Domestic retreat and preparation for a battle with Brussels

After spending two days away from the Hungarian scene it is time to return. In government circles the rejoicing over Donald Trump’s election continues unabated. Trump’s victory seems to have energized Viktor Orbán for his renewed fight against the European Union. His preparation for the next battle comes, however, after a number of serious domestic political setbacks. The biggest blow was parliament’s failure to pass the constitutional amendments designed at least in part to strengthen his hand in his negotiations with Brussels.

For a day or so there was talk of dragging the amendments back to parliament for another try, but as of yesterday the government seems to have decided to abandon them. János Lázár, at his Thursday afternoon press conference, made that announcement, adding that unfortunately the opposition parties for selfish political reasons had turned against their own country. Századvég, the government’s servile pollster, promptly published a new poll showing that 85% of Hungarians find it dangerous that the opposition prevented the passage of the constitutional amendments.

Despite this setback, Lázár assured the country that the government will fight to the end to save Hungary from foreign hordes. Of course, if the government doesn’t succeed in Brussels, the fault will lie with the unpatriotic left and right opposition parties. Viktor Orbán’s ire is especially directed against Jobbik. He has always accused the parties on the left of being the agents of Brussels, but by now he has come to realize that “Jobbik is also on the side of Brussels.” Jobbik no longer represents the interests of the Hungarian people. Instead, “they represent the point of view of Brussels in Hungarian politics.” The attacks on Jobbik and in particular on Gábor Vona have intensified in the last few days. It seems that Viktor Orbán’s hatred of Jobbik and its leader at the moment surpasses his hatred of the democratic opposition.

Yet at the same press conference Lázár announced the government’s decision to put an end to the “residency bonds” after all. It was this bond program that prompted Jobbik not to vote in favor of the amendments. This decision doesn’t seem to be tied to a possible future vote on the constitutional amendments. Instead, it looks as if the government is trying to find existing provisions in the constitution to justify the prohibition of foreign populaces’ settlement on Hungarian soil. The scandals that have surrounded the sale of these residency bonds, quite independently from the program’s being exploited by Jobbik for its own political purposes, were becoming a burden on the Orbán government. Giving up these bonds is most likely a painful sacrifice for both the government and the intermediaries who have made a killing on them. The government will be deprived of huge amounts of instant cash which is sorely needed, especially since right now practically no money is coming from Brussels.

The government also had to retreat on the issue of Ghaith Pharaon’s visa. He is the man who has been on both the FBI’s and Interpol’s list of criminals who are being sought. Pharaon in the last few months has been buying up valuable pieces of real estate in Hungary and has close working relations with Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law. At the beginning of this scandal Viktor Orbán in parliament called the American charges against Pharaon “a game of the U.S. secret services,” but, after a lot of contradictory statements, Lázár at last announced that as of November 1 Pharaon has no Hungarian visa and therefore cannot legally enter the country.

Today came another setback for the government. You may recall that I wrote a post in October about government plans for a system of what I called Fidesz party courts. These courts would have functioned under an entirely separate judicial system that would have dealt exclusively with matters pertaining to the various branches of the administration. It was especially worrisome that half of the judges assigned to these courts would have been people who had had at least ten years of experience in public service, which would have made their judicial independence highly questionable.

The reaction to the announcement about the planned administrative courts was one of outrage among the judges and in the public at large. Even Tünde Handó, head of the Országos Bírósági Hivatal, a close friend of the Orbán and the wife of József Szájer, Fidesz MEP in Brussels, objected. However, László Trócsányi, minister of justice, continued to press for a separate administrative court system. Eventually, even Tünde Handó, who had written a 32-page objection to the plan, was forced to half-heartedly support some of the new law’s proposals. Well, today the same Tünde Handó, to everybody’s great surprise, announced on Inforádió’s Aréna program that no changes will be made to the present judiciary system. She repeated her belief that there are enough judges in the present system who can handle cases connected with the state administration. We don’t yet know what made Trócsányi retreat from his forceful insistence on the scheme. At the time of the controversy, he claimed that he had been working on this “reform” ever since he became minister of justice in 2014. Giving up so easily strikes me as odd. Perhaps Fidesz didn’t have enough votes to pass it.

In the face of these retreats the government consoled itself with the wonderful news of Donald Trump’s election. Here are a couple of typical expressions of delight on the part of Viktor Orbán, the only prime minister in the European Union who believes we are seeing the beginning of “a better future for the world with the new president.” Brexit “was the knocking on the door of this new era, but now we have stepped over its threshold.” The future will be bright because “the days of liberal non-democracy are coming to an end and we can return to real democracy.” Orbán seems to define “real democracy” as a political system in which “we can return to straight, honest talk freed of the paralyzing constraints of political correctness.” We have seen what Fidesz means by “straight and honest talk” in the last 14 years if not longer. And we can admire what straight and honest talk produced in the United States during this dreadful year of campaigning.

self-confidence

Finally, I should say something about a special meeting of the 28 EU foreign ministers called together by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister for the coming Sunday. The foreign ministers at their regular session on Monday will be discussing the situation in Turkey. The special meeting is supposed “to assess the implications of Donald Trump’s victory as America’s allies brace for the unknown.” I heard a fleeting remark on Klubrádió (but can’t find written confirmation of it) that the Hungarian foreign minister, István Szijjártó, will not attend the special meeting. Perhaps an undersecretary will represent Hungary. If this is true, the Orbán government would be making a statement about its own divergent opinion of the result of the U.S. election.

The Hungarian government is not at all worried. On the contrary, Viktor Orbán and his minions are looking forward to a wonderful new world. He heads the list of “Europe’s extreme right leaders [who] revel in Trump’s victory.” Euractiv.com puts him in the company of Nigel Farage of Britain’s UKIP, Geert Wilders of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, Beatrix von Storch of Germany’s AfD, Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom party, Tom Van Grieken of Vlaams Belang (Belgium’s far-right Flemish separatist party), Nikolaos Michaloliakos of Greece’s Golden Dawn party, and Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front. Among these politicians Orbán is the only one who is not the leader of a saber-rattling far-right opposition party but is the prime minister of a country that is a member of the European Union. Ah, but just wait, he would say. The dominoes are falling.

November 11, 2016
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Member

Interesting reading.

Re: Orban rejoicing in Trump’s victory. I wonder if they ever stop to think what happens when one protectionist country meets another. The US is big enough to survive, but Hungary, no chance. Also, Trump on NATO members who don’t pay there share, which is 2% of GDP – why should they enjoy the protection. Hungary pays 0.85%, third from last on the list. Fidesz don’t have a clue or care, about international politics, they are just flotsam and jetsam in the ocean of real world power.

Additionally, the Trump result pushes Hungary further into the sphere of Russian influence.

Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned”.

Istvan
Guest

We will see, but it is possible Trump is willing to grant Russia defacto hegemony over Hungary, and numerous other Central European nations in return for helping to contain China in the east and Islamic unrest in the Middle East. Trump thinks he can first contain China then latter take on Putin if Russian power looms in too big of a manner.

Putin is without question on to Trump, and could turn on any attempted alliance. Russia could effectively move towards a military alliance with China against the USA. Trump is playing a dangerous game in threatening the NATO alliance and our nuclear shield over Central Europe.

While he was a candidate all of this chatter about NATO was just him mouthing off, now his bullshit comes up against reality. Now he really has to take on China, rapidly obliterate the Islamic State, contain illegal Mexican border crossings, expell 11 million undocumented immigrants, bring magically back millions of lost industrial jobs for his voting base, and oh yes make America great again. A tall order indeed.

webber
Guest

Why in the world do you imagine you know what Trump is thinking about foreign policy? The man says one thing one day, the opposite the next day.

Guest

Perhaps all that might open up a but more with his selection of his cabinet. The fellow will have alot on his plate and the neophyte in foreign policy will need quite a bit of help. It is then I think where we may see that he’ll have to pull back on some of his shallow ideas on the US relationship to Europe and NATO. The campaign bit is over now. Our new POTUS needs to get away from superficialities. It’s a dangerous minefield out there. His pal over there in the ‘East’ wouldn’t blink at making him having to walk the plank onto explosive grounds.

Guest

Re: Orban as Nero

One can make a case he certainly follows the unhinged Emperor in likely ways. The more he pokes the EU in his mischevious scheming the more he unravels its structure for developing unity. With all his mischief, he might as well simply light the fire to destroy the EU, be done with it and fall into the loving arms of Rossiyan bliss. And with that perhaps not realizing the self- immolation he puts the country and the whole continent under. Orban as Nero as the bull in the European china shop.

And last but not least there is always that predilection to blame the ‘other’ for the misfortunes heaped upon the country. Thing is with Viktor today the roles are reversed where it is the Christians who are now dragooned into heaping vitriol on invaders who have the temerity to envision a different kind of life for themselves.

Istvan
Guest
Webber Mr Trump has been consistent on his anti-China stance. His economic revitalization discussion for industry is totally driven by containing Chinese imports, except in the steel sector where he has also targeted Europe. I will not get into how likely Trump will be in successful in rebuilding manufacturing. As to his Sec of State pick right now Newt Gingrich is leading the pack. Gingrich’s focus on foreign policy has been on North Korea and Iran. In general in these far right policy circles North Korea is seen as being cuddled by China and there is much discussion of Iranian Chinese trade relationships. China is believed to have helped Iran militarily in many areas including: conduct training of high-level officials on advanced systems, provide technical support, supply specialty steel for missile construction, provide control technology for missile development, build a missile factory and test range. It is rumored that China is responsible for aiding in the development of advanced conventional weapons including surface-to-air missiles, combat aircraft, radar systems, and fast-attack missile vessels. In 2005, 7 Chinese firms were suspected of selling nuclear weapons technology and all 7 had sanctions placed upon them by the USA. Here is the interesting thing… Read more »
webber
Guest

I disagree. Trump’s consistency towards China has only been in trade policy. Trump has been silent about China’s muscle flexing in the S. China Sea, for example.

Trump has only said he would stop China from violating trade agreements and from undercutting American producers. He has not said a single thing about Chinese military expansion – at least I have heard nothing.

However, Trump has not been consistent about a damned thing, in my view. He is already backpedaling about recalling Obamacare. He has now said that he would leave some aspects of it in place (such as not allowing insurers to refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions). He has said that prosecuting Clinton is not a priority for him (as if he could actually do it! – Trump is being prosecuted for fraud at the moment, btw.)

So, again I will put it to you: How do you know what his policy will be. He has already backtracked on so many issues. He makes more u-turns than a bug in a jar.

Istvan
Guest

When the owners of Walmart supported Clinton instead of Trump because of their fear of a trade war with China and a cutoff of products they sell I think I am in pretty good company in believing he will follow through with his campaign promises on China to the extent he can. The Walton family has never before ever supported a Democrat for President, for that matter neither have I up to this election.

webber
Guest

Sure about that? I quote:
“The Donald J. Trump Collection includes ties, suits, dress shirts, eyeglasses and other accessories.

Trump shirts were made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam…. Trump eyeglasses are made in China.”

“Trump Home has a range of items, including chandeliers, mirrors, bedding, table lamps, cabinets, sofas, barstools, cocktail tables and more…. Several Trump Home items are listed as made in China or imported from China — mirrors, ceramic vases, wall decorations, kitchen items and lighting fixtures.”

“Many hotel amenities at Trump’s hotels were manufactured overseas and imported. Trump Hotel pens were made in China or Taiwan, and imported into the United States via South Korea. Shampoo, body wash, moisturizers, shower caps, laundry bags, show bags, pet collars, pet leashes and bath towels at Trump hotels are all listed as made in China.”

Do you really think he is going to follow through? Why?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/08/26/how-many-trump-products-were-made-overseas-heres-the-complete-list/

Istvan
Guest

Webber you ask questions I believe I have answere and you do not believe I have. Let’ s leave it with this, the likely candidate for Sec Defense now is Jeff Sessions. The same Sessions who wrote this just in September: “As you are well aware, some hostile countries possess biological, chemical, and radiological weapons that have the potential to kill scores of Americans or allied citizens. Terrorist organizations actively seek the expertise to build their own weapons and steal material from countries that possess it. It would be exceedingly unwise to forgo the option of a nuclear strike against such enemies to end a conflict on terms favorable to the United States and its allies.”

Istvan
Guest

Trump on Chinese military: “Now they’re going militarily. They’re building a military island in the middle of the South China sea. A military island. Now, our country could never do that because we’d have to get environmental clearance, and the environmentalist wouldn’t let our country — we would never build in an ocean. They built it in about one year, this massive military port.

They’re building up their military to a point that is very scary. You have a problem with ISIS. You have a bigger problem with China.”
June 16, 2015

webber
Guest

I don’t believe Trump remembers or even meant what he said yesterday, much less what he said two summers ago.

HPI
Guest

If Trump is only 10% less duped than obama or hillary, orban is history.

Guest
Whe Orbán says that “we can return to straight, honest talk freed of the paralyzing constraints of political correctness” he is surely using the royal “we”, and means simply that HE can now dsipsense with any pretence at being a civilized human being and can behave just as badly as he likes with the tacit approval of the leader of the free Western world. Trump’s triumph (sic), aside from his political agenda, if he has one at all, is heralding in an age where it is now OK to be ignorant, bigoted, rude and aggressive. Being uneducated will now be a virtue, instead of a misfortune and a restriction of opportunity. In Trump’s new world it is OK to hate the unfamiliar. It is OK to grope fondle and rape women, presumably including those of the leaders of nations. Will Orbán happily offer Rachel up for grabs? If Orbán so admires all that Trump says and does, we can assume that this will be so. And when the Queen of England, as protocol demands, holds a state dinner for the new incumbent, and they have the obligatory dance, will Trump make a pass at one of the royals? As that… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Hear, hear

Paradoxically Trump was born rich and got good education, Orban came from a village mudhouse and didn’t shine in uni, but both display the same low instincts and behaviour.

true-1956
Guest

Observer maybe wrong about Trump.
One thing, he is not stupid.
A good reference on Trump:
https://youtu.be/hITFfrv55CU

aida
Guest

The much trumpetted (sorry) retreat by Trump to retain parts Obama care maybe a result of his coming up against a restriction on what he can achieve. I am told he needs 60 senate votes to achieve this, but he has fewer. He can use what he has only to tinker with it. Incidentally his campaign promise was to repeal and to replace it. It is not a universally popular measure it seems.
We are certainly in for interesting times. All bets are off.
The Huffington Post carries a poll, (how reliable?) that Bernie would have crushed Trump. 56% to 44%. But let us look forward.

pappp
Guest

aida: fyi that bylaw which currently prescribes that 60 vote majority rule can itself be amended by 51 votes which the Republicans have. This is the so-called nuclear option, but the point is Republicans are capable of doing whatever they want to. The lobbyists and the strategists who will decide, not the Democratic resistance.

Guest

“. . . Republicans are capable of doing whatever they want to.”

Only if most of them want to do the same thing.

webber
Guest

Pappp, you are out of touch. Republican leaders said this week that they would not endorse many of Trump’s policies. They will not pass many of the laws he wants to introduce.

webber
Guest
Member

Newsmax is a disinformation site and can’t be trusted on anything.

pappp
Guest

Well, I think it was you who was out of touch, but of course I may be too. I think the Republicans will find the necessary compromise. The pressure on the right to live with the power to cement what are essentially signature Tea Party program items is overwhelming. The Republicans are also more disciplined. I may be wrong, but I would never underestimate Republicans. They are extremely committed hardliners – they are not the party one got to know in the 1970-1980’s. It’s the same name but a different party. Nixon would be considered a liberal. So whatever journalists say I have to believe that hardliners will eventually unite because they hate Obama and the “liberals”, “communists” and want to destroy them. Hating the same things is a very powerful uniting force. But let’s hope I’m wrong.

webber
Guest

Again, the problem with your narrative is that Clinton got (many) more votes than Trump. In four states that went for Trump, the difference in votes was very small (this is why Clinton’s claim that Comey lost her the election is plausible).
After four years of the Don – if he is not impeached (and I think that is a real possibility) – who do you think will win the elections? I’d put money on the democrats.
At that point, they will be the party of protest. The majority of Americans who voted for them this year will do so again, and all those democrats who stayed away from the election this year will go to the polls with fury in their hearts. And many voters who chose Trump will be ready for anything BUT Trump.

pappp
Guest

My fear is that with the two houses and the presidency in the hands of the same party, the Republicans will enact and entrench their lunatic ideas and the Democrats will not be able to undo those for decades. They are anyway usually more reluctant to act tough (and enter conflicts) but perhaps more importantly it is now exceedingly difficult to obtain majority in the House by Democrats due to the rural/suburban (Republican) vs. urban (Democratic) divide, especially that many such House districts are gerrymendeared. To gain majority in the House Democrats would have to win rural districts all over the US and it’s very difficult. The title of the linked article which I recommend is a bit misleading, it should be more like “Why are Democrats so unsuccessful in rural and suburban districts?”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/03/upshot/why-republicans-dont-even-try-to-win-cities-anymore.html?_r=0

webber
Guest

Pappp, you almost seem to suggest there is a parallel between the US and Hungary. I’d say there is none. In 2010, Orban won with a clear and resounding majority. In 2016 Trump won with a minority of votes.
In 2010, Hungary was still reeling from the protests against Gyurcsány.
In 2016 the US is starting to reel from the protests against Orban.

There is just no parallel here.

webber
Guest

mistyped above! the US is reeling from the protests against Trump, of course.

pappp
Guest
I think there is indeed a parallel. And if you fail to see that you’re making a huge mistake. (As I think there is a parallel with Le Pen who is not running just on anti-Islamism alone or with rural Brexiters who failed to benefit from globalization). Basically Orban in 2010 was Trump in 2016. This is because the trends that propelled Trump to power in 2016 hit Hungary earlier. Remember that in Hungary there was a rendszerváltás which was a bit like globalization hitting Ohio (only more profound, some 30% of the GDP disappeared) but just when Hungary more or less got back to 1989 levels (that was only in 2004-2005, I think) it got hit by another storm in 2008. Similarly that leftist parties (MSZP-SZDSZ) seemed out of touch with voters grievances (whether it was FX morgage loans, utility prices, the roma issue etc.). Obviously dozens of other factors contributed. But there is a trend of the “liberal” (whatever that means) globalist elite/establishment perceived as being out of touch and the negative forces of capitalism hitting people who were used to a more comfortable life who surprise-surprise switch allegiance (from the left to the right, MSZP to Jobbik,… Read more »
webber
Guest

again…
Clinton got about 1/2 a million more votes than Trump.
Digest that.

webber
Guest

see shoopy’s comment below – I agree with it. The Democrats are not in a bad position at all and have every chance to win the election in four years.

pappp
Guest
You argument is like Orban’s: But I got a 98% majority. Yes, but it was invalid. The majority you mention is irrelevant because she had no majority in many important states and the America system is such that just being super popular in a few states cannot make up for your unpopularity it many others. Suddenly losing the reliable rust belt and FL means something and the Democrats must find out what. My ten cent is on the fact that the Democratic party hates to use anger (which is used masterfully by the Republicans) plus the Dems put way too much emphasis on identity issues (blacks, LGBT, Latinos etc.), but people are more complex (ie. Blacks also voted for Trump and the Latinos are a very heterogeneic group but they are nevertheless en bloc treated as a Democratic bunch by the Dems themselves, which is really problematic I think). But since the progressive side in the last 50 years has been basically a ragtag of identity movements (as opposed to a more overtly class based movement) it will be difficult to abandon this approach. I check the NYTimes regularly and it occurred to me that it spent orders of magnitude… Read more »
petofi
Guest

The first casualty of Trumpism–Leonard Cohen.

Though aging, he was not ready to die; but he saw the darkening with Trump and decided to let the strains of life slip away.

I suppose, in his view, it was too far toward the return of decency, courtesy,
and elegance. Better to leave the stage…

(And for the rest of us, the swampish reality of Trump, Pyutin, Erdogan, and the little gypsy gone bananas-)

Member

” he was not ready to die”

Just the opposite is true!
His last album “You Want It Darker” appeared less than two months ago.

The refrain of his first song of the same title, which he sings three times is [and the first refrain is preceded by a quote from the Kaddish]

“Hineni Hineni
I’m ready, my Lord”

Genesis, 22:1
“Some time later God tested Abraham.
He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Hineni [Here I am] ” he replied.”

Member
Guest

Cohen….The arts lost a great poet in song. He did well in his vocation. It appears he followed his contemporary Bob Dylan who implored his listeners… ‘Gotta serve somebody’.

Guest

At least Leonard Cohen (btw one of my favourite poets/songwriters/musicians …) had a full life.
I’ll never forget when I heard “Bird on the wire” the first time as a student almost 50 years ago …
The Guardian had not only an obituary but also many articles by fans and friends – very moving!

Ferenc
Guest

Leonard Cohen actually died on monday, the day before “Trumps””.
Furthermore he was ready to die, listen to his last album released a few weeks ago, and since a few years he knew he had a fatal disease.
As far as I know, although living in California, he remained Canadian till his death. Lucky Leonard……..

Member

The retiring manager of LapCom, which owns two regional daily newspapers:

Fidesz (by proxies) pays 5 times the market price for the mass media. The total expenditure of the ruling party to buy up the media has been about 28 billion forints so far.

For example, I offered 0.9 billion (its true value) for origo.hu, but Fidesz paid 4.2 billion.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/201646__pallagi_ferenc__lerabolt_sajto__nepszabadsag__nem_negy_evre_terveztem

Member

This is how turnout changed from 2012 (actual) to 2016 (estimated):

comment image

Member

2016 National Popular Vote Tracker:

“https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/133Eb4qQmOxNvtesw2hdVns073R68EZx4SfCnP4IGQf8/edit#gid=19”

Member

Those numbers show that this election was a lot closer than people might think based on the final electoral vote tally.

If Clinton had picked up just three swing states that Trump won, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, she would have won the Electoral College. The margins in all three were VERY close:

State – # of votes Clinton lost by
Pennsylvania – ~68,000 (1.1%)
Wisconsin – ~27,000 (0.9%)
Michigan – ~13,000 (0.3%!)

Add them up, and if Clinton had only gotten an extra 108k people to vote for her collectively in just those three states she would have won the election.

Istvan
Guest

Now irrelevant unfortunately shoopy. It can also be noted that Trump nationally got fewer votes than Romney did (60,933,500), currently Trumps vote total is (60,072,551). The problem is there was limited support for Sec Clinton and there were many non-voters.

Frankly I would rather have Sarah Palin as President. By the way she might be appointed by Trump as secretary of the Interior Department. I am sure the Native American people will be thrilled at that, my wife who is a member of the Seneca Tonawanda Band of New York said “oh my God.” She called her sister who lives on the reservation in the summer to verify I wasn’t trying to mess with her head, and she said she read the same story in politico.

webber
Guest

Palin – well, a lot of Native Americans had serious problems with Clinton, as well. Why don’t presidents put a Native American at the head of the Int. Dept. just for once?
It looks as if Trump might push through the pipeline – possibly literally right over the bodies of protesters and definitely through lands the Sioux see as sacredand as part of a reservation illegally taken from them. That seems likely to end any support Trump might have hoped for from Native Americans in the future.
Personally, I think it’s coming time to get out the war paint. Peaceful protests against that pipeline have gotten people shot with rubber bullets and locked up. By contrast, nobody dared touch those fully armed protesters who took the refuge in Oregon until they finally left, and they have now been acquitted.
Why not get out the hunting rifles? They’re legal. Wounded Knee, episode 3?

webber
Guest

And you can bet, not a few Trump voters out West would support just about anything that sets sights on BLM people and other Feds.
People in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, N and S. Dakota voted for Trump, but anyone who thinks that means they like Feds in those states has never visited a single one of them.

Giuseppe
Guest

I refer to your governament idea of setting up an administrative judiciary system to deal with bureacratic problems for ordinary citizens.
In my country we have it.
At the beginning it seemed a good.idea but.it has become.a problem itself.
It complicated everything because it often conflicts with ordinary Courts and
Trials never end .

Guest

I found the interview of O funny in a way – as reported here:
http://bbj.hu/politics/reality-has-triumphed-says-orban-about-trump-victory-_124646

One thing O and Trump have in common:

They did not get a majority of votes – both victories are based on the flaws in the electoral system!

And especially in the case of Trump:
He cannot change the USA so fast – if his ideas don’t work out in 4 years there’ll be a reckoning!

Of course with the corrupt Hungarian political system things look totally different …

PS: His remarks on the Hungarians working in the UK seemed very strange to me too.

webber
Guest

Trump has now said he will not be getting rid of all of Obamacare. For instance, he says he will keep the part of the law saying insurers cannot refuse to insure people with a pre-existing condition.
He has also said that prosecuting Clinton is not a priority (as if he could do it in the first place).
Thin rays of hope. I’m really grasping at straws here. I truly hope that he will prove to be more presidential than he was in his campaign – I just do not see how a man of his age can change.

Istvan
Guest

He is proposing to keep two aspects of existing law. The ban against insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping children on their parents’ policies to the age of 26. In order to amend the existing law Democrats would have to agree to it ( due to the 60% Senate voting requirement) and Trump made that clear in his interview with CBS or else Republicans would just rescind the Affordable Care Act.

It appears that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” healthcare plan, which would also prevent insurance companies form denying coverage to those with existing conditions and would keep the parental provision is now the model to be implemented (https://abetterway.speaker.gov/_assets/pdf/ABetterWay-HealthCare-PolicyPaper.pdf ). It’s a self insurance scheme that while affordable will likely provide little or no coverage for individuals who are not below the poverty line and have no employer based insurance. But you can read it for yourself Webber.

Member

I don’t think the GOP will replace Obamacare with anything because they can’t agree on a plan. They’ve had 6 years to come up with one but they can’t get anything past the white paper stage. Let’s face it – health care is simply not a priority for the Republicans, and it never has been. I don’t think there’s any impetus to change this.

Istvan
Guest

I don’t think the better way plan would cost too much compared to the Affordable Care Act, so it’s a possible replacement. But for Europeans who think about national heathcare it’s not that really. It’s more a political cover for destroying the Affordable Care Act, which isn’t really affordable for most self employed people not making six figures or more and not making below $28,000 a year when subsidies kick in.

I am lucky because I am covered by both tricare (department of defense) and Medicare due to the fact I am now 70 years old.

Istvan
Guest
aida
Guest

What is the flaw in the electoral system in the US? If you think it is that the popular vote may not be reflected exactly in the electoral college votes is rather old hat. There have been many elections where this happened. Apart from some short term protest the no serious attampt to change it has been proposed.

It is like the UK system of first past the post. I do not know the history but it maybe there were times when there were multiple candidates and the current system helps to weed out those with largish but but not overwhelming following.

As is clear from these posts Trump’s radical promises that require legislation may founder in their original form in any case.

Guest

There’s a joke about Trump’s first day in office going round the ‘net – it made it to Kenya already, don’t know where it originated:
http://www.kenya-today.com/global/wikileaks-donald-trump-first-cia-intelligence-briefing-shocked-powerless
Here’s the last part of it:
Trump: I am deporting all illegal immigrants to south of the border.

Border patrol: You can’t do that, sir.

Trump: Why not?

Border patrol: If they’re gone, who will build the wall?

Trump: I am banning H1B visas.

USCIS: You cannot do that.

Trump: Why?

Chief of Staff: If you do so, we’ll have to outsource White House operations to Bangalore. Which is in India.

Trump (sweating profusely by now): What the hell should I do as President???

CIA: Enjoy the White House, sir! We will take care of the rest!

Member

Fidesz or anybody else should be really cautious about interpreting Trump’s win as a decisive victory for their political point of view. Trump won the Electoral College but it was nowhere near a landslide victory:

1. More Americans voted for Clinton than Trump – around 500,000

2. Trump didn’t flip a single non-swing state from the Democrats’ reliable voting bloc. He had claimed many times, for example, that he would win perennial Democrat-voting New York and New Jersey, but it had been clear for a long time that he wouldn’t even come close (he ended up losing them by 21% and 13%, respectively)

3. Trump only won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida by relatively small margins (see my comment above). Small changes in these states would have lost him the election.

With these results, Democrats should be in reasonably good shape if they can get a presidential candidate in four years that excites their base a lot more than Hillary did (someone like, say, Cory Booker).

A much bigger problem for them are the downballot races in the Congress, statehouses, governorships, etc.

pappp
Guest
I think your calculation is flawed. First, if you look at Obama’s reelection victory, his margins were rather narrow already in the most important bell-whether/battle ground states of OH and FL compared to what they were in 2008. So Romney actually was successful in making Obama’s life difficult and his video about the 47% who live on welfare (or whatever it was) and Obama’s decision to bail out Detroit saved his ass in those rust belt states. So his reelection wasn’t already such a big victory to begin with. If there are states which have been voting Democratic for three decades than even a small margin to the other side is important and shows that something’s changing. But Ohio and Iowa both moved toward the Republicans by something like 10% points which is enormous by any standards (ie. many who voted Obama now voted Trump, you tell me why?). Moreover, Trump did not have a serious “ground game” and he also spent significantly less on the campaign that Clinton did. In a way his was a loughably amateurish campaign. You have to compare his success to these. I agree that the down ballot problems are bigger and this is the… Read more »
Guest

Imho the problem was that too many people stayed at home!

Trump didn’t get more votes than Romney (around 60 mio) – but Clinton also got 60 mio, but that was 6 mio less than Obama 2012 and even 10 mio less than Obama had in 2008 (70 mio)!
This should be analysed by the democrats!

Ferenc
Guest

Agree: too many stayed at home!
The quesion then is: Why?
Did for the home-stayers, considering almost all predictions about Clinton winning, it seem not necessary to vote?
Furthermore the Democrats, if they agree with the system as it is, should go into the country, more away from the coasts. There most US democratic power (seats in both houses and uluimately the presidency) can be gained.

Member

My point is that 1) Trump didn’t fundamentally change the political map of the country, at least not like he promised he would by winning some of the reliably blue states. 2) Lots of those white working class votes can be won back once it becomes clear that Trump won’t be able to bring back lost manufacturing and coal mining jobs. And 3) Democratic voters won’t stay at home in such large numbers when they get a candidate they are excited about. (Clearly that would have been Bernie Sanders for them this time, but it wasn’t to be.)

Keep in mind that the Democrats have won the popular vote in the past 6 out of 7 Presidential elections. They’re not in such bad shape as you might think if they can get their voters to the polls.

pappp
Guest

Ok, I can agree with your first paragraph. But I’m not afraid of the Democrats losing out forever, but about not having the necessary power (2 houses and presidency) to undo the damage that is about to hit the US (and the Western world which used to look at the US as an anchor).

I’m not sure what the thing is with Democrats, why are they so weak in downballot positions but they are. I guess the Dems would need to be tougher but they are always too forgiving and appear weak (see Gessen’s linked article, I mean Trump advocated torture, the imprisonment of Clinton, offended everybody, assaulted women, avoided taxes etc. and then Obama and Clinton suddenly says oh, Trump must be respected and we all need to embrace him because he won??).

webber
Guest

pappp, you act as if the Republicans never had control of both houses and the presidency before. They have. So have the Democrats. The United States survived every time.
There is just no parallel with Hungary here.

And yes, Clinton and Obama say “Give Trump a chance.” And yes, Trump has been saying nice things about both of them. It’s what statesmen do after the election. They say “We lost. Congratulations to the winner.” and plan for the next election.

The United States is not Hungary.

pappp
Guest

The US will survive. I’m not worried about it at all. It’s strong and healthy.

Most Americans wouldn’t know if those changes which the Republicans (which is only in name the same party as the Republicans of 20 or 50 years ago) want to implement happened or not. Most don’t even care. That’s clear.

I’m just more worried about the impending changes than you are and the effect of those on the world, especially on tyrants like Orban.

webber
Guest

Well, I also am worried about Trump’s effect on the world. I think it’s going to be a disastrous presidency – but I hope I’m wrong.

pappp
Guest

“If you look at like the Democratic Party’s problems, it isn’t just the fact that Hillary Clinton just lost to Donald Trump. They are also a minority in the House, a minority in the Senate. They have a record low number of governorships. And then on the state level in terms of state legislatures and even like county commissions and city councils and school boards Republicans are completely dominant.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/12/dissecting-a-trump-presidency/

Member
Ferenc
Guest

For who is interested: Nov.14 in Budapest “Green Economic Forum”, entrance is free (donation kindly suggested), organised by EuCham (NGO).
Info: http://eucham.eu/ and https://www.facebook.com/events/395830290584464/
Seems nice counterbalance against OV and DT.

Ferenc
Guest

As comment before, our globe could be the biggest loser during DJ’s presidency. Now news about future US quiting of the Paris climate agreement.
Wish she herself, our globe, had anything to say in this like: everybody showing only disrespect to be ejected by her into space (but of couse provided with sufficient necessaries to reach another planet, which very well could be renamed planet Trump)

Ferenc
Guest

Actually don’t know the current achievements by OV/Fidesz in the light of the Paris climate agreement.
But if very poor, sure they can join the lot, as there sure will be kept free space for them on planet Trump.

pappp
Guest

I really like Masha Gessen for her insights and this article is again very good.

http://www2.nybooks.com/daily/s3/nov/10/trump-election-autocracy-rules-for-survival.html

Ferenc
Guest

Thanks, very good article.
Looking forward for DJ Trump handing over the turntables to his successor (the sooner the better). Hopefully it will not be to Arnold S. (seems he has taken over DJ’s spot at an irreality show).

Guest

I’m sure Schwarzenegger would be a better POTUS – but he’s ineligible because he wasn’t born in the USA …

Ferenc
Guest

If that will still be a requirement in x years!

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