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That German right-wing landslide

Posted by Mad Mitch on UTC 2018-10-30 07:18. Updated on UTC 2018-10-31

In the German regional election in Hessen last Sunday the Alternative für Deutschland received 13.1 percent of the vote, giving it 19 seats in the regional parliament. 19 out of 137 seats. In German political terms, for the first-time candidacy of a new party, a very good result.

Good enough to cause many left-wing media commentators (that is, most of the media commentators) to start hyperventilating and reach for the sal-volatile. We find ourselves once more swept away by the 'right-wing landslide in Germany'. Weimar! Die Machtergreifung! Hitler! In the good old days of lead type the little box with the exclamation marks in it would be quite empty after the first paragraph. Commentators note, between sniffs at the bottle, that the AfD is now represented in all – All! ALL! – of the regional parliaments in Germany.

Our regular reader knows what is coming next – a restatement of the Figures of Speech First (and Last) Law of German Politics: Nothing Ever Changes.

One observation should really be enough to calm everyone down: the AfD may be represented in all these parliaments, but they are nowhere part of any coalition, meaning that they are totally powerless. All of the other political parties refuse to cooperate with them in any way. They are political outcasts. And they will remain so until they obtain at least 51 percent of the vote in any of these many elections – an outcome that is currently so unlikely… Well, who knows – there are people in the world who have given their entire pension pot to Elon Musk.

If this argument doesn't sway you, then just look at the election result in Hessen:

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Results of the elections to the regional parliament in Hessen 28.10.2018. Source: NZZ/ZDF

67 out of 137 parliamentary seats in Hessen (nearly half) are now occupied by avowedly left-wing parties. Die Linke (the fans of the former East Germany), the SPD (old-time socialists) and Die Grünen (new-time socialists).

The largest party, the CDU, is politically in the same position as the SPD was thirty years ago and must now be counted as a centre-left, not a centre-right party, which is what happens when you choose a leader who made her early career in the East German SED. It pushed the Energiewende, opened the borders to unlimited immigration, expanded social provision etc. If, therefore we add the CDU to the left-wing cohort we have 107 out of 137 seats that are warmed by socialist bottoms.

And that situation will remain unchanged until the day when the AfD gets 51 percent in an election; the day that balls of fire will rain down upon the earth and the four horses will ride through the land.

The reader still looks troubled. Consider this. Germany is now a fundamentally left-wing country – tendency leftwards. Here is a chart showing the political make up of all the German regions:

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Distribution of representatives in the German regional parliaments. Source: TA.

Clear enough, if you just cast your eye over the purple-red-green segments. Inarguably clear if you count the CDU as the centre-left party it has become.

For the numerate doubters: out of 1873 seats in all the regional parliaments, the bottoms of the purple-red-green left warm 888 of them, that is, just under half (spookily, as in Hessen). Add the centre-left CDU/CSU union to that and the number becomes 1493. In comparison, the 198 seats the AfD occupies is a joke number. Some Machtergreifung! (we allow ourselves an exclamation mark in this case).

In German politics, Nothing.Ever.Changes. That's how the system was designed.

Postscript: that Merkel 'resignation'

Reports of her demise – smelling salts over here, please! – have been exaggerated.

She is stepping down at the end of the year as head of her party, the CDU, graciously allowing some other sap to get it in the neck for all the future electoral disasters of the CDU. She will remain Chancellor until at least 2021-ish. No sane person expected her to stand for another term anyway. We'll say it before you do: Nothing.Ever.Changes.

Update 31.10.2018

Apropos Chancellor Merkel's 'resignation'. The astute Benedict Neff, writing in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, hits the nail on the head: As far as the German mainstream media is concerned, she has now ascended into heaven, out of the grubbiness of earthly affairs, to become the patron saint of German politics. As we pointed out, someone else can now get their hands dirty.