‘Let America become Sweden’s fourth state’: An unlikely third-party run

Source: http://theswedishparty.org

If you're finding yourself unhappy about the democratic and republican candidates in today's U.S. presidential election and want to support an outsider, maybe the Swedish Party is for you.

The totally fictional Swedish Party promises to transform the United States into a larger, warmer version of Sweden. Its presidential candidate, Johan (no last name), wants to give you universal health care, free education, neutral foreign policy, and two additional years to life expectancy. His campaign platform is built on "the individual freedom at the heart of the American dream, put into practice by the Swedish Party via the Swedish model."

The page is registered to a Swedish email address that appears to belong to Malmo-based artist Maria Uvelöv; here's some of her work. The Swedish Party seems like it's mostly a clever way to either tease Americans about U.S. shortcomings or to sell them on becoming more like Sweden. (Maybe both.) Here's the party's case for adopting the Swedish model:

Sweden is often cited as one of the safest and best countries to live in, much of this due to the Swedish Model with its focus on maximum labor force participation, gender equality, egalitarian benefits, social safety nets and extremely low levels of corruption. With a stable economy, low unemployment rates and the fact that Sweden hasn’t been to war for over 200 years it is easy to see what the Swedish Model could do for America. 

The Swedish model is probably not right for the U.S. for a number of reasons – I'll limit myself to the foreign policy, in which isolationism might not work for a country that's more invested in maintaining global trade and security than any other.

Still, the Swedish Party is not wrong about Sweden's successes. According to some global indicators, it is the world's fourth healthiest democracy and fourth least corrupt nation; economic inequality is among the world's lowest, economic competitiveness among its highest, and it's one of the world's most gender-equal societies. A 2011 UN report found that Sweden's human development index, adjusted for inequality, was the world's third best.

So how does America reach this Swedish ideal, according to the Swedish Party? The platform is pretty simple:

The Swedish Party, five easy steps
 1. Free health care for everyone
2. Free education for everyone
3. Five weeks fully paid vacation a year and 13 months parental leave for each child
4. A budget in balance
5. No wars, we stay neutral 

If you're sold on this plan, bad news: the Swedish Party is not on any ballots. Even the mightiest Super PAC couldn't push them through, as the party does not accept donations. ("Keep your money. Vote for the Swedish party.")

Even Johan does not appear to be real. Although I noticed something odd when I tried to reverse-Google-image-search his picture to find out his real identity. No matter how I cropped the image of the Swedish Party's presidential candidate, Google's results for the image were always the same: it identified the photo as being of President Obama. Maybe the fabled Manchurian candidate is actually an Östergötlandian candidate?

Update: Here's the story behind the Swedish Party, which appears to be an intern project from a Swedish PR firm.

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