Few could have avoided Sverigedemokraterna, or the Sweden Democrats, enormous and controversial success. From having barely passed the parliament bar they have in just one election period grown to having support from 12,86% of the voters. Thus being the third largest party in Sweden. In the latest polls, Sverigedemokraterna have received 22,2% of the votes. If this were to be transferred to a general election, it would make them the second largest party in Sweden and equal in influence to the Socialdemokraterna, or the Social democrats. To have made such a political journey in modern times is statistically extraordinary. What might the reasons for the popularity be? First we need to look at their history.
History of the Sverigedemokraterna
The party was funded during the late 1980's. The original support base came from marginal parties and organizations with a bourgeois and nationalistic tint. Early success was on local level where they received few, but for a small party meaningful, mandates in various locations. At this stage a lot of their core issues were focused on typically bourgeois issues and limited immigration. For a long time they had little success in the general election but in 2010 they passed the four percentage bar. By then their politics had grown to also include matters such as welfare of the elderly, police resource and family issues. The Swedish people seemingly responded well to this. By 2014 they had grown to receive 12,86% of the votes in the general election. This made them the third largest party in Sweden.
If one looks at the polls, their popularity seems to be growing. This make taking a look at their manifesto vital. Current core issues are welfare, schools focused on safety and knowledge, immigration, more resources for the police, extended military and increased unemployment support. They express a desire to preserve Sweden which hints that they feel that Sweden somehow is at threat. They have positioned themselves as an alternative to perceived risks of globalization and lack of national identity.
Future of the Sverigedemokraterna
While some dismiss Sverigedemokraterna as a party driven by populism and peoples fears there are others who suggest that their politics is an important antithesis to irresponsible ideological politics.
To those who view Sverigedemokraterna as unwanted, the party has instead come to represent a threat against values. Those who have no opinion one way or the other are seemingly left out of what seems to be hard to grasp issues. Thus it is hard to predict the future of Sverigedemokraterna.
Many of the established parties are seeing increased support for Sverigedemokraterna. They thusly choose to adjust their own politics, hoping to snatch voters. In certain ways, Moderaterna seems to have succeeded in this. Does this mean a union between Moderaterna and Sverigedemokraterna is in waiting? Maybe. But so far, Sverigedemokraterna is marked by the stigma of their nationalistic roots. In western Europe, nationalism is still a charged concept. But during periods of increased international unrest, nationalism might once again become popular. A lot suggests that globalism and nationalism will be two opposites which will have to face off on the political arena.