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What would a MAGA America look like? Think of Hungary.

What would a MAGA America look like?  Think of Hungary.

One of the things progressives cannot understand is why Donald Trump supporters believe a Trump presidency will benefit them. That will not happen. In fact, much of what the “January 6” crowd holds near and dear may ultimately be lost.

If actions speak louder than words, let’s look at Trump’s most significant legislative achievement as president: a $2.3 trillion tax cut over ten years. This has benefited big corporations and the super-rich, with share buybacks, higher dividend payments and inflated profits. But the working class – the core of the MAGA world – has not benefited.

The beneficiaries of a second Trump presidency will be a small ruling class, millionaires and billionaires, inner circle cronies and family members. It’s a model you see in autocracies with oligarchs. While Trump may aspire to Vladimir Putin’s level of autocratism, he is more likely to adopt the model of another hero: Hungary’s autocratic leader, Victor Orbán.

Orbán has transformed Hungary from a Western democracy to a quasi-autocracy. András Bozoki – Hungarian sociologist, politician and former minister of education – describes that Hungary under Orban has “lost the oxygen of democracy”. There is a widening gap in living standards, with winners and losers. His description conjures up images of the Hunger Games, with those living in the capital Budapest enjoying a decent standard of living, while others in small towns and rural areas (The districts in the Hunger Games) are subject to desperation and despair.

The real concern for the MAGA world could come from changes in the law. Orban has amended the Hungarian constitution several times in attempts to consolidate power and restrict freedoms. The tax system, social programs, electoral laws and the judiciary have all been derailed, while nationalization of the pension system will further harm workers. In an Orban-style MAGA presidency, the freedoms we enjoy under our Constitution: speech, assembly, religion, press, due process, trial by an impartial jury, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures could be at risk.

Then there is the freedom to bear arms. America has more guns per capita than any other country with 120 registered guns per 100 residents. In Hungary that is 10 weapons per 100 inhabitants. Gun owners must prove that they are hunters or sportsmen, must not have a criminal record, must pass a theoretical and practical test and pass a physical and mental medical exam. An autocratic leader consolidating power and money does not want to be part of an electorate awash with guns. It’s a civilian threat. Gun ownership laws will change.

The path under Trump seems clear: revise the Constitution, change the electoral process and eliminate term limits to retain power indefinitely. When Trump says, “I won’t be a dictator until day one,” he means it. By installing cronies and sycophants, he can ravage the Justice Department and eliminate accountability. Donald Trump no longer needs your vote, so he no longer needs you. He will enact changes that harm the working class without accountability or repercussions – raising taxes, cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and nationalizing key industries to line his pockets.

This is not hyperbole. Donald Trump has no political principles or policies. It can be bought and sold. He needs money to post bonds, facilitate judgments and pay lawyers. So when Anheuser Busch held a fundraiser for him, he quickly changed his opinion about Bud Light and its pro-LGBTQ stance, praising the beer on his social media site. Put Donald Trump back in the White House, and the only way to get him out might be a revolution.

Paul Bernstein is a retired marketing executive living in South Windsor.