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For years the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) was low in the polls and bobbed around at 15%, far behind the leading alliance of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) and also way behind the Greens. Another decline seemed likely and apparently it was only a matter of time before the SPD would also be overtaken by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP).
The reasons for this were homemade. On the one hand, they originated from the time when the SPD held the position as head of government. On the other hand, they were based on the behavior of leading SPD politicians and the disastrous state of the party.
Under the SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder 1998-2005, the party initiated a hitherto unprecedented social cut under the title “Agenda 2010”. Social welfare for the poor was abolished and replaced by a model called “Hartz” after its creator, which puts people in need under maximum pressure and even forces them to renounce constitutionally guaranteed basic rights.
The penalty had to be paid in 2005 when the SPD lost the federal elections and the post of head of government. In the following 16 years the party was involved in the federal government for most of the time, but only as a junior partner of the CDU/CSU. It didn’t succeed to develop a political profile against this unloved partner during this time, as the CDU/CSU under Angela Merkel had previously taken over social democratic positions that had been given up by the SPD during its reign.
Renewed participation in government from 2013 onwards intensified the power struggle among the leading party officials. The SPD was able to gain slightly in the previous elections, but at a low level, and was only able to offer itself as a coalition partner because of the weakness of the FDP. The SPD, however, remained colourless and without a discernible political concept.
The leading party functionaries, as well as backbenchers and aspiring careerists, publicly blamed each other and tried to raise their profile through public criticism of their own party. Formally, the pragmatic, business-friendly right wing and the traditionally trade union left wing collided. In fact, however, it was only a matter of getting hold of the increasingly fewer lucrative government posts and parliamentary seats, if necessary to the detriment of one’s own party.
Thus, the further decline was inevitable, even though the SPD should have known better, because the departure of the FDP from the Bundestag and the federal government in 2013, which had given way to the SPD, was based on the same self-tearing process that the SPD was now going through.
By July 2021, about two months before the election, this situation had not changed and the party had fallen to just 15% in polls. The SPD was seen as a divided bunch with no profile of its own, which was actually politically useless, except as a majority funder. But then the miracle of resurrection happened.
Within a very short time, the party stormed to the top of the polls and won the federal election. This could not be due to the SPD’s program, because it had not changed and is still as meaningless today as it was before.
Instead, the SPD benefited from an effect that is now formative in Western democracies, which have completed the transition from capitalism to manipulism. Most voters no longer choose a political direction, but rather a person they like most. And that was exactly the chance for the top candidate of the SPD, Olaf Scholz.
He’s not particularly charismatic, but he has an impressive ability, shown for example in his previous role as Minister of Finance. He is able to do nothing, or at least nothing essential, without being noticed. If you don’t do anything, you don’t make mistakes, and if you don’t make mistakes, you are obviously the best.
At least that is how many voters saw it, who originally wanted to vote for the CDU/CSU or the Greens. The CDU/CSU split up in the succession battle for Angela Merkel, strongly supported by the MSM, who reported with relish, in order to bind readers and viewers with gutter journalism and scandals. At the same time, the Greens had sent a top candidate into the race, whose inexperience in dealing with these same mainstream media cost them enormous sympathies.
On the other hand, the brawlers within the SPD suddenly held back in a noticeable way. Apparently, they had finally realized that a public power struggle would only lead to catastrophe. Instead of giving interviews and demonstrating the greatest possible distance to Olaf Scholz in order to put themselves in the right light, now the top candidate was allowed to speak. After all, he knows masterfully how to speak without actually saying anything, which effectively conceals the empty content of the SPD.
In addition, it should not be forgotten that although the SPD was able to win in the 2021 elections, this gain came on a very low level and was in no way capable of lifting the party back to old heights.
The current strength of the SPD is not its own but the weakness of its competitors. The possible coalition partners FDP and Greens, who have already put together a thick package of wishes, are also aware of this. After all, they know that the SPD will give up pretty much any position it still has anywhere if it only results in the office of head of government and well-paid ministerial posts.
It is therefore not to be expected that in a possible SPD-led federal government, significant impulses, regardless of the direction, will come from this party. In addition, as Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz has proven that he has a priority on big business. For the majority of around 80% of Germans who did not vote for the SPD in 2021, but will now probably have to live with an SPD head of government, the prospects are bleak.
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