Saturday, February 09, 2008

American Election Thoughts from Sweden

Super Tuesday has come and gone. While Americans were voting the Swedes were eating huge amounts of semlas. Apparently it was official semla day. A semla is a delicious baked good with lots of whipped cream and some almond paste like thing. So in a bit of a twist, it was the Swedes, who pride themselves on political involvement, who sat idly by and shoved their faces full of fattiness while Americans went out and voted.

But I digress. Super Tuesday got quite a bit of pres here. And with that press I began to notice just how much weight American politics carries around the world. Because regardless of your views towards the US, the country is a major player in world politics. And so, with an election like the one that looms in November there have been plenty of opinions.

And everyone assumes a Democrat will win. Which one, no one knows. But the majority of press here is focused on the Democrats. In fact, I was speaking with one of DCPs friends. A French girl who studies political science. She didn’t even know that the Republicans also had primary elections. She’s not dumb. It was just never discussed. Her view of American politics focused solely on the Democrats. That’s what international universities teach.

It’s also what the newspapers report. Very little has been written about the Republicans. It will be interesting to see what happens now that McCain has emerged as the frontrunner with Romney dropping out. I’m going to throw it out there and say even less now that the only real race for the nomination is on the Democratic side. We’ll see.

What I find so interesting about this whole situation is the lack of journalistic balance. That lack of balanced reporting is one reason, I believe, that the world was so shocked when Bush was re-elected. It came as a surprise to Swedes. I remember. I was here after the election. Of course, when the Swedish press focuses only on the Democrats, a Republican win would come as a surprise. Rather than giving a good idea of the pulse of American politics, reporting here gives a good idea of the pulse of Swedish views on how American politics should be. Which doesn’t work. The Swedes aren’t voting.

I’ve also realized that no matter how conservative the government here in Sweden might consider itself. It’s not. The current Prime Minister decided to throw his weight, whatever that might be worth, behind Obama. So here is a government, that a majority of people in Sweden are disgusted with because of their conservative leanings, backing a Democrat in the American elections.

It will be interesting to see what happens. November is getting closer. And it could be historic.

22 comments:

Robban said...

And the only question I have left is which candidate are you backing?

Smek This! said...

Not all are saying the democrats will win, check my calculations from here
. It's a bit TIC statistics in question, yet interesting to some :)

Travis said...

I was all set to post a comment, but I just can't bring myself to say anything politically charged at the moment...
I happen to have very strong feelings one way but it's never appropriate dinner conversation :)

The Hairy Swede said...

well... my leanings are a bit more conservative. as has shown up on this blog every now and again. so it looks like McCain is my man.

and smek this. I like it!

and travis. fair enough. sometimes it's just not worth the trouble. whatever your political leanings. being a bit conservative in sweden will hammer that point home. just as Im sure being a bit liberal in the heart of idaho (or any other red state) is the same.

Robban said...

That was the answer I was afraid you'd say... But everyone's entitled to a different opinion

The Hairy Swede said...

yeah, my political leanings aren't exactly the norm here in Sweden.

Anonymous said...

Not to be rude or anything but no they're not and fortunately so, if you ask me.

Robban

Anonymous said...

It took me one "report" from Swedish news about McCain to really start to dislike him. One of the things he said was "I'm going to find Osama Bin Laden if I so will have to follow him to ports of hell". Not that I would have given him my sympathies or support before I saw what he had to say but that and some other things he said (can't remember them too clearly so i won't bother to write them here) made me really dislike him. I would give all my support to Osama. Oh, I mean Obama...

Robban

The Hairy Swede said...

@ robban - no worries. thats the usual response I get.

McCain is actually being attacked in the US by conservatives who believe he isn't conservative enough.

Anonymous said...

That's funny...

Robban

The Hairy Swede said...

indeed

Erin said...

The American primaries and caucases are getting interesting.. and boring at the same time. I'm only 23.. I voted in 2004, though. I realize that Kerry might not have been a great president, but I wasn't about to vote for Bush and I'm proud to say that I didn't.

There are many Americans who like to complain about Dubya but didn't care to take part in the process that got him elected. For them, I have no sympathy. Vote.

I voted for Obama, which isn't a suprise given that I'm from Illinois - and he's my senator. I saw him a few years ago at my alma mater (southern illinois university - edwardsville) with a freaking entourage. i started paying attention to him and learning more about him and i even seriously prayed once that he would run for president. my day has come!

You commented that in Sweden press is most often of the Democrats. I'm an independent (the bi-partisan system isn't working for America), but more and more I'm seeing that a Democrat will most likely win the presidential race simply because the gentleman in office now is a Republican and many people have, through association, drifted away from the Republican mindset.

Right now McCain is having to ward off attacks about an affair. Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race. Poor Ron Paul, he doesn't have a chance - but he's got some good ideas. The Republicans often just laugh at him, but he makes a lot of sense. There's a video of it on www.barelypolitical.com

That's what I'm seeing anyway. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

The Hairy Swede said...

I wonder though what will happen once the presidential candidates have been officially chosen. last election the democrats assumed that a democrat would win just because they were running against bush. and that obviously didn't work out quite as they ahd planned. it will be interesting to see what was learned.

rinalyn said...

that's true; i didn't think of it quite like that. there are big differences between kerry and obama (or even clinton for that matter), though. i'm really hoping clinton isn't officially chosen. i don't really like her, nor do i like how she's been playing tactical/dirty lately.

rinalyn said...

btw, i'm erin.

The Hairy Swede said...

as I've said... I'm a bit mroe conservative but anyone is better than clinton. She frightens me. And she just seems really mean. And no one likes a mean person.

rinalyn said...

yeah, mean. and scary. mean and scary. i'm with you.

The Hairy Swede said...

it seems like shes really losing steam... should be interesting after march 4th to see how things go for her.

Anonymous said...

I definitely hope Obama win this one. I agree with not liking Hilary Clinton. Like her dirty campaigns trying to make Obama look like only a candidate for black people and not worth voting on for other people. I don't like her personality, either. What I've seen of it. i think the best for USA would be Obama, and for the world, really. I think a lot of people would start hating USA less and maybe, eventually stop hating USA...

Robban

The Hairy Swede said...

it seems that hilary is the consensus choice for bitch bag according to most people under 30.

rinalyn said...

as of right now its neck-and-neck in texas... i hope that it ends up in obama's favor. it did in missouri as well, as it was a close contest there as well.

i agree about people hating america less (in time). it obviously won't be overnight, because america has been pompous and screwing with other countries for YEARS, but maybe.. just maybe.

The Hairy Swede said...

looks like clinton pulled it off.

I would be really interested to see what would happen internationally if the US went completely isolationist. Not getting involved in anything globally. I wonder what the reaction would be after the initial "finally" reaction that I'm sure most of Europe would have. Because I don't think it would be good. I think all of a sudden Europe would be presented with a lot of shit in the world that they wouldn't know how to handle. Or maybe wouldn't want to handle.