As you glean from the title ‘The Union’ is Merkel’s party. What is more to say about it? It is formally registered as two parties, a Bavarian leg called CSU and one with the name CDU that runs for all offices outside of Bavaria. Booooorring! I hear you. Don’t they have a platform that I could talk about? No. So they are boring? Yes.
But not so fast. Friedrich Merz, the leader of the bigger part CDU, found Nazis. In his ancestry, you ask? Probably. But he’s more concerned with Hans-Georg Maaßen, the former head of the secret service Verfassungsschutz and the newly elected head of the conservative caucus ‘Value Union’ (Werteunion).
Merz is flabbergasted by ‘the language’ and ‘the rhetoric’ of Maaßen. The quote held against the latter is: “According to the red-green [left-wing/environmentalist] race theory whites are an inferior race.” Now, that is undeniably true. There are countless articles and books that suggest whites were inherently racist, irredeemable, oppressive and beyond reform. There is even an English word for the race theory, ‘whiteness,’ and because the racists don’t show any signs of shame they pretend it were an academic discipline and as such referred to as ‘critical race theory.’
So now we have this dilemma that the racists are proud because some of them are whites, too, and have found a silly pathway to cheap applause and that, at the same time, mentioning that racism is denounced as a sign of racism itself, but bad racism this time. I’m so jaded from the racism debate that I don’t care anymore about who’s more racist. This whole fire must be tamed. So ‘They are the real racists’ doesn’t fly with me, either. But, also, do we have to start the next round of tabooing everything with making suggestions that the other side were racist into a punishable offense? I’m so tired.
So Merz tries to kick Maaßen out of his party.
But why are people still voting for The Union anyways? Merz has recognised that people like me would rather vote for the ‘party of park bench pissers’ than for him. He’d have to reform so much that he doesn’t bother. But who is still voting for them? Are they masochists?
Germans have some issues, masochism being potentially one of them, but there are two relevant points of indoctrination that are more worthwhile to focus on.
1) Germans fear to ‘lose their vote’.
A vote is supposed to be cast. It is not supposed to be reused again or to be found somewhere after an election. You have a day on which you show your support to a party or candidate. Either that support manifests itself in a seat or it does in the encouragement of the candidate to try again something similar. The German election system doesn’t allow parties with less than 5% of the votes to enter parliament. So unless many people come together in huge numbers as outsiders under difficult conditions (civil rights aren’t much protected) a vote to a party that doesn’t sit in the parliament is unlikely to result in a representative. Hence people keep voting parties that they hate. I don’t think that the CDU is a loved party.
2) Germans try to vote strategically.
Another quirk is that Germans try to slow-down progressives by voting for slower progressives. To not vote for the slow progressives risks fast progression. This is the only place where ‘German angst’ makes any sense. People here vote exclusively against others because they fear the others. All the attention at the division in America makes many forget that Germany is a much, much more divided country. We are the country where people vote the CDU to not be ruled by the Greens. A country where the CDU tries to kick out somebody who shares a piece of common wisdom in an interview. A country where people are constantly shamed for being seen with people from another group. A country where people vote CDU because they are even afraid to identify as dissidents. Merz and a variety of media outlets speak of ‘provocations.’ And Germans don’t understand how such vague notions justifying exclusion and discrimination sound authoritarian to any outsider’s ears.
‘The Union’ has no merit. Sensible members who linger around do so because they see it as another institution to be reconquered. I wish them good luck. The voters can only support individual candidates in few cases where the elections/constituency allows some targeting. For the rest of us The Union is nothing but utter trash.