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Yascha Mounk @Yascha_Mounk
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
First exit polls in Sweden bring mixed news.

(Brief thread.)
The result for the Social Democrats is much better than might have been feared. They recovered in the last stretch of the campaign and took a clear first place.
This leaves the Sweden Democrats in second place.

Since they looked like they might win a month ago, I suppose that's good news?

But a party that was founded by neo-Nazis came in second in one of the richest countries in Europe. It's hard to feel too good about that.
Neither the center-left nor the centre-right will have a coherent majority. This is a problem that's now practically universal among systems of proportional representation in Europe (as well as some majoritarian ones), and it undermined the political system in two big ways.
First, it validates the populist claim that all established parties are the same anyway.

In Sweden, this has historically been untrue. The center-left and centre-right have very different visions of the economy. But if they have to work together, it will start to come true.
Second, it validates the populist claim that you can only change governments by voting for the extremes.

At the next elections, voters will likely feel that a vote for any establishment party may wind up leading to a continuation of the current government.
There's a temptation to see every election as a turning point: Does it mean populists are about to win everywhere? Or has the populist wave crested?

Neither nor. Populists have been rising a long time. That doesn't mean they're about to win everywhere.

Sweden fits the pattern.
A final word of caution: In some recent elections, the first projections underestimated the support for populist parties. It's imaginable that the total for the Sweden Democrats will creep up over the next hours. But it's virtually certain they won't come top.

Phew. Ish.

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