Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today's Useful Data and Analyses: The German Election


The Crisis of European Social Democracy™ continues as the German Social Democrats crash to a post-World War II low of a mere 20 percent of the vote. Pathetic. The Alternative for Germany, the far-right populist party, makes it into parliament for the first time on 13 percent of the vote (third most support of any party). Merkel will be chancellor again, though her party, at 33 percent, had its worst showing since 1949. What on earth is going on?

The place place to start of course is with the data.. And the best place for that is that a set of charts and maps in the Financial Times. A nice feature of German exit poll/election analyses is that they always calculate where gains and losses of each party came from among previous nonvoters, first-time voters and previous supporters of other parties. Also, great maps. 

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the FT article is where they show how the SPD hemorrhaged votes in economically depressed parts of western Germany and the Left party gained votes among youth and professionals while losing support in manufacturing areas. Interesting and similar to the evolution of left oppositions in other Western countries.

For context, I strongly recommend this interview in Jacobin with University of Basel sociologist Oliver Nachtwey. Actually published pre-election, it is very good on the "radical centrism" of Merkel and the challenges faced by the various constituent parts of the left. 

Finally, John Judis points correctly to the unpleasant implications of the probable "Jamaica" coalition Merkel may form that includes both the Greens and the Free Democrats. The difficulties this will present to French President Emmanuel Macron's ideas for EU/Eurozone reform are considerable, since the Free Democrats are total hard-liners on not giving an inch on reform to other European states that they view as profligate. 

In other words, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

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