The SPD is the loser of the youngest election – again. Unlike the CSU in bavaria, the CDU also lost ground. In contrast, the greens continue to soar. Thorsten winkelmann, a political scientist at the FAU erlangen, ventures a vague outlook on the local elections in a year”s time.
Mr. Winkelmann, can the people’s parties still be saved??
Thorsten winkelmann: we’ve been trying to answer these questions for three decades now. The workforce is shrinking. This raises the question of the existence of a working-class party like the SPD. On the other hand, denominationalism and church resignations are on the rise, and christian parties are suffering as a result. The political apron organizations, i.E. Unions and churches, are becoming less important. The popular parties are finding it increasingly difficult to appeal to as many groups of the population as possible.
How many small parties change political work?
They will not dominate, but they will gain in importance. This makes it more difficult to find majorities that will produce stable governments. In scandinavian countries, there is the model of a minority government. It has also been tried at the state level in this country, but it is rather unusual in the german culture. The parliamentary system in germany is based on the idea that the government is based on a stable majority.
Political content is not always decisive for public profile. Annegret kramp-karrenbauer’s comments about the youtuber rezo are currently drawing criticism. Much ado about nothing?
We live in a media democracy, where the intervals between elevations are becoming shorter and shorter, thanks in part to social media, making it more difficult for parties to formulate and implement reasonably coherent policy programs in the medium to long term. Issues fade into the background, long-term binding forces become less important. What pays is the person. Politicians have to create a profile for themselves. AKK is not a newcomer, but still has no profile at the federal level. She has to manage the balancing act of developing her own profile, but at the same time not distinguish herself too sharply from merkel.
Is it threatening to squander merkel’s legacy??
AKK has the disadvantage of not having an office bonus. Angela merkel benefited greatly from this in the past elections. The CDU has now also been punished, also due to the appearance of the groko in berlin. Because voting decisions, even in the european elections, are very much determined by national perceptions.
What does this mean for the governing coalition in berlin??
The options do not look rosy. Merkel will have a lot of interest in maintaining the coalition until the end of her legislative term, because otherwise she would have to retire early. Despite all the heckling, the SPD is also very interested, because recent poll results indicate that social democracy could fall further.
Could it get any worse??
It’s worth taking a look at our european neighbors, where the traditional social democracy has sunk even lower. So things are going even further downhill.
Why, in fact: the social democrats always manage to raise strong issues at certain points?
The social democrats lack the self-confidence to stand up for their successes in the grand coalition. They talk it up, engage in navel-gazing, one does not stand by one’s own program, but only norgelt around. This is less and less appreciated by the voters.
How the francs voted in the european elections, read here.
In bavaria, the clocks tick differently. The CSU has actually made some gains compared to its sister party. What is the recipe for success of soder’s party??
Two things. EPP leadership candidate manfred weber could also score points as a bavarian. It’s not often that the potential commission president comes from bavaria. Surely his presentation has also drawn: calm, thoughtful, close to home, locally anchored. This goes down well in bavaria. Another role is played by the fact that the unity of the coalition in munchen produces few friction points. Unlike in berlin, where the coalition partners are at loggerheads, in bavaria it works largely without noise.
The green trend continues: what could other parties learn??
The greens successfully manage to be perceived as an opposition party. And yet they are even part of the government: in the bundesrat, for example. The greens are opposition, although they want to be in the government. With the SPD it is the other way round. But the greens may be winning themselves to death. In bavaria they had good success, but not much came out of it. They sit on the hard benches of the opposition for another few years. More important than a great election result are ministerial posts and government responsibility.
Are they up to the task of governing?
They have impressively demonstrated their ability to govern in the red-green coalition at the federal level and in baden-wurttemberg as the strongest force. The greens strongly favored a jamaica coalition after the federal election. So they want to govern. I don’t see any reason why they should not be able to do so.
Are the greens the new people’s party of the germans??
I still see a few question marks in this thesis. The greens still have their electoral base in the cities. Anchoring in the countryside needs to be expanded, and penetration is nowhere near what would be required for a people’s party.
Why has the feared shift to the right failed to materialize, at least in many parts of germany??
We see an increase or stabilization at a high level in other european countries. But the scandals in austria have hurt the right-wing populists. In addition, the classic issues that the afd addresses were not so dominant. Instead, other topics were in demand, where she can’t be so polarizing. Like migration, integration and islam. The focus was on climate issues – so the attribution of competence to the afd is negligible.
What could this mean for next year’s municipal elections??
We see an intra-camp shift. Many SPD voters go to the greens. I can’t see a cross-camp electoral shift. Especially because the CSU has also discovered the issue of the environment, climate and climate protection over the past few months and is trying to play on these issues. To what extent this will succeed is another matter.