Trump, the coup attempt, and right-wing opinion-makers in Sweden

The recent development concerning Donald Trump, his moderate and militant supporters, and the Capitol's coup attempt, the US-Congress building, is making headlines worldwide. Billions of people are shocked by the riots, violence and anti-democratic behaviours in the USA.

Many politicians and opinion-makers in Europe have been either endorsing and supporting Trump's personality or proposing that his policies should be implemented. For example, as with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

In this article, my ambition is to present some of the reactions and behaviours among right-wing opinion-makers in Sweden. Meaning those with market-liberal, centre-right and/or moderate conservative profiles.

The case is interesting because since 2016 several right-wing and bourgeoise oriented opinion-makers have been proposing that the Moderate (Conservative) Party and Christian Democrats should cooperate and make agreements with the far-right populist and nationalist Sweden Democrats. A party that among other things is known for endorsing Trump on several occasions and cheering for him during the latest elections.

Here are some examples of why several right-wingers afterwards feel that they need “to wash their hands” and change arguments:

  1. Ivar Arpi, a former main columnist at Svenska Dagbladet and now writing for newly started conservative daily Bullentin is famous for claiming that Black Lives Matter are “demanding submission of whites” and that “Brussels is the new Moscow”. His early reaction to what happened at the Capitol was:

For God’s sake, stop calling that for a coup attempt! That (riots) is rotten anyway and should surely be condemned, but nobody, absolutely nobody, can believe that a few 20-year old guys in training pants who take selfies will soon take over power in the USA”.

Arpi later deleted the Tweet, but the Internet never forgets.

2. Susanna Birgersson is famous for advocating that “Sweden should become more as Denmark” as by prohibiting beggars to aks for help on the streets, implement a burka ban, and promote “Danish/Swedish values” manifested in restrictive humanitarian immigration policy. Also, in 2017 she sort of wrote that she stopped being a social-liberal after reading David Goodhart’s “Road to somewhere” populist and nativist book.

Birgersson’s early tweet about the riots was :

On one day Pelosi (Democratic Congresswoman) orders a gender-neutral language in the Congress, next day Trump supporters storm the building. There has to be a connection there”.

Birgersson also argues that “the future belongs to conservatives”.

3. When Alice Teodorescu who presented herself as “old-moderate conservative” became the young chief editor of social-liberal daily Göteborgs Posten in 2015 she contributed to transforming the magazine into a more conservative and right-wing newspaper, also by using populist formulations.

As a new leading columnist at Bulletin she has written an article condemning the riots and arguing that Donald Trump as a radical and not a conservative. Simultaneously, in the article, she excludes the Sweden Democrats as being in the political opposition (Sweden's government consists of social-democrats and greens) despite already from 2016 writing that Moderate Party and Christian Democrats should cooperate and take power with Sweden Democrats.

Also, her articles is mostly about how “the Left” as social-democrats are using the riots and the latest developments for Swedish internal politics and to put the blame one the right-winger by writing that:

Reactions from the Swedish Trump supporters — and note that no established opinion-makers and elected politicians are among them — are now ventilated in commentary fields and on social media which is terrifying.”

This claim by Teodorescu is absurd and simply untrue. In Sweden, Trump supporters are for the most among Sweden Democrat politicians in the Swedish parliament, who also nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. And not only that, but Trump has received support even from several politicians in the Moderate Party as Lars Beckman, Hanif Bali and Jan Ericsson who in Sweden are popularly known as “Twitterhögern” (Twitter-Right) and fore making populist and undemocratic comments.

Also, in 2016 when Trump was elected as president, Teodorescu wrote that:

But it is not a nationalist, conservative nor a xenophobic revolt that we are witnessing in the first place, even if that is rife with the analysis. Rather it is about when the state no longer can fulfil its core functions in a way that people are expecting when peace, freedom or food on the table no longer are obvious because the focus is on gender-kindergarten and ideologically orthodox museums when people are experiencing that the media is against them and for those who are positioned — well, then trust is eroded, and the only rational thing that is left is to vote in protest”.

These are just three examples of how many right-wing politicians and opinion-makers have behaved during the last days. Simultaneously, there are many better and decent examples as with the former Member of the European Parliament for the Moderate Party (EPP) Gunnar Hoekmark who wrote that “Trumps has shown that he is an enemy of democracy”.

Thereby, the USA's recent development could be a “game-changer” in Europe concerning more moderate conservative and right-wing actors how they till decide on topics as cooperation with the far-right and political agenda for the future.

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Vladan Lausevic

Vladan Lausevic

I am active as a social and policy entrepreneur. SEEDS ambassador. Motto: I have no identity, I have only identities.