Germans often express dismay at the fact that American public is making Donald Trump a front runner. I’m often asked: “How can Americans be so stupid?”
To answer that, lately I’ve been telling them to just look right at home in Germany. When elected officials don’t take the public seriously, then political heads roll. Welcome to democracy.
Last Sunday the German state of Hesse, home of financial center Frankfurt, held municipal elections. The results were (for some) eye-popping. Like in America, mainstream politicians are taking massive blows.
Not only are people fed up with the arrogance of the political mainstream in USA, but so it is in Germany as well.
Over the past weeks and months there’s been a lot of grumbling among the German public amid accusations the mainstream parties have stopped taking their worries and concerns seriously. The biggest issue of concern, among many, is the mass immigration of Muslims into Europe and the continent’s security.
Voters in the state of Hesse have made their voices heard
Angela Merkel’s CDU party took a major blow in a number of cities in Hesse. The anti-immigrant, rightwing AfD party won 13.2 percent of votes in Hesse on Sunday, making them the third largest party behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who won 28.2 percent and 28.0% respectively. The German Green party lost almost one third of their voters.
Over the years Angela Merkel has shifted the party to the center, making it almost indistinguishable from its traditional rival center-left SPD socialist party on a number issues. This naturally left the right political spectrum wide open for the taking. Today mainstream Germans politicians are aghast that the AfD has rushed in to fill the massive political void. Last Sunday’s election showed this in the clearest terms.
German mainstream parties in collapse
And things are only getting even worse for the mainstream parties. Today Germany’s once traditional CDU and SPD parties find themselves in full blown collapse.
This coming Sunday the rich southern state of Baden Württemberg will be holding state elections, and both mainstream parties are expected to see astonishing losses. Merkel’s CDU is forecast to pick up only a miserable 28.5% of the vote, a whopping 10.5% less than 5 years ago. The socialist SPD party faces total ruin, projected to pick up only 12.5% of the vote, which is 10.6% less then the already miserable 23.1% they got in 2011. The hard right AfD on the other hand, is expected to haul in 12.5%.
German Minister scolds the public
Many leaders of the old mainstream parties are now lashing out at the latest results of democracy, some even taking it upon themselves to scold the citizens. An angry Sigmar Gabriel of the SPD party said Monday, for example, “There is, damn it, a responsibility by the citizens for this democracy.” In other words, Gabriel’s view of democracy is one that does not offer any options. Vote for what we say, or shut the hell up.
Mr. Gabriel is the German Minister who recently warned that Americans should not be voting for Donald Trump!
Is it any wonder these old crusty politicians are losing relevance faster than immigrants are coming in? It’s not the citizens who need to take their responsibilities seriously – rather it’s the political leaders themselves.