Friday, February 7, 2020

Dumbest political move in recent history.

In October of 2019, the german state of Thuringia held elections. the results of those elections were as follows:

29 - Linke (Socialist)
22 - AfD (Neo Nationalist)
21 - CDU (Christian Democrat)
8 - SPD (Social Democrat)
5 - Grn (Green)
5 - FDP (Business Liberal)

The existing government was a Red-Red-Green one (Linke+SPD+Greens) and these three parties won a combined 42 seats, short of a Majority.

This is where the numbers get a little complicated.

In trying to put together a minority, the Incumbent was able to receive 43 votes on the first ballot, and 44 on the Second. Where these additional members came from is unknown to me. On the first ballot, the CDU candidate took 25 votes, and on the second, 22. 22 people abstained on the first ballot and 24 on the second.

Someone clearly didn't vote with the party, multiple someones.

The third ballot, however, is where everything started to go nuts.

The FDP leader ran, instead of the CDU leader, and managed to win, 45 votes to 44, with 1 abstention.

It is here I should divert to point out that in 1952, Reinhold Maier, a veteran of the first world war, was elected as Premier of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. He lead a SPD-FDP coalition despite coming third in the election. He was, up to 2019, the only FDP member to be a state Premier.

After the first two rounds of voting to elect the new Premier in Thuringia in which the CDU nominated their own candidate, who lost in both the rounds, the FDP nominated it's leader as its candidate. He then won, with clear AfD support in the secret ballot for Premier among the members of the Legislature.

It should be noted that 17 of the 21 CDU members had earlier signed a letter saying they should consider working with the AfD, and that it is quite likely there was co-ordination on this, as opposed to the FDP leader 'unknowingly' managing to be elected by the AfD.

This broke the long-standing cordon sanitaire around the AfD. Many people consider the AfD to be similar to the NAZI party, however, as someone who has looked at political parties and the things they do, say, and promise to do, the AfD is much closer to the DNVP, the far-right nationalist party that literally sat in coalition with the NAZI party, and helped it pass the Enabling Act, which gave it dictatorial powers. The NAZIs then removed the DNVP from power 3 months later. The DNVP would then participate in the July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler. The AfD is not Hitler, the AfD is, at its worst, Hitler Enabling.

Regardless, the party is widely viewed as a danger by many within and outside of Germany. Working with them thus caused widespread protests, and condemnations from all parties - including the federal CDU and FDP.

The FDP leader, facing 3 days of this, announced he would be calling snap elections.

So. You may see the basics, but I want to go over exactly why this was the dumbest political move in recent history.

Lets go take a look at the position of the 3 parties in question at the last election:

22 - AfD (Neo Nationalist)
21 - CDU (Christian Democrat)
5 - FDP (Business Liberal)

This is with the anti-AfD agreement in place, with the assumption from many voters, that the AfD would never be allowed to get near government, and, despite that, the AfD managed to beat both the CDU and the FDP.

Additionally, keep in mind that simply allowing the AfD to back them, has harmed them among many more progressive voters; who otherwise could vote for the parties for social or economic reasons. The FDP in particular only passed the threshold by a handful of votes, and now, faces the worst backlash.

Lets assume for a moment that for the FDP this all "worked". What is the most likely result? For one, the FDP could be expected to grow by a few points, and, if everything "works" that means it has been a good government, and as such, the CDU too would see a bump in their vote total.

What then of the AfD? In all honesty, with the 'fear' removed, the AfD vote could be expected to rocket. Even with the best FDP-CDU government, the AfD would still outpoll them in the next election, and thus, such a government would still need their support. Alternativy, perhaps they considered themselves devious, trying to get the AfD to vote them into power but then do all the things that would make SPD and Green voters happy. Great, now you've only given more reason for right-wing voters to vote AfD. Even in the best circumstances, the AfD gets a huge boost from this.

So what happens back in reality, where this blew up in their faces as it always was going to. The AfD comes off as huge winners. While other parties can still claim they'll 'never' work with the AfD, this event points to them, at some point, being removed from the cordon the same way formerly cordoned parties such as Norway's Progress Party, or the Austrian Peoples Party, or Germany's own Left party, which is now regularly welcomed into coalitions.

Not only does the AfD gain from this, but the FDP will now lose likely half of its vote, putting it far below the threshold, and the CDU itself is liable to drop as well. The AfD could rise to 30 seats.

Additionally, all of this would have been very easy to predict from the start. Having the FDP leader be the one who 'wears it' puts that party out of action, and is likely why the AfD likely demanded such a thing happen.

I have no idea what either the FDP or CDU were thinking in this state, but they've managed to pull off the dumbest political move in recent history, and should all be sent back to a Politics 101 course.

No comments:

Post a Comment