Monday, September 23, 2013

The electoral future of chavismo as seen in East Germany

So we had a smashing victory for Merkel yesterday in Germany though it will be rather difficult for her to establish a solid coalition since she blithely disposed of her FDP allies. But that is her problem. What is more interesting for this electoral maps freak are the gorgeous voting maps results published all around.  In Speigel I found this one that made me think a lot: the percentile results for Die Linke.

See, Die Linke is the freak far left party founded by those who never digested the end of commie East Germany. True, they did try to improve their brand with a few SPD dissidents but the result is that contrary to what happens in France with Front de Gauche, no one wants to be caught dead with Linke leadership. Not the SPD, not the Greens and less the CDU of the FDP.

So, the West Germans brought them freedom, repaved their roads, brought real welfare that works even if limited, made sure electricity and heating were available, that there were many bratwurst brands available at the grocery store, etc...  but also brought to East Germany work ethics and the like. Heck, even the Kanzlerin is from East Germany. Apparently that has not been pleasing for many, up to 20% + in some areas (deeper lilac color). Thus East Germany still exists in electoral maps, with a lighter small island of former West Berlin.

This is what I expect will happen in Venezuela where a hefty percentage of the population in 15 years have been told to expect all from the Chavez state with little if any work to be shown for it, besides attending occasional beer drenched political rallies. Thus there might not be a specific red area in Venezuela but there will be for decades to come a red hue all across the country that will try to sabotage any recovery process that we may try once we finally get chavismo out of office.


  1. NorskeDiv1:40 AM

    History reaches even further than that.

    The wall only fell round about 23 years ago, Imperial Germany hasn't existed for about 95! I imagine the political fault lines created (or widened) by Chavez will exist for decades, if not centuries. I would guess in Venezuela it will play out in the form of poor rural areas voting for some PSUV type candidate for decades to come.

  2. agree on the barely dwindling affections for PSUVs -- for decades to come. Do-nothing idealists of the world unite!

  3. Dr. Faustus3:32 AM

    Excellent post! I looked at those numbers as well. Here's what you're missing. Yes, the vote for 'Die Linken' was indeed stronger in the former eastern half of Germany (DDR). But, that vote must be compared with the vote for the SPD. Throughout the former East Germany the SPD numbers were considerably less than they were in the former West Germany (BRD). You need to add both numbers together (Die Linken + SPD) to get an idea of leftist sentiment in that region. In many cases the CDU did in fact win in some vote totals in the former DDR by the same percentages as they had in Bavaria and Baden Wuerttemberg. It's an important variable to consider. Left vs Right. The CDU/CSU + FDP ...vs... SPD+ Die Linken + Die Gruenen. That will give you a better snapshot of voter sentiment. The point: There is still hope for Venezuela! Don't despair!

    1. Dr. Faustus

      Let me remind you that I do not read German and thus I must really love electoral maps to make my way through at least two sites for maps in German...

      I think that there is a difference between SPD and Die Linke and we cannot just add them up. The former has proven democratic credentials, whether one agrees with its governmental policies. But Die Linke is another animal altogether as far as I can say. If Linke was just another generic leftist expression in Germany we would not have such a clear cut definition of East Germany which does not appear in any of the maps for the other parties who all have areas of relative strength and weakness. Die Link is truly, from my point of view after this map, a party of "resentidos sociales" in Eastern Germany.

    2. PS: glad to see you liked the post. Two posts on German elections, and both with a tiny Venezuelan connection. You should be impressed :)

    3. Lemmy Caution8:32 PM

      Sorry, but these are all different parties.
      The SPD was actually the party that, when in Government at the beginning of the 2000s, brought the reform of social welfare, which probably made Germany more competitive. Actually there was a huge problem for the SPD AND the Gruenen to mark differences to the CDU/CSU of Merkel, which is quite Obama-like. Now the Gruene and the SPD are reluctant towards coalition not because of difference in political standpoints, but because they probably would loose even more votes, when entering as a junior partner in a coalition with Merkel. The LINKE is a very different story. SPD, Gruene and LINKE have a mayority in parliament, but SPD/Gruene will never go into coalition with the LINKE because of strong differences in political ideas.
      Actually inside the LINKE there are huge differences between their more realist representatives from the east and the ideologues from the west. Well, this is also a bold generalization, but it carries some truth.

      Daniel is completly right, when he says that there are still huge differences between eastern and western Germany. Nevertheless I get the impression that now after 25 years we start to get closer. It does help that most germans perceive the economic situation as good. In 2 areas since 2006 the things have improved: rate of unemployment and public debt.

      If a post-Chavistani Government in Venezuela will take over the country, a relatively good economic performance might help. There is tremendous room for improvement to handle the economy. Debt is the problem.

  4. Daniel,

    The FDP has itself to blame and only itself.
    You are aware they are not the same as the Liberals in the USA but perhaps for once you should admit you know very little about what they actually do or have said over and over and over again. If you haven't followed the German news in the last few months and actually heard what their top politicians kept declaring and the way they did and in what issues they were involved, you are in unknown waters.

    These guys haven't learnt from the times they said that about being the party of the "better off...because they wanted all Germans to be better off". They only managed to produced tax relaxation for very specific, not precisely the most productive groups of the independent sector,
    they kept over and over speaking about liberalism without giving specifics about what they would do and they have terrible, terrible speakers at the front.

    I know how happy you were with FDP leader Westerwelle, who was elected as minister for foreign affairs and who is gay:

    There is an interesting article here about from where voters move to what party:

    There are lots of entrepreneurs who are not FDP voters and that doesn't have to do with some "socialist" gene or the like. The FDP is not quite what you think and you should analyse where most of its electorate come from and what they do.

    But well: yes, Germany has reason to be proud of its democratic system.

    1. Huh? When did I claim to be an expert on FDP? That I was impressed that a major party got gay leadership does not mean that I approve knee jerk anything else they do. For your information even if I was flippant about my FDP comment in the post I am well aware of the internal wars inside the FDP, of their begging for the second vote, of their inability to have Merkel budge on her positions, etc... Which is by itself way more knowledge on the FDP than what a foreigner is expected to know.

    2. PS: and of course I know ow that Liberal in Europe does not mean what it means in the US. Though you seem to have forgotten that in the past FDP was for three terms in coalition with the SPD which by itself gives them a different meaning first their brand of liberalism.


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