Nationalists are on the rise ahead of Sweden’s elections

Nationalists are on the rise ahead of Sweden’s elections, by Nima Sanandaji.

A country that for decades has been a bastion of social democracy is witnessing a collapse of the socialist movement. …

Bernie Sanders campaigned on a promise to bring a Nordic social democratic model to America, while Barack Obama was reportedly fond of musing to his aides: “Why can’t all countries be like the Nordic countries?” …

For many years the Swedish social democratic party had a near monopoly on power, regularly gaining between 40 and 50 per cent of the popular vote. That came to an end in 2008 with the election of a centre-right government, which implemented significant tax cuts and privatisations.

The centre-right government also implemented an open border policy in alliance with the left-leaning Greens. Sweden, which was already accepting a high rate of refugees, was overwhelmed with new arrivals. The peak occurred after a new social democratic minority government had taken over in 2014. Stefan Löfven, the new prime minister, proclaimed that Sweden would not set any barriers in the way of immigrants and that there was no set limits on how many the country would accept. …

Swedes react:

The Swedish Democrats have been the main beneficiaries of popular dissatisfaction with immigration and gang-related crime.

The party, which was originally associated with the neo-Nazi movement, has steadily gained in popularity since the 1991 parliamentary elections, when it registered just 0.1 per cent of the vote. …

According to a recent poll-of-polls, the Sweden Democrats currently have the support of 20.8 per cent of the electorate, slightly above the 20.5 percent for the centre-right Moderaterna and a bit less than the 25.2 per cent for the Social Democrats. What’s more, polls have tended to understate support for the Swedish Democrats.

hat-tip Matthew