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Will America’s Democrats Face Same Questions And Problems As Germany’s Social Democrats?

The Economist reported recently about problems facing Germany’s Social Democratic Party. This is the main center-left party of Germany. At current, the S.D.P is the junior partner in a grand coalition government led by Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel.  

The threat rising against the S.D.P is the new Left Party. The Left Party is pulling away many working class voters who have long supported the S.D.P.

The appeal of the Left Party comes mostly from economic issues such as low pay, job security and retirement age. The party is strong where steel plants and coal mines have shut down.

In short, the Left Party does best where globalization has hit hardest.  

The Left Party was formed in the former East Germany from the remnants of the former Communist Party. Despite those roots, The Economist cites a recent book maintaining that Left Party leaders are fully democratic.

Up to now, these Communist beginnings are a reason the S.D.P has been reluctant to join in coalition with the Left Party.  

(An exception is an S.D.P/Left coalition governing Berlin under openly gay S.D.P Mayor Klaus Wowereit.

While strongest in the east where economic conditions are toughest, the Left Party has been gaining elsewhere in Germany

In current German polling, the Left Party stands at about 10%. This puts it roughly even with the Greens. With the S.D.P at under 30%, the Left Party might be needed by the S.D.P to form a coalition government in a future federal election.  

Could America’s Democratic Party face the same problems Germany’s Social Democrats are confronting? The recent agreements at General Motors and Chrysler institute a two-tiered wage structure.  New hires will receive far lower pay than long-term employees even given the difference in duration of employment.

How are our blue collar people going to be able to live decent lives? 

Some German voters apparently feel the S.D.P does not have the answers to the effects of globalization in an advanced economy.

It is not hard to imagine that Democratic voters in the United States will soon begin to ask some of the same tough questions now being asked of the established left in Germany.     

October 19, 2007 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , , ,


  1. maybe a volitile multi party system isn’t such a bad thing. we could use a stronger left alternative to the reining democratic party other the green or independant parties

    Comment by geo | October 19, 2007

  2. Thanks for the comment. I think we need to at least be aware of the Green Party as a possible option as we go along. An option so that other ideas are on the tbale and an option so we can’t be taken for granted by Democrats.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 19, 2007

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