Saturday, September 23, 2017

German Elections 2107

Disclaimer: I cannot vote in Germany. I do not follow German media. I live in relatively affluent area of Germany (the Bodensee)
I do not know how most of my freinds will vote. Unlike the US, where who you vote for is generally pretty obvious, it is something much harder to determine (for me at least)
I know one guy at work is voting SPD and one of my bosses hates Merkel (nothing to do with immigrants BTW)
I did listen to a rant by a mom of one of the kids that my son play's soccer with about refugees who are refusing to learn German, but that still did not give me any sense of which way she would vote.
Voting for a right wing party (AfD) still feels like quite a hard step for many in this area, regardless of how they feel about the refugee situation. I do not see the AfD getting a lot of support here.
I took the Wahl-o-mat (which is survey of around 30 questions that tells you what party most aligns with your views) and it had me supporting 'Die Partei' followed rather closely by SPD or CDU (don't remember) Suprisingly, 47% of my answers matched the AfDs stances on issues.
The AfD are an out there party but I assume their stances on some issues are surprisingly main stream. Or I am a rascist.
I do find it surprising that the AfD are doing so well in such a good economic climate. The real estate market is booming. I am getting multiple unsolicited mails from real estate agents trying not just to sell me places but also trying to get me to put my place on the market. People feel cash rich and bullish about the future (There is somewhat of a supply side issue to cause prices to be increasing but prices are inordinately high. There's a bubble there). Job growth is kinda crazy as well. The company I work for is hiring and finding nobody. I hear the same story from friends are other companies.
In these conditions, the AfD vote feels like a peremptory protest vote. There's some project management approach where at the beginning of a project, you lay out how the project will fail. It says fuck you if you think things are going well. This is going to end badly.
On the one hand, the vote says too many are succeeding in Germany who are not German. Too many have absorbed the mantra of learning the language, getting an education, and playing by the German rules. The German economy rewards those people. Its a market economy regardless of how much Germans want to not accept that. But that is not what was supposed to happen. Immigrants were supposed to listen to the mantra and ignore it. Germans were supposed to be exasperated at the lack of success despite a bunch of taxpayer money spent. AfD support is about reframing immigrant success. Material success of immigrants is not a success for German. It is rather ruining this country. It is allowing them to change Germany. They're in office, they're starting businesses, they're affectng the culture of this country, which is totally inappropriate. Fuck them is the aspect of this support.
On the other hand, there is a percentage of people who are not learning the language and who are not appreciative of the largesse that the German taxpayer is sending their way. Fuck them is the aspect of this support.
AfD support comes from both the successes and failures of integration. It boils down in both cases to "Fuck them". An easy message to get out.
I am a bit apprehensive about the results. Trump's victory has me ready for anything though.

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