August 30, 2017
What is the German election about?
The notion of first-world problems does not even begin to describe what the German elections are about. We have chosen not to bother discussing the campaign issues because they have largely not mattered. Nicolaus Blome notes correctly that Martin Schulz has not found any traction with voters yet, but suggests that this could still happen. Schulz has so far failed to challenge Merkel over immigration, which remains a concern despite the fall in arrivals. Another issue he has avoided is crime, especially the rise in burglaries. And he has failed to capitalise on the diesel scandal, especially so since a majority of potential SPD voters are defrauded consumers. Blome makes the point that all three are issues that fall under the broad category of social justice. Middle- and lower-income earners suffer harder from burglaries, cheating car companies, or immigration, than the rich. And social justice remains the one category where people rank the SPD above the CDU. The question is therefore whether Schulz will tackle these issues in the next four weeks, in which case the outcome of the election may well be more open than the polls currently suggest. Blome recalls the 2005 campaign, when Gerhard Schröder started out with a massive deficit in the polls but came within an inch of clinching victory.