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National Politics

US Campaign Being Followed Closely in Sweden

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, 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 a lot of loud Cubs fans on the train.

Blanck will speak Thursday at 5 pm in the Hanson Hall of Science (room 102) at Augustana College on "Familiarity, Fascination, and Fear: How the US Elections are Seen and Discussed in Sweden."