There’s a great read in Der Spiegel today from Charles Hawley that uses the upcoming state vote in North Rhine-Westphalia to examine a growing change in German politics: Americanization.Hawley begins by contrasting America’s “hamburger test” — the inevitable chomping on a burger seen on the American campaign trail —with the German analogue — the “bratwurst test”. Merkel-ally Norbert Röttgen is failing at the second one, apparently (though he did “choke down” on a bratwurst).
Röttgen is too aloof, and (in a weird contrast to the American situation) Germany has so many parties nowadays that you have to be ready to play the personality game.
“The Sunday vote will be an election of personalities,” Wolfgang Muno, a professor of German politics at the University of Erfurt tells Der Speigel. “It is the Americanization of politics … and it could very well be indicative of a new model and a new political culture in the country.”
“Elections are being reduced to people and what they represent […] Issues play a much smaller role.”
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