A volunteer hands out leaflets supporting Swedish Democrats leader Jimmie Akesson on Sept. 10, 2014, in Stockholm.
(JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
In the first Democratic debate of last year's presidential race, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders declared from the podium that, "[W]e should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people." His comment was met with immediate applause, slight criticism from Hillary Clinton shortly thereafter, and a flood of online ink in the months that followed.
Since then, Sanders' overall idea seems to have stuck. The idea of a Scandinavian-style socialism solving America's health care and income inequality problems seems to have deeply resonated with some Americans. When people learn that I've lived in Sweden before, they often react with a mixture of jealousy and optimism as to what it must have been like, regardless of their political leanings. Conservatives might politely congratulate me on the experience and ask what it was like to learn the language, while liberals and progressives...
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