In American political theory, it is said that all arguments can be divided into populist or elitist arguments (Bob Woodward "The Agenda"). Being a populist is necessary in politics because you can reach many people with simple messages. I heard Mona Sahlin speak once at an Amnesty meeting and then I was surprised at how good a speaker she was on a subject that she has mastered and empathizes with.
But the problem with today's social democracy is that there is no one who stands for logical arguments that can match the unbearably confident Anders Borg. I do not mean that all sossas are illogical but academic brilliance is required. Analysis of interest rates, budget deficits, references to Keynes and confident fiddling with numbers is needed. Predicting the economy like Anders does is perhaps not a positive trait, when he has had the same besserwisser attitude since his teens, but you must at least be able to pretend to understand the basics of national economics. Politics should be about more than 500 pieces of paper to certain specific voter groups where opinion support is low.
But the problem is more apparent when using modern marketing theory (Stan Rapp and others). Maximarketing means that the message must appeal to both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The left hemisphere stands for analysis, logic, mathematics, security.
Support for the Social Democrats is the lowest since October 2005 according to a Synovate poll 27th May 2010. Unsurprisingly the men are abandoning her which I think is a large part of the explanation for the Social Democrats not having better poll numbers. Salin has the least confidence in the group of men over 65.
What is strange is that few have dared to challenge Mona within the social democratic ranks. The fox scissors that the sossas are in is that they cannot replace Mona with a man - or best woman - Margot Wallström who does not want to risk her career. Firstly, there are not that many options this close to the election and secondly, in such cases you would have a debate about male and female where Mona would be portrayed as a victim on the altar of equality. Mona shows empathy and emotions and there is no one who wants to challenge a person who shows emotions in the TV box. Of course you can say that it is about gender discrimination and of course Sahlin can get sympathy points. But attacking Salin is about as distasteful as slaughtering Bambi.
In other words, she must find someone who can talk economics instead of talking the way the Social Democrats did in 1889, i.e. bring out trumpets and banners. Sahlin's May 1st speech reminds more than a mixture of history and a well-known poem by Karin Boye. (Certainly it hurts when buds break...) than about visions and economic reforms.
Changes hurt, says Prime Minister Reinfeldt.
Yes, it must have hurt!
But now it has hurt enough.
Because when it hurts some, it hurts Sweden.
Then it hurts in the long run for everyone.
Leadership does not have to mean so much if you have competent people around you. So who will actually run the economy and how will the sossas reach the broad disaffected and forgotten middle class? Mona does not have a heavy pair of horses in financial matters. Pär Nuder has disqualified himself and was not a heavy politician. Economic spokesman Thomas Östros...hmmm...the official with a fainter glow than a bicycle pump and looks like he was taken from a camp for UFO enthusiasts. Sven-Erik Österberg would of course have been a better alternative and will presumably take over after the election.
Of course, there are other options out there outside of the old youth associations. There should be many talented national economists who could make a political entrance who do not come directly from SSU youth and who are experts. Maybe it is time for the old social democrat Klas Eklund to make a political comeback?
Although it is clear that Eklund is no longer a social democrat but an ultra blue...