Swedish election shows that mainstream parties still don't have a clue

Sweden's Euroskeptic nationalist party, the Sweden Democrats, fell a little short of expectations in the parliamentary vote held yesterday but emerged as kingmakers, as it prevented the mainstream right and left parties from achieving a majority.

The nationalists won 17.6% of the vote, an increase from 12% in 2014 – this despite a massive smear campaign by the Swedish media, branding Sweden Democrats as Nazis.  The vote was less than the 20% the party was hoping for but enough to force either the right or left to eventually deal with it.

The left-wing coalition that included the Center-Left Bloc, Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Left Party won a little more than 40% of the vote.  A coalition of center-right parties also picked up 40%.  Just 300,000 votes separated the two mainstream coalitions, with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's coalition losing 13 seats – the most in 100 years. 

Both mainstream groupings said they would never work with the Sweden Democrats to form a government.  Lofven appealed to the opposition to cobble together a working coalition, but any such arrangement probably won't last long.  Eventually, one or the other mainstream party will be forced to deal with the Sweden Democrats.

Deutsche Welle:

If confirmed, the result translates to 63 parliamentary seats for the Sweden Democrats, up from 49 seats in 2014.  Party chief Jimmie Akesson told members: "We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years."

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's left-leaning bloc emerged with only a slight lead in the general elections.  Both Lofven's Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party bloc, as well as the opposition center-right Alliance won around 40 percent, well short of the required majority.

The prime minister's party lost 13 seats in parliament – their worst result in a century.  Meanwhile, the junior coalition Green party even saw their support fall dangerously close to the 4 percent threshold for participation in the parliament.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he would stay in his post for the next fortnight until the new parliament opens.

"The voters have made their choice, now it's up to all of us decent parties to wait for the final result and then negotiate (and) cooperate to move Sweden forward in a responsible way," Lofven said.  He would "work calmly as prime minister with respect to the voters and Sweden's electoral system."

He called on the centrist Alliance to discuss a "cross-bloc cooperation."

Note his use of the term "decent parties."  It highlights the total cluelessness of Lofven and the traditional parties, who have no idea of the electoral forces that have been let loose these last few years all across Europe.

The media and the traditional parties are trying to paint the various nationalist movements as a racist reaction to unfettered immigration.  This shallow, meaningless analysis explains only a small part of the voters' reaction to the newcomers.  In fact, it is a revolt by ordinary people against the total failure of "establishment" politics and the kind of leaders who have been governing them for 50 years.

Nobody asked them if it was OK to destroy the national character of European countries that has existed for hundreds of years.  No one asked them to bear the tax burden of caring for the new arrivals.  And no one gave permission to hand over national sovereignty to an arrogant bunch of elitists in Brussels whose governance is becoming ever more oppressive.

I suppose it's comforting for European elites to view these growing nationalist movements as the response of ignorant, bigoted people who don't know any better.  And if they stopped trying to smear these right-wing parties as neo-Nazis, the vote for the nationalists would increase substantially.  It is a testament to the depth of feeling by ordinary Europeans that despite being instructed that these nationalist parties are not "decent parties," so many cast their ballots for them anyway.

This nationalist wave has not crested yet – certainly not in Sweden.  Either the elites and establishment parties start addressing the real concerns of voters or they will go extinct.

Are they smart enough to see that?

Sweden's Euroskeptic nationalist party, the Sweden Democrats, fell a little short of expectations in the parliamentary vote held yesterday but emerged as kingmakers, as it prevented the mainstream right and left parties from achieving a majority.

The nationalists won 17.6% of the vote, an increase from 12% in 2014 – this despite a massive smear campaign by the Swedish media, branding Sweden Democrats as Nazis.  The vote was less than the 20% the party was hoping for but enough to force either the right or left to eventually deal with it.

The left-wing coalition that included the Center-Left Bloc, Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Left Party won a little more than 40% of the vote.  A coalition of center-right parties also picked up 40%.  Just 300,000 votes separated the two mainstream coalitions, with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's coalition losing 13 seats – the most in 100 years. 

Both mainstream groupings said they would never work with the Sweden Democrats to form a government.  Lofven appealed to the opposition to cobble together a working coalition, but any such arrangement probably won't last long.  Eventually, one or the other mainstream party will be forced to deal with the Sweden Democrats.

Deutsche Welle:

If confirmed, the result translates to 63 parliamentary seats for the Sweden Democrats, up from 49 seats in 2014.  Party chief Jimmie Akesson told members: "We will gain huge influence over what happens in Sweden during the coming weeks, months and years."

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven's left-leaning bloc emerged with only a slight lead in the general elections.  Both Lofven's Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party bloc, as well as the opposition center-right Alliance won around 40 percent, well short of the required majority.

The prime minister's party lost 13 seats in parliament – their worst result in a century.  Meanwhile, the junior coalition Green party even saw their support fall dangerously close to the 4 percent threshold for participation in the parliament.

Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he would stay in his post for the next fortnight until the new parliament opens.

"The voters have made their choice, now it's up to all of us decent parties to wait for the final result and then negotiate (and) cooperate to move Sweden forward in a responsible way," Lofven said.  He would "work calmly as prime minister with respect to the voters and Sweden's electoral system."

He called on the centrist Alliance to discuss a "cross-bloc cooperation."

Note his use of the term "decent parties."  It highlights the total cluelessness of Lofven and the traditional parties, who have no idea of the electoral forces that have been let loose these last few years all across Europe.

The media and the traditional parties are trying to paint the various nationalist movements as a racist reaction to unfettered immigration.  This shallow, meaningless analysis explains only a small part of the voters' reaction to the newcomers.  In fact, it is a revolt by ordinary people against the total failure of "establishment" politics and the kind of leaders who have been governing them for 50 years.

Nobody asked them if it was OK to destroy the national character of European countries that has existed for hundreds of years.  No one asked them to bear the tax burden of caring for the new arrivals.  And no one gave permission to hand over national sovereignty to an arrogant bunch of elitists in Brussels whose governance is becoming ever more oppressive.

I suppose it's comforting for European elites to view these growing nationalist movements as the response of ignorant, bigoted people who don't know any better.  And if they stopped trying to smear these right-wing parties as neo-Nazis, the vote for the nationalists would increase substantially.  It is a testament to the depth of feeling by ordinary Europeans that despite being instructed that these nationalist parties are not "decent parties," so many cast their ballots for them anyway.

This nationalist wave has not crested yet – certainly not in Sweden.  Either the elites and establishment parties start addressing the real concerns of voters or they will go extinct.

Are they smart enough to see that?