The two “red” parties, heirs of the history of the workers’ movement, are in very different situations after the polls. For the SPD Social Democrats, it is the worst result ever. They lost 1.5 million votes to the left and right; meanwhile, Linke earned 0.6 percent and can smile.
The emblem of the defeat for the former Willy Brandt’s party is the fall of every stronghold: It is ranked first only in a tiny constituency, the city of Bremen (26.8 percent), while in the “Emilia Romagna” of North Rhine-Westphalia the result of 26 percent is an apocalypse. Martin Schulz and his companions also tremble for the 27.4 percent achieved in Lower Saxony, the vast western region whose capital is Hanover: by itself is the best result of the country, but on Oct. 15, there will be local elections in that region for the local parliament, and the numbers say the outgoing SPD government is in serious risk of going home. And in Germany, the regional executive elections count a lot.
If one looks east, the data is shocking. In Saxony a dramatic 10.5 percent, in Thuringia 13.2 percent, just over 15 percent in Saxony-Anhalt and in Angela Merkel’s Mecklenburg. In the former East German Republic, the Social Democrats are now a medium-small force, very far from the size of a Volkspartei, that popular and mass party that it should be in theory.