Danish People's Party
| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
The party was founded in 1995, by a splinter group of the Progress Party (Fremskridtspartiet).[note 1] Whereas the Progress Party (PP) had been created in 1972 as a motley but somewhat libertarian tax protest and quite chaotic affair, which only later took up anti-immigration, the Danish People's Party (DPP) was created to enforce strict compliance with the party line and with support for the welfare state as one of its cornerstones alongside anti-immigration[note 2] and "soft" Euroscepticism.[note 3] The DPP radically toned down the tax protest element of its PP predecessor and instead focused on freezing tax rates, though sympathetic to minor tax cuts. Other focus areas are protection of the elderly and socially disadvantaged's interests (though preferably only for "proper" Danish citizens), and a tough on crime attitude which is also linked to the DPP's anti-immigration policy by heightening moral panics about immigrant gangs.
As for being racist and far right, the DPP is racist to the extent that xenophobia and Islamophobia overlap with racism and some of its members are prone to the kind of "casual racism" that make them use such phrases as "Negro huts" ("negerhytter") when discussing development aid to Africa. As for being far right, the DPP's anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies and suggestions have become ever harsher since the party's founding as other Danish parties (from Conservatives to Social Democrats) have moved their immigration stances closer to the DPP's which has then upped the ante to further "outbid" these other parties. However, the DPP leadership has from the very beginning been extremely diligent in keeping out any white supremacy or Neo-Nazi tendencies and any member associating with such organizations is immediately excluded. The DPP was thus originally created as a socially conservative splinter group in contrast to some of its anti-immigration allies, such as the Sweden Democrats, which has its roots among the white supremacy movement, or the Norwegian Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet)[note 4] and Dutch Party for Freedom, which were originally libertarian.
Prior to the 2019 parliamtary election, two other far-right parties arrived on the Danish political landscape: Nye Borgerlige (The New Right[note 5]) in 2015, and Rasmus Paludan's party Stram Kurs (Hard Line) in 2017.
The DPP has been arguably one of the most successful political parties in Denmark as, bar a slight dip in 2011, it continuously increased its share of the vote ever since its founding to become the second-largest party in the Folketing (the Danish parliament) at the election of June 18th, 2015 with 21.1% of the vote.[note 6] Having started out by gobbling up mainly former Social Democratic voters, the 2015 election has seen a huge influx of voters who voted for the mainstream agrarian liberal party, Venstre, in 2011. One likely reason was that Venstre's leader, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, is broadly seen as a personally shady character, having let his party and other organizations pay for his own personal expenditures on things like alcohol, clothes and travels, whereas DPP leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl is squeaky clean.
However, nothing lasts forever and the European Parliament election of 2019 saw the DPP slashed from their former place as the largest Danish EP party, holding 4 seats since their widely successful 2014 EP election, to one of the smallest, retaining only a single seat (of the current 13 allotted to Denmark, which will increase to 14 after Brexit; when and if that ever happens). This reversal of fortunes may be due to several scandals considering the use of European funds for political work, the departure of their dominant MEP, Morten Messerschmidt, who instead decided to run for the Danish parliament, the DPP’s almost complete lack of a clear and coherent climate policy in an election where that theme was very prominent, as well as the diminishing appeal of their brand of EU scepticism, which has lauded Brexit as a great stride for national sovereignty.
The DPP performance in the Danish general election on June 5th, 2019 was as catastrophic as at the EP elections in May. The DPP was reduced from 21.1% of the vote in the prior general election of 2015 to just 8.7%, losing 21 of its 37 seats in the Danish parliament. Interestingly these losses were in the main not to the two new parties to the right of the DPP, Nye Borgerlige and Stram Kurs, of which only the former managed (barely) to cross the Danish electoral threshold of 2%, but to the “traditional” parties of the right, the (at least formally) classical liberal Venstre[note 7] and the Conservatives. This reduction in its number of seats also reduced the DPP from being the second largest party, slightly ahead of Venstre, but behind the Social Democrats to a distant third, being well behind both Venstre and the Social Democrats and only a whisker ahead of the Social Liberals, a party hated and despised with a vengeance by the DPP.
- Danish People's Party website. Accessed May 17th, 2019.
- Danmarks Radio (Danish Broadcasting Corporation), »Generation DF« ("Generation Danish People's Party" - TV documentary series). Accessed May 17th, 2019.
- The Danish Progress Party still exists, but is a spent political force having failed to win any national and few local seats since 1998. The party lost its last municipal seat at the local elections of 2009.
- Just in case the party's name isn't obvious enough, it has long used the slogan "Vote Danish!"
- This means that the DPP doesn't want to dismantle or a Danish exit from the European Union. The party even accepts the EU's internal market, just not
filthy foreigners' right to steal jobs or mooch on welfare in Denmarkthe free movement of labor bit. Similarly, the party clamours for a reintroduction of border controls to keep out filthy foreignerscriminals and illegal immigrants.
- It's not just a coincidence that the Norwegian and Danish Progress Parties share the same name as their ideologies are or at least were broadly similar.
- The term “borgerlige” is not easy to translate directly into English, but is used in Danish political discourse to signal any right of centre political party or the entire bloc of parties in the Danish parliament occupying this spectrum. Hence, a translation based on US political terminology would probably be The New Conservatives.
- For comparison, its first election in 1998 gained the DPP 7.4% of the vote and in the 2001-2011 elections, the DPP took home between 12.0% and 13.8% of the vote.
- The name literally means Left, but it is a centre-right party. The odd name is due to it historically being to the left of the Right (Højre) party which later became today’s Conservatives. Similarly, the Danish Radical Left (Radikale Venstre) party is actually a social liberal centrist party and owes its name to it being to the left of Venstre. Yup, Danish politics can be odd and confusing. Not to mention that these days, Venstre tends to be more nationalist conservative than classical liberal in their actual politics.
- DF: Måske kunne vi ”adoptere” ét udviklingsland (DPP: Perhaps we could ”adopt” one developing country), Altinget, March 27th, 2013.
- A fifth of those who voted for the DPP had voted for Venstre in 2011. Se tallene: Her kommer Dansk Folkepartis vælgere fra (Look at the numbers: This is where DPP voters come from), the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, June 19th, 2015
- Karin Axelsson om det danske EP-resultat: Ydmygelse af nationalismen i DF og liberal lykkerus (Karin Axelsson on the Danish EP result: Humiliation of the DPP and liberal euphoria, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, May 25th, 2019
- Resultater (Results - of the Danish general election), the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, June 6th, 2019