For Immediate Release
August 3, 2022
Small businesses reject Orban’s Hungary as model for the U.S.
Anti-democracy supporters showcase autocratic ruler
Washington, D.C.—With the growing public concern about the threat to the nation’s democracy from those sympathetic to autocracy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s headlining this week’s CPAC meeting in Dallas shines a bright light on the concern. CPAC calls itself “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.”
“Orban is being held up as a model for U.S. policy by far-right conservatives including many who are currently running for office. This is truly frightening!”,” says Bob Sommer, owner of Changing Hands Bookstores in Arizona. “We now can clearly see what the anti-democracy advocates, who don’t believe in free and fair elections, want for our country.”
Orban has been Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010. He has gradually turned the Hungarian democracy into an autocracy by changing his country’s laws to solidify his power, subsidizing friendly media with government advertising, demonizing minority religions and races; and using the levers of government and its funds to reward his friends at the expense small business growth and a free market economy.
“We have a concrete model of the aspirations of the pro-autocratic government supporters right here, right now in our country,” said Mike Shesterkin, executive director of the Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and a leader in the MI Business for Democracy collaborative. “They want an Orban-style United States. One-party rule of white Christians and American oligarchs. That is not democracy. That is not America. Those are not our values as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.”
Business for Democracy is raising the voice of small business to make the business case for voters to be concerned about protecting democracy because a strong democracy is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy. Seven states have launched Business for Democracy collaboratives that are advocating for passage of the Electoral Count Reform Act in the U.S. Senate now and the passage next year of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
“These Acts make up the three-legged stool needed for a solid and stable foundation for our democracy,” says Frank Knapp Jr., director of the national Business for Democracy campaign and chief executive of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce.