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Republicans in Sweden still hope for Romney

Republicans in Sweden still hope for Romney

Published: 06 Nov 2012 14:38 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Nov 2012 14:38 GMT+01:00

With voters in the United States heading to the polls on Tuesday, Republicans in Sweden reflect on Mitt Romney's chances and the challenges of living in a country that doesn't always appreciate their point of view.

"Everyone here assumes that Republicans are terrible, evil, right-wing extremists," Swedish MP Mathias Sundin of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), told The Local.

Sundin worked on the presidential campaign of Republican senator John McCain in 2008, something which has resulted in him being viewed as a Republican sympathizer in Sweden.

He said openly supporting the US Republican party can make for a "strange existence" in Sweden.

"You get weird questions and are always on the defensive having to explain your views," he said.

Don Baldwin, an active Republican who has lived in Sweden since 1999, agreed that Swedes aren't predisposed to Republican views.

"Because Sweden is a socialist country, there is an automatic affinity for the Democrats' point of view," he told The Local.

"That being said, Sweden has progressed a lot in the last 20 years and the United States could learn a lot from the pragmatic way Sweden has restructured following the economic crisis of the early 1990s."

Baldwin, a native of Texas in the United States, came to Sweden in 1999 after being recruited to help run a company's new business unit.

He explained that most Republicans he knows in Sweden arrived under similar circumstances, describing them as "well-educated professionals who were headhunted to be here to help businesses".

Swedes, he explains, simply "don't understand" how the US political and electoral system works, which can also lead to faulty conclusions about both the Republican and Democratic parties.

And while many Swedes seem to support Barack Obama, Baldwin said that, when pressed on why they support the current president, most have a hard time coming up with concrete reasons to explain why.

"I think it mostly stems from a cultural bias toward the views that Obama and the Democrats represent," he said.

Billy McCormac, a native of California and Republican sympathizer who has lived in Sweden since 1995, agreed that Swedes don't have a very nuanced understanding of the US Republican party.

"It's almost a cartoonish view," he told The Local.

"There is a real lack of appreciation among Swedes for the breadth of views within the Republican party."

According to McCormac, a public affairs consultant frequently called upon by the Swedish media to explain US politics, Swedes often get hung up on certain Republicans' positions on social issues such as the death penalty and abortion which stand in stark contrast to views held in Europe.

"Most Swedes have no idea that there is a very strong and active Republican women for choice movement," he said.

Baldwin agreed that it's hard for Swedes to fully understand what shapes the views of US voters.

"If you haven't grown up in the US, you can't understand our value system," he said.

"I'd be scared of the US too if all that I knew about it came from what I saw on TV."

Swedish MP Sundin agreed that it's easy to understand why Swedes sympathize with Democrats, but also blamed the Swedish media for portraying Republicans unfairly.

"Reporting on Democrats focuses on their accomplishments, while stories about Republicans focus on their views on abortion and the death penalty, for example," he said.

Since Sundin's Republican leanings became well known, a number of US Republican expats have confided their political views to him, seeing him as "on their side".

In comparison to Americans in Sweden who support the Democrats, US Republicans are a bit more muted in displaying their political stripes.

According to McCormac, it may not simply be an attempt to exercise caution in hostile ideological territory, but stems more from a fundamental difference in how Republicans and Democrats view politics.

"For liberals and progressives, politics is closely tied to one's personal life, while conservatives tend to view politics as means to an ends and thus not something that needs to be celebrated," he said.

"Conservatives aren't into political tailgating."

When asked about Romney's chances of victory in the November 6th election, McCormac said it "would be close" but that Obama would likely recapture the presidency.

Baldwin described the race as a "toss-up" that wouldn't likely be decided on election night.

"Lawyers are already lining up in anticipation of a recount. I think it will be at least a few days before we know the winner," he said.

According to McCormac, a Romney victory, however unlikely, would be "devastating" for most Swedes, and would likely have a negative impact on US-Swedish relations.

"It will be hard for people to swallow. Relations with countries in Europe would sour," he said.

"It's hard to imagine Prime Minister Reinfeldt getting invited to the White House for a sit down chat with a President Romney."

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

15:12 November 6, 2012 by fikatid
"Everyone here assumes that Republicans are terrible, evil, right-wing extremists.."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that, although I do have a degree from a top 10 US university. And I'm an American, by the way.

Which party would have lunatics who think that there's something call "legitimate rape". ANSWER: The Republican Party.

Which party would have crazy extreme religious fundamentalist who claims that "rape is God's plan". ANSWER: The Republican Party.

Actions and facts speak louder than words. It doesn't matter what Fox News has been preaching, it manifests at a glance that the Republican party is just a bunch of extremists who preach nothing but hatred. Look at their platform. It's all about discrimination and hatred. Nothing more.
15:27 November 6, 2012 by skogsbo
I'm more worried about the title, 'are hoping' 'have hope for ' but 'still hope', no hope I would say.

I would say the average Swede, is against both, for different reasons. Obama, failed in everything he claimed, but he is slightly saving the USA from a recession which has a big trade benefit to Europe. But he lost credibility when he won the Noble prize.

Romney, might do more for the USA business, and USA interests, but he is more likely to forceful abroad, which will bring many more war refugees to Europes shores. Oh yeah, and he is god squad through and through.

I won't want to bet on who is going to win, but I am relying on European news reports, so our media could easily be angled differently to the truth.
15:57 November 6, 2012 by Carbarrister
Most of the Swedes I know in the USA are entrepreneurs and care about

growing their businesses with the minimum of government intervention. As Bill Clinton said "it's the economy stupid." They are not caught up in the political side show of social issues. President Obama has not demonstrated a grasp of economic issues so most of the Swedes I know who became citizen's are voting for Romney.
16:00 November 6, 2012 by Roy E
Hey everybody, did you get that?

fikatid went to a top 10 university!

Well, color me unimpressed because what fikatid got was an indoctrination, not an education. Truly educated people develop a bit of humility and respect as they come to discover just how much they don't know and don't fully understand.

The indoctrinated, other hand, sound much more like fikatid , with their undisciplined, emotional, self-righteous, and shrill rants and their childish caricatures.

As the saying goes, 'Ignorance of one's own ignorance is the malady of the ignorant' .

That aside, the article is pretty good. I only disagree with Mr McCormac in the result of the election. Americans will not choose four more years of the same - it's simply unsustainable. The crowd turnout at the candidates respective rallies tells the story: Romney will win this one.
16:01 November 6, 2012 by Jes
@fikatid , if you have a degree from any university on earth m it doesn`t show in your comment .

It a pity that you cannot separate individual opinions from a party`s idiology . Very soon , you might conclude that the Democratic party is a party of drug bangers just because a few prominent members of that party ( including a former President ) have / had that habit .
16:52 November 6, 2012 by skogsbo
Obamas only problem is he hasn't lived up to his own hype, either to his own people, or the rest of the world who watched with hope some years ago.

It's a bit like the UK's Lib Dems, for decades they were the 3rd party with zero hope of power, so in their speeches they claimed they could cure all and deliver all, to all the people. Then suddenly they are in power and have a say, the reality of those bigs speeches is harder to live up to!

If Romney had toned himself down a bit, but still showed the business & financial knowledge he almost certainly has, I suspect he could have taken Obama with a landslide victor, hurricane or not.
16:56 November 6, 2012 by jostein
Well, democrats are very generous folks, with other peoples money :D

Anyway, Romney is toast, unfortunately for the americans. Opinion polls dont lie. And neither does ladbrokes.

To me its surprising how the americans can prefere a mediocre european style socialist with a tin ear to the american soul. Over an extraordinary man such as Romney. But their country, their choice.

Also rotten luck for african americans to be represented by such an unamerican and mediocre man. Its not like there is a lack of impressive african americans they could have had instead, if their luck had been better.

For us Swedes, i think a world economy that gets a helping nudge into the abyss by another four Obama years might be a beneficial evil. Our arrogance have to be purged by hardships and deprevations on a truly faustian level. Our rot goes deep, it will take strong medicine to cure us.
17:03 November 6, 2012 by oldonpalouse
Most political parties try to sell doom if they are not elected. Most elections don't change the basic rules. Many of my relatives came to the US for opportunity that was not present in Sweden, 'So I can paint my house any darn color I want!'.

This US election is most about brainwashing. Can the parties con the lower functioning voter to elect them. The 2008 election was the novelty of a 'black' or 'minority' president. Obama is a well educated (top ten) politician from Chicago, where dishonesty and fraud are a tradition. He is a great guy who is in over his head and really dominated by a 'progressive' inner circle.

Romney is strictly business and conservative religious upbringing. He is someone who would always follow his values. Visit Utah and look around at the organization and infra structure that produces a great state, much like Sweden and Norway.

Who will win? No idea. Here if you play the cards as they are dealt, you will always prosper by your own toil. If you expect the government to care for you, you are in trouble.
17:30 November 6, 2012 by Investor612
fikatid,

You have a degree from a top 10 university? With fallacious reasoning like that no one would ever suspect it.

Wow. A Republican said something stupid. I'm shocked. And that means they all or even a significant number think the same thing?

Meanwhile just last week a prominent Democrat, the guy Obama chose to give the benediction at his inaugaration, said all white people are going to hell and chastised any n____ who didn't get out and vote for Obama.

Are you going to apply your standard to that remark as well? Ooops. I forgot. Standards are only for others. The self-anointed enlightened are exempt because of their wonderfulness.
18:24 November 6, 2012 by fikatid
Give me a break. You all Romney supporters are just brain-washed by Fox News so badly that you became delusional. Yes, I graduated from Stanford, FYI.

Look at the voting map. Why do people in the metropolitan areas tend to vote for the Democrats (e.g. NYC, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Seattle)?? FYI, the major financial centers are located in NYC, Chicago and SF. These are "business" centers. Or the university that you went to didn't teach you what businesses are? And where are the majority of the red-states? Well, they are mostly in the Bible Belt. Why? Unfortunately, most Americans from the Bible Belt are so ignorant and naive that they can be easily manipulated by Fox News or their pastors, just like @Roy E and @Jes. You really need to go back to a real school if I were you. Home schooling doesn't count.

Why do most people in the metropolitan areas or in the coastal regions tend to vote for the Democrats? Well, it's because people in major metropolitan areas or in the coastal region tend to have more interactions with people from different countries and backgrounds other than just Americans. In addition, a higher percentage of the people in coastal region or big city like Chicago, tend to have traveled more often than those in the red-states. In fact, many people in the red-states have never even been outside of their own states. That explains their narrow-mindedness.

I think you Romney supporters need to get a real degree from real university.
18:43 November 6, 2012 by calebian22
All the comments aside, this was a great piece by the Local. As a conservative living in Sweden, I can really relate to the comments made by Baldwin. McCormac's comment about Reinfeld not being invited to a Romney White House is beyond absurd though.
19:21 November 6, 2012 by wbs
@ fikatid. Your smugness and condescending attitude does very little to promote your agenda. Incidentally, the second largest concentration of Fortune 500's in the US is Houston (Red State), and before you start name calling, Houston is also the only major city with a Lesbian mayor. I learned that from a State University. Back to eating paste for me though as I did not graduate from Stanford
19:34 November 6, 2012 by StockholmSam
"Because Sweden is a socialist country..."

Wait...WHAT?? Uh, Don Baldwin, I think you need to do a bit more research about the country you live in before you open your mouth again in public. You have been here 13 years and you think Sweden is a socialist country? Really?

Last time I checked, Sweden was privatized, deregulated and market oriented. Labor movement is freer here than in most countries and civil liberties abound. Free enterprise is the order of the day and such firms as Ikea, H&M, Electrolux, Volvo and many others attest to this. Saab was allowed to fail according to market forces instead of being propped up by the Swedish government. Just because we have a publicly funded welfare safety net does not make us socialist. Even America has publicly funded schools, healthcare and infrastructure functions. The Swedish model is not Socialism; it is capitalism done better.

At no point in Sweden's history was Socialism ever used as an official descriptor of the nation's sociopolitical system. Mr. Baldwin, you must be confusing Sweden with Laos, Cuba, China or Vietnam...which doesn't do much to boost your credibility on the Republican ideology debate in the article.
20:14 November 6, 2012 by Svensksmith
Fikatid just doesn't want anything to jeopardize his free Obamaphone.
20:25 November 6, 2012 by djmarko
Are republicans here in Sweden comfortable with a candidate that has not paid any taxes for a number of years?? or refuses to release his tax records?? why has his campaign been based on lies, backtracking, blackmail of voters in swing states claiming their jobs are off to China?? then back tracking once again, he voted against the auto bailout which ended up saving jobs and livelihood, Obama might not have lived up to expectation but is that reason enough to vote him out of power for another candidate with dubious character, why did he have to campaign today if he was so confident of his chances as fox news wants us to believe?? end of the day, both candidates are politicians, whoever gets elected serves their paymasters and the lobbyist billions, the sooner we lesser mortals understand this the better, Bush had 8 years and turned the US upside down, seems people have short memories!!
21:07 November 6, 2012 by Investor612
LOL. djmarko barfs up the DNC les/propaganda but that's probably all he/she listens to. Tax cheats? If you knew anything about the Obama administration you wouldn't be going there starting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Meanwhile at least fikatid obviously excelled in his self-esteem classes.

Hey, fikatid. We're so stupid out here in fly over country that my always Republican state in national elections has a balanced budget, no debt, fully funded state pension liability, and 4% unemployment.

How are you really smart Democrats doing in California, New York, and Illinois? In case you don't know, which seems likely, you have large deficits, massive debt, looming pension shortfalls, and much higher-even double- unemployment.

And what's with the Fox news derangement syndrome? Fox has a conservative bias, but it least it has liberals on all the time-Bob Beckel, Kirstin Powers, Alan Colmes, Juan Williams, Shepherd Smith-just to name a few. Conservatives on the other networks are as rare as imans at a ribfest.
21:20 November 6, 2012 by djmarko
I do sound funny but he is part of the same party that went to war in iraq and other countries based on lies, 8 years of republican leadership left the US at the brink of bankruptcy, Romney probably voted for the US to go into Iraq as well, sending thousands of US armed forces to their early graves and some maimed for life, then it was later discovered Iraq posessed no weapons of mass destruction, Thousands of Iraqi citizens died as a result of this, hmm, is this another DNC propaganda?? or factual, trillions were spent as well, that should be enough for one to be weary, funny enough i dont have much interest in US politics but i am a world citizen and i have every right to be fearful of such leadership that could possibly invade lesser nations based on flawed information
22:19 November 6, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
Romney will win in a landslide the the lame duck Obamatron will be the lamest duck in history, to cap an infamous term
23:30 November 6, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Mitt Romney is the least liked Republican presidential candidate, worldwide, as far as I can remember

Some people would vote for the devil if he said that he was for Israel, without asking themselves,

"Why would the devil be for Israel? "

Romney has promised that if he wins, he'll kill Obamacare on day one. It looks like killing Obamacare is more urgent than bombing Iran - which he wouldn't be able to do before earliest, sometime in January, if at all.

There are Republicans in Sweden - but not so many...there are Republicans wherever there is hair.

For a surety, the Republicans in Iran are praying for Romney to win and the Mullahs in Iran are also praying ardently, five times a day for Romney to win: This is because with all those ants in his pants Mitt, starting from scratch on the Iran issue is going to waste a lot of time and in no time at all is sure to mess things up in grand "global arrogance" style. First he'll muck up whatever existing alliance - then, as US Supreme leader, bomber-in-chief and King of the global castle, unlike Baby Bush, on the brink of striking unilaterally and without any go-ahead from Russia and China's Security Council, Mighty Mitt won't have Colin Powell to stand up at the UN podium to lie, this time for the serial liar...

We'd have a lot more to worry about the US's Mr. Mighty Mitt muscle and Sherlock Holmes can can thank the stars that the UK is the brain....
00:55 November 7, 2012 by jostein
@Cornelius Hamelberg

Romney-Ryan didnt run on a foreign policy ticket. They ran on a "save money its the economy stupid" ticket. Sure, alot of their money came from the Israeli lobby. But then, thats politics. Both sides are tainted by bad money. Except Ron Paul of course but he didnt go very far :)

Personally im pretty impressed by a guy who gave away 10% of his salary all his life to something else than himself. And still made a fortune. And then went on to give away his inheritance. AND fitted in a successfull governorship. I mean, you just cant accuse a guy like that for greed. Nor for incompetence. Nor for weakness. Nor for stupidity. Which makes it a shame the americans prefer some lackluster lawyer with a silken tongue. Not that its bad for me and mine. Just annoying somehow, to watch something being done badly like.
02:16 November 7, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Jostein,

Please permit me to coin a new proverb which I hope you' wil find agreeable:

" Better a silver tongue than a serial liar"
05:58 November 7, 2012 by Joeblack
Eat your heart out Swedish Republicans. The President of the most powerful nation in the world remains black for another four years.
06:17 November 7, 2012 by csence
Welcome to the United States of Communists or the USSR !!

get read for a stock market crash.

but then there is Benghazi gate......

how do you say "impeach" in Swedish?
06:39 November 7, 2012 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
@06:17 November 7, 2012 by csence:

"get read for a stock market crash"

The Sydney Stock Exchange went UP, UP, UP on the news.

"Welcome to the United States of Communists or the USSR !!"

Mate you're about 60 years out of date with your McCarthyism. The world has long since moved on [except for some still 18th century American thinking].

Anyway? Lots of red faces here.
07:01 November 7, 2012 by Joeblack
All defeated Mitt Romney supporters have to keep quite now. No need to make stupid comments and describe a great nation like the US as communists. let the American people and Mr. Barack Obama the re elected president decide what is best for their country.

Anyways, lots of red faces here. Shame man!!!
07:48 November 7, 2012 by willpf
Come on Obama, the best man won,

you know it makes sense !!!!!!

hehehe LOL
08:10 November 7, 2012 by jostein
Congratulations Obama :D
08:21 November 7, 2012 by fikatid
For all those Romney supporters, I don't know about you but I'm going to have a party to celebrate the victory of Obama today, with all my Americans colleagues!! You can go back to your Fox News and Clan and reflect on yourselves.
08:23 November 7, 2012 by djmarko
well there you go naysayers and doubters!!!, it was beyound doubt that Obama was going to trounce Romney like a cowboy politician that he is! problem with the republicans is they have no credible candidates to compete against Obama, instead they present a serial tax dodger and a politician without any meaningful manifesto, presenting lies after lies, then backtracks when he gets found out, how such a man will beat an incumbent president that has performed crdibly considering how he found the country, Obama might not be the messiah everyone was looking for but compared to a Romney presidency, Americans have spoken and did they speak loudly enough, it was almost a school boy beating at the play ground if i can be sarcastic!! 303 to Romney measly 206 and they have not called Florida yet, Obama is also ahead on the popular vote, oh my days!!!
08:23 November 7, 2012 by fikatid
.... forgot to mention, truth prevails. We'll never forget that "47%" comments that Romney made!
08:27 November 7, 2012 by RobinHood
Today's post-election Republican/Tea Party breakfast menu. Generous portions of humble pie, and lashings of crow.

Watching all those rich, elderly, grey-haired, white men realise they have nothing in common with the modern US electorate was almost sad. Almost!

Watching the crowd at Obama's victory speech was something different. Young, intelligent people. About a 50/50 gender mix, one or two visibly gay people, and people of all races and colors mingling; their sexuality, race and color entirely irrelevent.

Thanks America for once again putting on the greatest show on Earth.
08:32 November 7, 2012 by cowboykodp
Not too many parties and celebrations in Israel.

OOPS.

This marks the end of the Jewish/ Israeli influence in American politics.

They're just pissed that a Muslim won again.

(Their characterization, not mine.)
09:35 November 7, 2012 by djmarko
The republicans need to look for more younger credible candidates for 2016, they need to do away with the old school politicians within their ranks like Romney, Rumsfeld, Trump, Cheney, Karl Rove, thats new jersey governor seems like a decent guy, not sure about his weight though, they need to be more inclusive, not just attract rednecks and people still living in the 50s, they need to attract all types of Americans to their party, also they need to get rid of that arrogance, thinking they are all rich and sucessful, they need to get rid of tax dodgers, yes i must add that as well, if they continue to attack every democrats bill in the house like they have done in the past 4 years, come 2016, the trouncing at the polls will make Romney look like childs play!! once again thanks to all my American friends for doing the right thing!! the world owes you a big thanks!! where are the boisterous republicans here today??? what have you got to say about your Romney lol!!!
10:54 November 7, 2012 by eppie
The GOP has lost all its connection to the past and to people such as eisenhower. He already warned for what is happening now. The only main goal of the GOP is to continue spending on defence (or offence is a better wording) and to keep being involved in foreign conflicts instead of focusing on america.

It is a clear sign that all the states in which the GOP usually wins are the midwestern ones....not many top 10 univesities there. :)
11:26 November 7, 2012 by djmarko
unless they change their political stance, they will be left in the wilderness for years to come, they often use scare tactics to galvanise the electorate, simply did not work, if they intend to frustrate the democrats in the house of reps, they might have another rude awakening at the next winter election, the US electorate might just give the house back to the democrats!! they need the democrats more than the democrats need them!! They are the ones that really need to change their clearly outdated ways of thinking
15:14 November 7, 2012 by jostein
It is heartwarming to see how gracefully democrats on these boards try to heal divided America. It is truly fortunate that Obama did not run on a ticket to turn various minorities against majority America in a divide and rule strategy, which a less magnanimous man might have done.

It is also rather touching to see how concerned democrats on these boards are to help the GOP gain political influence in the future. Such enlightened generousity of spirit to stretch out a hand of advice, goodwill and friendship to the other camp!

Brings tears to my eyes it does.

Then again, there is a small fly in the ointment, at least for us Europeans. With America firmly united into one will, one purpuse, one nation, we will probably see more assertive American intervention in our European affairs in the hard and cruel times ahead. Hamfisted Americans never did understand Europe but were always happy to meddle all the same. Alas, we will have to appreciate the joyfull healing of American society for its own sake, even be it to our own detriment. Humbly following the exalted example of the selfless and generous democrat posters above.
15:16 November 7, 2012 by Jes
Oj då !

Now we learn that "the most hated Republican candidate " actually got over 49% of American votes . Someone uphere must be wrong,...... right ?
17:03 November 7, 2012 by fikatid
Below is the latest analysis on voters in this election from the Chronicles.

Obama:

"..In addition to minority voters, Obama's majority-making coalition included young voters, highly educated citizens and women..."

Romney:

"...In contrast to Obama's rainbow coalition, Romney's core supporters were older, evangelical and white. The Republican nominee did better among white voters than any Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984, topping Obama by 20 points, 59 percent to 39 percent. Romney scored particularly well among older white men, white women who have not completed college and rural white male..."

That says it all! :-)
03:12 November 8, 2012 by JoeSwede
Romney would have helped the US generate economic growth. Too bad that he did not win.
21:53 November 8, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
An interesting look at generational US demographic voting:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnzogby/2012/07/05/demographics-and-the-election-of-2012-age-and-race/
14:56 November 9, 2012 by Roy E
I honestly believed that the American people had more sense than that. Silly me.

Well, there's not much to do now but brace for the consequences.
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Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

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