The power lesson

The personal election in North-Rhine/Westphalia makes clear that the SPD has to get rid of the Schroder-ara troika for the federal election as soon as possible

The SPD’s major gains are due in large part to its top candidate, Hannelore Kraft. This should give the social democrats something to think about. Although Kraft is already being discussed in the media as a possible candidate for chancellor, this could be ruled out, at least for 2013, if she does not want to damage herself as a trustworthy politician. After all, she had ared the voters that she would stay in NRW, unlike the fickle Norbert Rottgen, who was only interested in his career.

That the election in NRW – apart from probably the successful Pirates and the punished Leftists – was less about ies than about people is made clear by poll results from the Tagesschau news program. In a direct election, only 26 percent had voted for Rottgen, but 68 percent had voted for Kraft. 69 percent say that the FDP’s success is due to Christian Lindner, who leads a party that no longer has any competence. Just 4 percent attribute competence to the Liberals in the economy, debt reduction or education. This may show that many of the CDU supporters who were disaffected voted for the FDP because they thought Lindner was somehow better than Rottgen and saw no other conservative alternative for themselves.

Kraft will play an important role in the future direction of the SPD as deputy party leader, as head of government in Germany’s most populous state and as party leader of the largest SPD state association. This will also have an impact on the future candidate for chancellor, whom the party or party leadership has. party leadership does not yet want to determine, so as not to split the so far dominant troika.

Kraft also received so many votes because she stayed away from the Schroder SPD and its course, which still dominates the party like a ghost, especially in the form of Steinmeier and Steinbruck, and in a certain sense also party leader Gabriel. In yesterday’s Jauch talk show, however, Gabriel has already obediently distanced himself from Schroder and his recommendation of Steinbruck. Kraft has brought the SPD in NRW back to the roots of social democratic politics with the ie of social justice, work and education and away from the one-sided neoliberal Schroder policy with tax cuts and Hartz IV. Kraft is staid, she certainly doesn’t rub along with the young, but she makes a clearly different policy than Schwarz-Gelb. Most first-time voters – but also most of the over-70s – voted for the SPD, followed by Grune and the Pirates. Among the elderly, Grune and especially Pirates did the worst. The problem of the SPD – like that of the CDU – is that the older the voters are, the more popular the party becomes. The FDP has about the same appeal among all age groups, Grune scores among 18-65 year olds and the Pirates among 18-34 year olds.

But back to the SPD at the federal level. Kraft has made it clear that what matters is the person, but also a departure from the policies of Agenda 2010 and the attempt to be even more centrist than the center, which the Union and FDP are also vying for. If the SPD and with it Red-Grun want to have a chance in the federal elections, then it must separate itself from the Troika and what they are corrupting and draw a line with the Schroders, Clements, Schilys etc. draw. Wowereit is no longer a candidate since the airport fiasco, Gabriel is probably too unpopular, Kraft and Helmut Schmidt cannot be. So who do the Socialists have to offer who is unburdened by the Schroder dynasty and can credibly stand up for a new beginning, both personally and politically?? As long as the SPD is stubborn, Merkel can be relatively sure that she will be able to continue somehow, unless the pirates board the ship of state.

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