THE SWEDISH MODERATE PARTY – NOT SO OPENLY HEARTED ANYMORE?
A study of the Moderates' move towards using populist radical right language.
Existing literature argues that mainstream parties strategise when other niche parties threaten their position. I argue that we can observe this unfold on a practical level through how the mainstream parties use language. This thesis examines the case of Sweden, where the Moderates have over time moved closer to its niche counterpart and populist radical right party, the Sweden Democrats. More specifically, I conducted a thematic analysis of twenty-four parliamentary speeches made by Moderate MPs to see if and how their use of language has followed the partys public move towards the Sweden Democrats as they have grown in power. I found that the Moderates have over time begun to use language that is similar to that of the Sweden Democrats but it is more subtle. Considering that the Moderates are a mainstream party, it is not surprising that their ‘copied’ language is not as clear or as vibrant as the Sweden Democrats' 'original'. This study illustrates that language is part of political strategising and there is a great need for future research to study what this might mean for party politics on a larger scale but also for other countries in Europe.
Populist Radical Right, Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Meguids Modified Spatial Model, Political language, Political communication, Populism, Nativism, Authoritarianism, Thematic analysis, Parliamentary speeches.