Germany’s OK Boomer Moment
The youth wings of Germany’s major parties, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), are getting fed up with the politics of the center. Younger party functionaries such as Kevin Kühnert of the SPD and Tilman Kuban of the CDU yearn for the era before the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, when there was a clear left-right political spectrum, and they want their parties to rediscover their ideological moorings. They are acutely aware that drifting toward the center has cost their parties in votes as their generational cohort turns away from catchall parties in favor of the Greens or even the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
For 10 out of the last 14 years, the CDU and SPD have governed together under Merkel. The most recent grand coalition was born out of necessity after Germany’s federal election in 2017. Neither of the two major parties could build a feasible majority with junior partners because of their own losses and voter fragmentation. The only way to cobble together a government was for the two largest (and supposedly ideologically opposed) parties to combine forces.