Soros—has fought back against Orbán’s efforts to expel it from Hungary.

These efforts have not been met with condemnation from Donald Trump’s administration. To the contrary, when he spoke with Foer, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary said, “I can tell you, knowing the president for a good 25 or 30 years, that he would love to have the situation that Viktor Orbán has.”

Next week, President Trump will welcome Orbán to the White House.

How has Hungary found itself losing its democracy? What does it mean for the future of Europe? And what role does the United States have in all of this?

Listen for:

  • Orbán’s surprising political trajectory and how he’s concentrated power in Hungary

  • How Soros—whom Orbán now demonizes to political effect—actually helped launch Orbán’s career

  • How the university Soros founded in Budapest became a focus of Hungary’s antidemocratic efforts