Rhineland-palatinate: malu bonus for the spd
Rhineland-Palatinate: malu bonus for the spd

Dreyer and Klockner. Image: Olaf Kosinsky/CC BY-SA 3.0 EN

In Mainz, the Social Democrats – and the AfD – sing and laugh

Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left said in an interview the sentence: "Today, people always choose different coalitions, but politics hardly changes at all. And there is hardly any debate about fundamental alternatives." The cleanup is as elementary as it is vague. The political experts on television hardly bother with it. In other public spheres and in private life it looks different. There is first time agreement for this estimation, already for years.

The statement speaks basically for a politics vexation that has turned many voters into non-voters. The phrase can also be applied directly to the SPD, which is hardly different from the chancellor’s party in the Rough Berlin Coalition. To put it bluntly: CSU leader Seehofer is much more clearly perceived as the opposite of Merkel than SPD Vice Chancellor Gabriel. Seehofer, however, has only one ie to thank for this: how the government should position itself against the large number of asylum seekers and refugees. There are a lot of other important ies.

Paid however on this super choice Sunday above all the topic "Refugee crisis", he says in many commentaries. Hence the CDU’s high losses and the AfD’s gains. Falling under the table is the moment with which the AfD developed gross traction: that it presented itself as the antithesis of the "established parties" is certainly an equally important reason for their success.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, neither the refugee crisis nor the opposition’s emphasis on all other parties had the same strong effect as in Baden-Wurttemberg and Saxony-Anhalt. Election winner Maria Luise Dreyer did not need to answer difficult questions. She just wanted to celebrate, as she said. Shortly after 6 p.m., when it was clear that the SPD would have the most votes, she spoke of a "Victory of the SPD and the Minister President" and how great it was.

The reporter of the SWR asked about it like about an Olympic victory or a three-goal-surge of a center-forward: "What is her emotional state?" "Sensational, great!"

"A political genius rather rare today"

In fact, the "catching up" remarkable. At the SPD party conference in November, the SPD was still 10 percentage points behind the CDU with its top candidate Julia Klockner, according to the polls. On election night, when the projections were made at 10 p.m., the SPD was ahead of the CDU (31.7%) by 4.6 percentage points, with 36.3%. It was striking for the viewer of the election debates and commentaries on the state radio station SWR up to this point that state political topics were apparently not worthy of attention for the election results. They were mentioned only occasionally as a keyword – "National Park", "Kita fees" -, but slipped right back into the offing.

For the time being, the only important thing was the SPD’s election victory, which – as at the party’s congress – was related primarily to the candidate.

In November, she was at the center of the Social Democrats’ meeting, with a clear message: "The best for Rhineland-Palatinate". Statements about content take a back seat: "In a nutshell: Malu Dreyer is someone you would like to have as a friend, you can trust her and rely on her. She is a rather rare political genius today."

It may be that this party congress rendition from an SPD municipal association is overweighted. But the TV coverage of the SPD success in RP showed a very similar pattern.

But then a problem arose: The other election winner, the AfD, changed the distribution of seats in the state parliament with its 12.5 percent success in such a way that the previous red-green government no longer had a majority. The Greens had to tremble for a long time whether they would even manage the 5 percent hurdle.

Even if the Greens did manage to get through the hurdle: The loss of 10 percentage points of votes, a significant part of which also went to the party that has in its name what used to be used synonymously for Grune – "the alternatives" -, goes to the substance of the party.

The rough coalition as "Ultima Ratio"

For Rhineland-Palatinate, one part of Wagenknecht’s reappraisal mentioned at the beginning of this article applies in any case: a new coalition has been elected. A traffic light coalition, red-yellow-green or the rough coalition of SPD and CDU are mathematically possible. Maria Louise Dreyer called the rough coalition a "Ultima Ratio". Although the head of the FDP in Rhineland-Palatinate stated that he was ready for any talks, the tenor of the political experts is that the FDP and Grune "few points of contact" have in the country.

There will be the familiar rounds of negotiations in the political arena, but the fact that they will produce fresh ideas for the state is not the main focus. Governability will be the watchword. In the meantime, SWR presented a short analysis, which showed that the majority of voters in Rhineland-Palatinate voted for the SPD on the ies of the economy and the fight against crime!), but that 48 percent of voters trusted the SPD more on family policy and 49 percent on social justice ies. The CDU came here on 25 and 21 percent.

Julia Klockner was celebrated by her state party despite the election defeat. Her campaign was most notable for its promotion of the strengthening of national borders – a federal ie, so the reason for her defeat is also being sought in Berlin. For the time being she bears little damage. How the state parliamentary elections attracted so much attention, especially with respect to federal politics.

In this context, a fundamental aspect of the elections is also worth considering. The high voter turnout, over 70 percent, is also linked here to the AfD. This only with the "Refugee crisis" would be a gross mistake. The AfD is not a homogeneous bloc that raises only this one ie.