The crisis facing Germany’s Social Democrats is shared with advanced democracies’ traditional big-tent parties on both the left and right, according to The FT’s Tobias Buck:
The party lacks a great unifying theme. It pushes for pension increases – and comes across to young voters as staid and backward-looking. It fights to keep Germany’s coal mines open – and turns off environmentally conscious city dwellers. It argues for generosity towards refugees – and repels traditional voters anxious about the surge of foreigners in their midst.
“The SPD has a leadership problem and a narrative problem,” says Andrea Römmele, a professor at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance. “The party has no story to tell to the voters, and a story is what voters need.”
With the exception of countries like Britain and the US, whose first-past-the-post electoral system favours party duopolies, the drift towards political fragmentation looks unstoppable, Buck adds.