After months of talk and propaganda, it is time for the US election on Wednesday night. A cafe chatted with former Left Party leader Lars Ully to hear his thoughts on the election.
Two years ago, Lars Ole left politics in protest after fighting with his party in MeToo Waves. Before that, the former Left Party leader (2004-2012) for more than half a century fought social injustice and positioned himself against “greedy” capitalists. That is Ole, who when he took over as leader of the left-wing party described himself as a communist, there was not much left for the “American Dream” and the American political debate is not flabby.
Ahead of the next US election, he put it against the wall to hear what he really thinks about the climate of political debate on the other side of the Atlantic, the ongoing campaign, the presidential candidates – and how Swedish politics could get more entertaining.
What is your relationship with the United States?
– It’s not that deep. I’ve been there many times but feel alienated from parts of American society. It’s the same as with most societies you didn’t live in on your own – you love people but then you get other perspectives on society and politics.
Has your negative attitude toward the United States affected your political participation?
Yes, when I arose in the 1960s and 1970s, American foreign policy was catastrophic from a democratic perspective. Especially during the Vietnam War but also support against apartheid and coup in Chile etc. There were so many elements in American foreign policy that it became natural for me and others on the left to turn to them.
What do you think of US foreign policy today?
Sadly, it does not undergo any revolutionary changes regardless of who is elected. I had high hopes for Obama, but during his time, the American intervention continued in various parts of the world, not least militarily with the drone attacks in Afghanistan and the continued presence in Iraq. What distinguishes Trump is that he does not want to cooperate with other countries in the same way as before. His slogan is “America first” and sometimes it conflicts with the interests of other countries.
How do you follow the elections?
– Heavsat nougat. I saw the presidential candidate debating, but I missed the candidates’ deputies. After all, it is interesting regardless of your opinion of the United States and its policies because it affects the whole world. If you are reasonably interested in politics, it is hard to avoid interest in American politics as well.
An unruly guessing is that you are not very positive about any of this year’s presidential candidates.
I’m not enthusiastic about any of them – but God is what I hope Joe Biden will win. And not because of himself that I’m so keen to bring him home, but because of Trump entirely.
how do you mean?
Trump is a disaster on many levels. It is not just for his foreign policy but above all for his vision of society. His way of using politics for his own purposes, corruption, and direct fascist tendencies in how he governed the country, his stance on the issue of abortion and his views on women’s rights. There are many. I prefer almost any candidate before him.
– He’s not my dream candidate either. I’d rather see Bernie Sanders or someone else on the left in the Democratic Party. Because that is as much as you can have hopes for in the United States. If I were an American myself, I would probably have supported an independent candidate.
I’m not at all influenced by Trump’s rhetoric. He finds it difficult to express himself, it is difficult to find the words and there is no common denominator in what he says. “
The last election campaign was sloppy in the opinion of many. How would you describe this year’s edition?
Trump has not changed. He continues to make groundless accusations, peppered with things that could have an iota of truth of course. There are also things that Biden and his party should be criticized for. But there is no desire on either side to run a decent and fair election campaign. Sometimes Joe Biden ends up in situations where he responds in the same currency and I just don’t like that.
In a way, you have to show that you are better than the worst candidate and then you have to try to stay good a little bit so you don’t answer the same way. But I understand that at the same time because Trump comes with a viper viper that it is ultimately impossible to ignore in silence, otherwise people will think there is something inside of it.
You clearly don’t like Trump. At the same time, he campaigned aggressively and many gave him credit for his speech and his method for creating a show about politics. Can Swedish politicians learn from it?
A: No, I don’t think there is anything to learn from Trump. I am not slightly impressed by his rhetoric. He has difficulty expressing himself, has difficulty finding words, and there is no common denominator in what he says.
– I remember the moderate leader Ulf Adelson who I think was in 1985 immersed in court, with some kind of levitation device. And it was a show, but completely meaningless and crazy. An election campaign should not be conducted in this way, it must be conducted with realistic politics.
But there are many who believe that the Swedish political debate is fairly smooth. Wouldn’t more elements appear, cheer up?
– This is another issue that has a lot to do with it, and it is in part about politicians today who do not dare to take roles and talk about what makes a difference. There are a lot of ideological differences that I think should be highlighted more, which would also explain to the electorate what alternatives to voting are. There, they can definitely be more fun and clear in how differences are accentuated.
How are the elections going?
– I’m really a bad guess. The last time, I was completely convinced Hillary Clinton would win, and I remember how amazed and negatively surprised I was when the election results fell. Biden made the most advances against a president in office since the 1930s, but that is now beginning to change. I think it could happen anyway and I’m afraid there will be a lot of voters gravitating to Trump. There is cuteness in the show and this obsessed boss who does as little as he likes.
If Biden still wins – how will you remember Trump’s time as president?
– like a disaster. One of the worst presidential terms in US history – and after that he still has an intense rivalry. But there is no president who means anything good about equality, the reduction of class distinctions, health care for all or the ability of people to live a decent life. He’s totally gone in the wrong direction on nearly all points, plus he’s polluting politics through his rhetoric and campaigning.