Monday, June 08, 2009

What If They Had an Election, and Nobody Cared?

Germany (along with most of the rest of the countries incontinent) had an election on Sunday. The tension and excitement were....nonexistent.

I have to admit, I like that. Having an election where nobody really cares what happens is a good sign, because it means that the level of government theft and corruption is relatively stable. The problem with the U.S. election of 2008 was that the prospects for really Rococo theft was enormous, regardless of who won. (And, so it has turned out).

So, here is the tale-o-th'tape:

CDP/CSU alliance, led by GWB backrub victim Angela Merkel: 38%, down from nearly 45% in the 2004 version. A creditable performance for what is in effect a midterm election for a rulilng party.

The SPD "Vote for us, and we will give you other people's money!" party led by...well, "SPD Leadership" is an oxymoron. Anyway, they actually LOST votes compared to 2004, a remarkably inept performance. As Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, “This is a disappointing result -- there’s no talking our way out of it.” Disappointing? That's like saying the Titanic had a little leak. The most likely explanation for the SPD pratfall is low turnout, but since the SPD was hoping to capitalize on unhappiness with the economy, the low turnout is the FAULT of the SPD. If people didn't care enough to go vote, they can't be very upset, or else they think that the SPD doesn't have the answer.

FDP, the "Party of Dentists", the self-styled "Liberal" (in the Euro sense) group, did very well, knocking back 11%, a pick-up of nearly 5% from 2004. But there the low turnout helped (rich college educated people ALWAYS vote). So the big percentage for FDP simply means that the denominator wasn't very big. No reason to believe that that 11% is a hard number, in forecasting the September 27 German Bundestag elections. If FDP can get 10% or more there, it would be a miracle. It would also mean that Angela Merkel and the CDP would be able to partner with FDP, and form government on the liberal center-right. Don't hold your breath, though, not likely unless turnout is unexpectedly low on September 27.

The fruits (Green Party) and nuts (der Linke) squabbled and bickered their way to 12% and 7.5%, respectively. Both of those totals are basically the same as in 2004, allowing for changing "freak of the month" leadership on the hard left. (Der Linke is the conservative, "restore the petty Communists to power" party in the East, and the far left party in the West. Must make for interesting strategy meetings....I do enjoy the "Dear Comrade" thing)

Turnout was 43%. More important, there was no campaign, at least not by American standards. A couple of posters on some signboards, and a few people in tents, handing out literature in a desultory way.

But no one really seems to care about EU elections. I like that in a country: turnout should be ZERO, in a properly functioning democracy where threats to liberty and property are minimized.

(The 2004 results)

4 comments:

Max Sawicky said...

Mostly innocent question: how do you explain the results in light of the nostrum that a progressive fiscal system will motivate voters with below median income to overwhelm the others at the polls?

Bob the Bavarian said...

I have to object to what you've said about the FDP. If you look at the percentage and the absolut number of votes the 5% gain equals a plus of 1.3 mio votes compared to the 2004 EU-elections. "So the big percentage for FDP [does not] simply mean the denominator wasn't very big". It means that 1.3 mio people, which actualy is a hard gain of 5%, voted for the FDP.
It's right that people always say that it might not be a hard number for the upcoming Bundestagswahl in 2009. But I sure see a continuing tendency of a rising number of votes for the FDP there. The 2005 Bundestags elections brought an absolute gain for them, compared to 2002. You might sill be right about the outcome of the 2009 Bundestagswahl, but I think you underestimate the power of elderly people who consider voting for the FDP, instead of voting for CSU/CDU, a protest vote. There are also many younger germans who vote FDP, because they consider them the only party caring about democratic values anymore. Or strategic voters who deem a CDU/CSU win inevitable and want to make it's coalition partner as strong as they possibly can.
By the way, I would call the Green Party the new "Party of Dentists" since they have become very popular among the wealthy and educated in the recent years, scraping votes from the FDP.

Anonymous said...

Mike - the EU is not a country and people did not vote across Europe because MEP' and the role of the European Parliament are not well known. People care about their own national Governments not some far removed, unresponsive layer of Government.
Would love to see you take on UK politics.

Hannah said...

Actually, we didn't vote because chosing the lesser evil is a matter of pure luck at the moment. Were there an option 'I am clueless as to what to do, but I bet my years income these people don't know either', I'd have been the first in line for the polls.
Anyway, as you have noted, this is in no way indicative of how things are going to go in September … well, unless you thinking: Lack of actual speeches, or any other political discourse, but lots of pens, brochures, promises and mad men handing out blue-and-yellow mad caps from their yellow-and-blue motor home.