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A Horse Named Stranger

German politics. Flinten Uschi defying the laws of gravity

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So, to spite my face, I'll cut my nose? It's not about "rewarding" direct candidates, it's about the lesser evil. You cannot go out and say: oh, the evil AfD-candidates, they collaborate with Nazis! and then vote in a way that basically enables their candidate to win the constituency. The two votes are a specifically designed to give the voter this tactical tool. Tactical voting is not something that parties do, it's something that voter can (and IMO should) do.

And even moreso in a situation, where the AfD-List was reduced to 30 seats by the constitutional court, because the second half of the list was voted by a different voting mechanism. Which meant that the direct candidates, many of them on the second half, are more important in this election (to the AfD) than in any other, because the direct candidates from the second list are not counted against the seats on the first.

I'm not going to defend CDU policies, but when I have the choice, I'll pick them over AfD - even in Saxony.

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Have you considered the possibility that a large section of electorate think of CDU as equal (not lesser) evil?

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1 hour ago, Gorn said:

Have you considered the possibility that a large section of electorate think of CDU as equal (not lesser) evil? 

I have, but I have not seen any conclusive evidence for that to be true (well, excluding those who voted AfD, who obviously think that the CDU is worse than the AfD). You have to consider that the SPD were in a coalition with the CDU and the Greens are prepared to join that coalition. Both parties obviously have their problems with the CDU but do not rule out constructive collaboration, from which I would deduct that at least a substantial part of their voters see the CDU indeed as the lesser evil. Nevertheless, their first-vote share across all constituencies roughly matches their second-vote result.

But it gets worse: In every constituency of Leipzig, that did not go to Greens or Linke (4 out of 7 - Leipzig 1, 3, 6 & 7) Linke, SPD and Greens together have MORE first votes than AfD or CDU and still! those 4 constituencies went to the CDU candidates who often have less than 30% of the total vote. Which basically means that even if they did consider the CDU on the same level as AfD, they still couldn't get their shit together enough to elect a leftist candidate despite having the voter potential to do so.

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Again, that's the old drama. Tactical votes are the domain of the groups that just crave power - no matter what. That's their big advantage and main reason they win more often than not. The competition from the left is more inclined to vote with their conscience. 

I still don't think it is a good idea to get even more of them into a position of relative power just to avoid a direct mandate for the undesirables in front of your door step. Tactical voting makes sense if it can avoid madame Le Pen as president. But picking backbencher Mayer over Müller...why bother? They are both non-entities in the grand scheme of things.

I know it's a bit unfair to put CDU and AfD on one level. That's not true - not even in Saxony. But rewarding them for their shameless behavior over the last decades? 

It would indeed be a very bad joke if former CDU voters now vote AfD because they are the real deal for them and then we expect the more progressives to vote for a shitty party like the CDU to avoid...what exactly? The end result would be that we now have a massive group of politicians and their retinue who are very right of centre. That would definitely leave a bitter taste in my mouth as a voter. Be glad if  you live in a state where the left is participating at least a bit for all that it's worth. Bavarians don't really have a choice for ages thanks to a party that learned to suffocate the far right by copying all their positions. Here I can throw away both of my votes every other year. It never counts for anything.

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18 hours ago, kiko said:

I know it's a bit unfair to put CDU and AfD on one level. That's not true - not even in Saxony. But rewarding them for their shameless behavior over the last decades?  

For the CDU in its entirety? I agree, that's a bit too broad, and not entirely deserved to view them as AfD. However, their right wing nutters have found a new name for themselves "Werteunion", that their values is basically a worthless masturbation fantasy of Doitschland how it's not been for quite some time, They are the ones that want to cooperate with the AfD and get real hard-on when they hear Maaßen talk. So basically friends of Steinbach, that have not buggered off with her to the AfD. I'll leave it up to you to figure out where the substantive difference between them and your average AfD orc lies - this is even more true for their Saxony chapter. I mean how much beyond the pale can you be, the CDU in Saxony is not particulary liberal in general, and their far right wing *shudder. The only thing of value they got, is basically my contempt; and I am not sure how much value anybody wants to attribute to it.

Edited by A Horse Named Stranger

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On 9/6/2019 at 10:57 PM, kiko said:

Again, that's the old drama. Tactical votes are the domain of the groups that just crave power - no matter what. That's their big advantage and main reason they win more often than not. The competition from the left is more inclined to vote with their conscience. 

I still don't think it is a good idea to get even more of them into a position of relative power just to avoid a direct mandate for the undesirables in front of your door step. Tactical voting makes sense if it can avoid madame Le Pen as president. But picking backbencher Mayer over Müller...why bother? They are both non-entities in the grand scheme of things. 

I know it's a bit unfair to put CDU and AfD on one level. That's not true - not even in Saxony. But rewarding them for their shameless behavior over the last decades? 

It would indeed be a very bad joke if former CDU voters now vote AfD because they are the real deal for them and then we expect the more progressives to vote for a shitty party like the CDU to avoid...what exactly? The end result would be that we now have a massive group of politicians and their retinue who are very right of centre. That would definitely leave a bitter taste in my mouth as a voter. Be glad if  you live in a state where the left is participating at least a bit for all that it's worth. Bavarians don't really have a choice for ages thanks to a party that learned to suffocate the far right by copying all their positions. Here I can throw away both of my votes every other year. It never counts for anything.

Politicians who don't want power are either stupid or liars or delusional. You need power to change and shape politics and policies. Winning direct seats means that you have the ground organisation and the voting potential to win a relative majority and that alone will strengthen the attractiveness of your local political structures. Direct mandates usually don't change the PR in parliament, but they serve as symbols. You may remember the electoral map after the last general election and the enormous symbolism of those blue stains in the east. It was a symbol that the AfD has taken permanent root, it has enough local organisationl savy to make that happen. It also shows that the Greens for example are a strictly urban party in Saxony, who basically have no or very little ground game outside Dresden and Leipzig (maybe Chemnitz, too). It shows that Die Linke (who used to be the prime challenger for direct mandates) is basically dying out, outside those two cities (quite literal, many of their rural faithfuls are old SED cadres who are now getting very old, and no rejuvenation is happening).

But here it is more than just symbolism, more than the fact that so many constituencies are now represented by AfD candidates. In Saxony, we had a decisision that limites the list of the AfD to 30 candidates, i.e. those who were elected on that list during the first round. Because they changed the voting system in the second round, the second half of the list was struck from the ballot. However, this applied only to the list. Whoever was on the second list and got elected via direct vote, would still get the seat and his seat would not be counted against the list. Which means: without any direct candidates, the AfD list would have been reduced to 30 (PR would have given them 39) and because the CDU got more direct mandates than their proportional share, their overhang mandates would have given every other party adjustment seats (except the AfD).

Finally, I found it interesting that out of 6 CDU direct candidates who invited Maaßen into their constituency to support them, 5 lost their constituency to the AfD. Two of them who very openly wanted to try a coalition with the AfD. Only Rößler got through - perhaps on name recognition, but certainly also because his constituency is the most urban constituency within the county. It shows IMO that pandering to the AfD will not get the "lost" voters back.

It will be interesting see how the internal power struggles will play out, i.e. wether the "no coalitionists" or the "coalitionists" will win. So far the first camp around Kretschmer is pretty firm in power, but a lot will depend on wether and how a black/green coalition will turn out.

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7 hours ago, Alarich II said:

But here it is more than just symbolism, more than the fact that so many constituencies are now represented by AfD candidates. In Saxony, we had a decisision that limites the list of the AfD to 30 candidates, i.e. those who were elected on that list during the first round. Because they changed the voting system in the second round, the second half of the list was struck from the ballot. However, this applied only to the list. Whoever was on the second list and got elected via direct vote, would still get the seat and his seat would not be counted against the list. Which means: without any direct candidates, the AfD list would have been reduced to 30 (PR would have given them 39) and because the CDU got more direct mandates than their proportional share, their overhang mandates would have given every other party adjustment seats (except the AfD).

Keeping the AfD out of parliament or reducing their presence there won't make the reasons why people vote for them go away. Like it or not, they do represent a substantial part of the electorate. Shutting them out would be undemocratic. You need to convince people not to vote for them.

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Like it or not, they do represent a substantial part of the electorate. Shutting them out would be undemocratic. You need to convince people not to vote for them. 

Exactly. I think this is still not done. On the contrary: Any coalition (often of former mortal enemies) to avoid a situation like CDU minority government tolerated by AfD adds to the impression that there is a "system" or establishment that wants to keep their power and "ordinary people" out of it. Of course, this impression is partially correct, that's why it is so easy for AfD and similar groups to use it for their nefarious purposes.

The only solution seems at least twofold: Allow more and real political differences and hard fights among the established parties, not mere nuances and all kinds of coalitions just to keep in power so that they seem all the same with different colors and that there is only one "Alternative".

That would imply (very simplified) SPD going much further to the "left" than they are atm and CDU going further to the "right". And such more "extreme" (although many would not have been considered off the map 30 years ago, remember that Gauland was not even the far right within CDU back then) positions have to be admissible to polite discourse, not ridiculed or demonized before even being articulated and debated. And the second point is that this has to be backed by policies that give the people what they want. From better social systems, better schools, more infrastructure in weak regions to being "tougher" wrt migration, for more independence from EU institutions etc.

I see neither of this happening, so the main hope for the establishment is that the AfD will keep shooting themselves due to inexperience or stupidity and split further because they can't keep their factions of the libertarian (Weidel), conservative (Gauland) and nationalist (Hoecke) together. But even this will not help in the long run as other alternative parties will arise, if the established parties don't change their ways.

Edited by Jo498

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4 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Exactly. I think this is still not done. On the contrary: Any coalition (often of former mortal enemies) to avoid a situation like CDU minority government tolerated by AfD adds to the impression that there is a "system" or establishment that wants to keep their power and "ordinary people" out of it. Of course, this impression is partially correct, that's why it is so easy for AfD and similar groups to use it for their nefarious purposes.

TBH I don't give a fuck about how the feelings of people who voted for a pretty open racist party. They can cry all they want, that their vote doesn't matter. Why should it? ~25% is not a majority. It is minority, a significant one, but still a minority. Besides, I find that argument to be pretty rich popping up now, as the CDU had very little reservations about ignoring a bigger share of voters in Eastern Germany with the PDS in the past.

 

4 hours ago, Jo498 said:

That would imply (very simplified) SPD going much further to the "left" than they are atm and CDU going further to the "right". And such more "extreme" (although many would not have been considered off the map 30 years ago, remember that Gauland was not even the far right within CDU back then) positions have to be admissible to polite discourse, not ridiculed or demonized before even being articulated and debated. And the second point is that this has to be backed by policies that give the people what they want. From better social systems, better schools, more infrastructure in weak regions to being "tougher" wrt migration, for more independence from EU institutions etc.

That has in part to do with Gauland himself tho, if I am not mistaken. He started out as fairly liberal within the Hessian CDU I think. So there's a chance that his younger self would look at him and be fairly appalled. But yes, overall the CDU under Merkel has taken a giant step into the political center. And quite a lot of the despicables (likesay Steinbach) are out now. So I am not sure the CDU can return to their ghastly former self in its entirety. If they want to win majorities, I don't think those [fill in explicit] from the Werteunion can deliver on that. They may very well win votes in the more rural areas and in Saxony, but they'd get murdered electorally in the more urban areas, particularly in the west. We are not living in the 1950s anymore.

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CDU as minority being tolerated was merely an example, I am not in favor of it.

Say what you will, an obvious problem has been for almost two decades that 3-4 parties crowd the "middle", what they think as the center where supposedly elections are won. Only SPD has been losing for all this time (and this strategy is certainly responsible for some of their losses) and most of the others except for the Greens have been losing a lot as well, only less than their competitors.

The biggest problem for democracy is not some supposedly proto-fascist party (while there are some unsavory types in the AfD, more of them are basically FDP and CSU types who became homeless). The biggest problem is that democracy lives from articulation of different viewpoints and argument about them and now we are presented in many fields with the statement that there is no alternative (TINA) and even thinking of alternatives tends to be suppressed, ridiculed or demonized in public discourse. There is no alternative to the current, utterly undemocratic EU, not to going to war wherever NATO wants us to, not to letting corporations go without paying taxes, not to allowing tax havens within EU, not to cutting welfare and pensions, not to poorly controlled migration etc.

If we don't get alternatives to these unquestioned constraints back into the different established parties programs in a believeable way, we get AfD or the next "Alternative" which might be worse.

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16 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

TBH I don't give a fuck about how the feelings of people who voted for a pretty open racist party

This brought us in the situation: In the people who felt like they were not taken seriously by any other party. Once they declared themselves as AFD voters, they got even quicker condemned as "dumb Nazis".

I think what helps against the AFD is not only more political diversoty but also listining to more folks. How did it Söder call it?

Quote

Die entscheidende Antwort auf diese Wahlen muss sein, dass man in Berlin nicht dauernd um sich selber kreist.

Also I would like to add that I don't understand why there is so much whining about the AFD. Yes, some party members have a difficult past (and present) which should not be ignored but a lot act like the party is the NSDAP recarniated. Doesn't our democracy need a right counterweight to the left (Linke & Grüne)?

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5 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Say what you will, an obvious problem has been for almost two decades that 3-4 parties crowd the "middle", what they think as the center where supposedly elections are won. Only SPD has been losing for all this time (and this strategy is certainly responsible for some of their losses) and most of the others except for the Greens have been losing a lot as well, only less than their competitors.

 

The SPD has been a centerish party at least since 1980s, if not before that. Helmut "Smokey" Schmidt has never been left wing politician by any stretch of imagination. Lafontaine was, but he never was the political heavyweight his supporters imagined him to be - outside his home state. The SPD [voting] crises is certainly in part to the overcrowded political centre (again Merkel has moved the CDU there in exchange for controversy (or content as the conservatives call it) and arseholes (conservative figureheads)). Then we have the Agenda reforms, which are hindsight just horrible pieces of legislation and bad policies for socialist party, and then we have as a last factor that the traditional SPD voting (coal and steel) worker is not really existent anymore (at least not in big enough numbers), while the party as such struggles to replace them. Fun exercise Try to come up with a typical SPD voter.

5 hours ago, Jo498 said:

 The biggest problem for democracy is not some supposedly proto-fascist party (while there are some unsavory types in the AfD, more of them are basically FDP and CSU types who became homeless). The biggest problem is that democracy lives from articulation of different viewpoints and argument about them and now we are presented in many fields with the statement that there is no alternative (TINA) and even thinking of alternatives tends to be suppressed, ridiculed or demonized in public discourse. There is no alternative to the current, utterly undemocratic EU, not to going to war wherever NATO wants us to, not to letting corporations go without paying taxes, not to allowing tax havens within EU, not to cutting welfare and pensions, not to poorly controlled migration etc.

 

There we are in agreement. However I don't think the CDU/CSU will move back to their unhinged asshole era. The era of FJS and Kohl is over. If they make sharp turn to the right again, they'd lose more in the centre than they could gain on the fringes. Seehofeer and Söder tried that for the last state election in Bavaria. Now Söder is trying to position himself as the Green voice of conservatism. Which really shouldn't work, but his popularity is rising, which makes me question the intelligence of the average voter. But that's another story for another day.

1 hour ago, Karneol said:

This brought us in the situation: In the people who felt like they were not taken seriously by any other party. Once they declared themselves as AFD voters, they got even quicker condemned as "dumb Nazis".

 

So I should take them serious because they are voting for racists? Is that your argument? Or are you saying the AfD are a legit democratic force? I want to know at which of those two I am supposed to laugh.

1 hour ago, Karneol said:

Also I would like to add that I don't understand why there is so much whining about the AFD. Yes, some party members have a difficult past (and present) which should not be ignored but a lot act like the party is the NSDAP recarniated. Doesn't our democracy need a right counterweight to the left (Linke & Grüne)?

The CDU in Saxony was/is already a very conservative party. How much more counterweight you need?

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2 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

So I should take them serious because they are voting for racists? Is that your argument? Or are you saying the AfD are a legit democratic force? I want to know at which of those two I am supposed to laugh.

If somebody would take them and their problems serious and don't pass them over because they are "racist scums" they wouldn't vote for such radical parties. I watched some tv-show about the elections, where they asked voters on their opinion and "I don't feel like other parties care about me and my region" was an often said argument.

 

2 hours ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

The CDU in Saxony was/is already a very conservative party. How much more counterweight you need?

I meant that in the Bundestag. But I think that there should be also some difference between the Bundesländer.

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3 hours ago, Karneol said:

If somebody would take them and their problems serious and don't pass them over because they are "racist scums" they wouldn't vote for such radical parties. I watched some tv-show about the elections, where they asked voters on their opinion and "I don't feel like other parties care about me and my region" was an often said argument.

I am not calling every Saxonian a racist bigotted pos with an annoying accent. I am literally saying, they voted for a bunch of racists, And I feel not even remotely comelled to validate their electoral choice by taking them serious for voting a bunch of bigotted racists. Some of their concerns are valid, others like their fear of too many foreigners being allowed into Germany, well, given that there are almost very few foreiners in those states, they can go and f... themselves. My inner cynic feels the urge to add, that most of those incels do that anyway, as the young women are getting the hell out of that region. 

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On 9/9/2019 at 4:19 PM, Loge said:

Keeping the AfD out of parliament or reducing their presence there won't make the reasons why people vote for them go away. Like it or not, they do represent a substantial part of the electorate. Shutting them out would be undemocratic. You need to convince people not to vote for them.

Reducing them via tactical voting is a democratic option and if the AfD shoots itself in the foot with their list shennanigans, then so be it. There is nothing undemocratic in using your votes in a way that maximises their impact in favour of your preferred outcome.

Now to the voters: of course they won't go away. They've always been here and a substantial part of the AfD voters are indeed in agreement with many of the popular talking points of their party. If this was just about protest, Die Linke wouldn't have failed so badly. The problem here is that the CDU was overconfident for 20 years and they have neglected two things:

1. The regional development: a lot of their policies on the communal and administrative level was dictated by a rapidly shrinking population and their answer was retreat, retreat, retreat. Communal public services were centralized, reduced, abandoned. Rural municipalities came under enormous financial pressure because they get much less taxes allocated per resident than cities but had to maintain a lot of infrastructure. To give you an idea: the municipality where my parents live consists of 39 villages, many of which are only a couple of old farm-steads, where two dozen people live. The problem is that the majority of the voters in Saxony live in rural municipalities and small cities. So while the successful cities like Leipzig and Dresden are growing, the rest is experiencing a sharp decline in terms of public services - especially if they were used to a state that extended its organizing hands deep into the last small villages.

2. With the retreat of municipal structures came the retreat of political parties; Die Linke as successor of the SED still had their old structures, but these are dying out and only the CDU still had some active rural associations. SPD, Greens, FDP never managed to build up meaningful party structures that could penetrate the rural parts of Saxony. The political parties left a vacuum and extreme right-wing parties tried to push into this vacuum with some succes from the early 2000s onwards; they prepared the ground. The CDU ignored this because they saw themselves as the only "votable" conservative force (although 9% NPD in 2004 should have been a wake-up call!) and because they had little to offer in terms of actual policies for rural areas. Instead they ignored political education and fought their old battles against "the left", which in Saxony used to be ex-SED dominated for the longest time (and thankfully the emerging Greens will break that).

Today, we can see that the AfD mobilizes mainly voters who didn't vote before. And my prediction is that to a certain extend they will retreat to the non-voters if the new coalition manages the next 5 years in a decent manner. But the others will not go back to the CDU and I believe that the AfD will establish itself permanently. For now we will see the first collaboration and coalitions on municipal levels and in 5 years time, I believe they will successfully install a few mayors too. And from there onward, the CDU will have to tell the AfD under which circumstances they will consider a coalition. In 10 years time we may have the first coalition governments with the AfD in Eastern Germany.

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13 hours ago, Ser Hedge said:

Liebe Österreicher, get your own thread please :D

I'm only an American expat living in Austria. 

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Wir schließen die Ösis in dem Thread einfach an...

 

15 hours ago, Wolfgang I said:

Abandon all hope I guess. 

I guess the structural right-wing majority getting confirmed is a bit of a blow, but the writing was on the wall. I mean when was the last time that a government coalition without the participation of at least a centre-right party was a possible in Austria? The elections of 1979 I believe? At least you can take solace in the losses the FPÖ incurred. At least there are still some scandals that can make a difference. And maybe HC Strache will take a few more with him on his way out. SO there's that.

There's also the question who will lead the left wing. SPÖ is still losing while the Greens have almost quadrupled their last election result.

But yeah, structurally SPÖ and Greens could only gather a third of the votes. This means that there can be no viable coalition without the participation of the ÖVP.

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