I imagine the leaders of the Unity Party (or whatever they called themselves) are currently sitting in dark rooms somewhere in Budapest, sipping palinka, licking their wounds, and wondering how they managed to suffer a defeat of such epic proportions yet again. What happened? They were destined to win! After all, they had Ron Werber in their corner! And Orbán, they surmised, had done so much to isolate and alienate Hungary from the globalized international community that it would be no great chore to unseat him from the throne of power. But none of that made any difference. What was it then? What was it that made the Left such an unappealing choice for most Magyars?
I offer the following theory for consideration. The Left's fatal flaw was its inability to discern the difference between attacking Orbán and attacking Hungary itself. For over four years, left-wingers in Hungary, with the eager help of their international sympathizers and supporters across the globe, have waged a vitriolic public war against Fidesz. Within the framework of democracy there is essentially nothing wrong with that; however, the Left's noxious criticism often overflowed the dykes of political partisanship and flooded into the plains of the country itself. Rather than keep their malice aimed solely at their political and ideological opponents, the Hungarian leftists liberally criticized the very fabric of the nation they hoped to one day represent.
To put it bluntly, the Left in Hungary revealed themselves to be, above all else, anti-Magyar. They carelessly and arrogantly wrote articles and diatribes denouncing Hungary to the world. They gave bitter interviews, mostly for magazines and newspapers in the West, in which they not only condemned their political foes, but the country their political foes had been democratically elected to represent. When they ran out of ammunition or ideas in their relentless rebukes of all things Magyar, they enlisted the help of foreign friends and disgruntled expats to continue the work of vilifying Hungary for them.
Hungarians, regardless of their ranking on some stupid and meaningless world happiness report, do not take kindly to people denigrating their country and have shown they have no interest in electing anyone whose main political platform amounts to little more than espousing national shame and national self-hatred. Who would? Can you imagine the American people electing a candidate whose entire platform was built upon incessant and malicious criticism of the United States of America? Not just the current state of the country, but of everything that makes it what it is? Its founding, its constitution, its economy, its history, its customs, its faith, its values? Yet this is exactly what the parties that made up that unholy alliance known as Unity did for the better part of four years in Hungary. When they were not doing it themselves, they made sure to line up squarely behind those who were. Despite all of this, they honestly believed they stood a chance at being elected. It's beyond tragic-comical.
I will even go as far as to claim that the Left's political attitudes are at least partially responsible for the rabid ultra-nationalism epitomized by Jobbik. Much of the rhetoric of the far-Right is nothing more than a reaction to the acerbic platitudes of the Left. With any luck, this latest defeat of the Left will translate into something perpetual in Magyar politics. Perhaps the absence of constant anti-Magyar rhetoric from the Left will help quell the rising reactive tide of narrow minded pro-Magyar rhetoric on the Right. One can only hope.