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Swedes Baffled by US Campaign

Swenson Center

One of many countries where there's strong interest in the US presidential campaign this year is Sweden. And that'll be the subject this week for a presentation at Augustana College. 

Dag Blanck divides his time between the US and Sweden - here he's director of the Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College. In Sweden he's the director of the Swedish Institute for North American Studies at Uppsala University. And in Sweden he's asked a lot to comment on the US. 

Many Swedes are baffled by the Clinton-Trump contest, but Blanck says he tells them they need to understand a key difference between the two countries - what people think about the government.
More than in past years - Americans say they're very dissatisfied with their government, and both candidates have high negative ratings - something that's also puzzling to an overseas audience.

Blanck says one example of how closely Swedes are following the campaign is the most recent Clinton-Trump debate - it was carried live on Swedish radio, with a big audience, even though the broadcast started at 3 am local time. 

Even before that debate, on Saturday he was visiting friends in Chicago, and riding the El when he got a call from Swedish National Public Radio. 

They wanted my comments despite the loud Cubs fans on the train.

Blanck will speak Thursday (10/13) at 5 pm in the Hanson Hall of Science at Augustana College on "Familiarity, Fascination, and Fear: How the US Elections are Seen and Discussed in Sweden."

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.