Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Trump Effect on Germany and the 2017 Election

Wednesday morning, I woke up around 5AM and turned on my German TV.  East coast time was 11PM.  ARD (state-run) is running a live news piece, with people sitting around and an audience as part of their assembly.

The night before....around 8PM.....they carried the introduction to this show and were all chipper about Hillary.  The news journalists wanted you to know that Hillary had X number of states lined up.  She only had to win three more out of six and this was over.  Trump?  He had to win an unbelievable number of safe-Hillary states.  Since early October, the German news journalists had safely packaged everything.....getting a national poll of 91-percent of Germans absolutely convinced that Hillary would win.

So at 5AM?  For about a minute, you could tell that their attitude had changed in a massive way since 8PM.  In a matter of ten hours....it was like a circus was in town.....caught fire....and the clowns and elephants had all perished in the fire.

I flipped over to CNN and it was worse.  Then I flipped the laptop on and watched Fox News.  After 30 minutes, I flipped back to Germany's ARD. The numbers they had were laying out a no-come-back situation.  It was over.

The German journalists with ARD spent the entire day trying to grasp what happened and how they went wrong.  The simple explanation is that they signed up with some service that probably was connected to the New York Times or Washington Post.  Over the past six months, I think their journalists in the US just kept talking to pro-Hillary journalists and never actually getting out into Ohio, Texas, or Florida.  If they did get out....they went to established communities.....high urban places....kept the pro-Hillary slant.  Course, you can't admit that on TV.

So by 8PM on Wednesday....they are doing their best to shovel the screw-up and mistake.  They guessed wrong.  Their polls were wrong.  On and on.

An hour later, they flipped up some live chat forum which hyped mostly the slant that populist governments are not the way to run society, and (cough-cough) you need real trained (intellectuals) political folks.  This was said over and over.

If you were watching this assembly of guests, your observation would be that there's some fear in their heart because Hillary actually did lose against a non-political guy.....a TV show guy or business man.

What lays ahead?

1.  The German SPD Party (center-left) will meet and discuss a new strategy (attack Trump and the US), for their 2017 election platform.  For them, it looks a lot better than talking on immigration, refugees, or asylum.  Twenty-five years ago.....it would have been a five-star dynamic.  Today?  Because of the internet, lack of trust with the news media, and growing numbers of cynical Germans.....I doubt that it will work.

2.  Trump after swearing in....I feel that he will visit London, Warsaw, and Moscow on his first trip....skipping Germany.  Just a humble guess.  The Putin visit will iron out the profile for the first year and set up a number of changes.

3.  The Germany visit by Trump will be delayed till late March.

4.  The US Secretary of State (probably Newt) will come and get a cool reception by Frank Steinmeier.  Steinmeier will read off some 12-line expectations of the Trump government respecting A, B, and C (gay rights, human rights, etc).  Newt will sit there and say nothing, and Steinmeier will ask for a reaction.  Newt will respond "nuts", and at that point Steinmeier will realize that he's basically done something really, really stupid.  The meeting will end after 30 minutes and Newt will just walk out and say very little.....not to embarrass Steinmeier.

5.  The election in Austria between the Green Party guy and the right-wing party guy?  December's results will be the right-wing guy winning by 4 points.  German state-run TV will run two full hours that night of shock and chatter about a terrible mistake made by the people of Austria.

6.  The election in the spring of three German states?  The Saarland election might be a happy deal for the CDU and SPD....with the AfD barely getting 12-percent.  The other two elections?  AfD gets near 18-percent in Schleswig-Holstein, and in NRW, AfD gets near 22-percent with a serious low number of votes for the SPD (just my humble guess).

7.  The French election for President will go to a right-wing winner, with an hour or two spent with German TV trying to explain how this was a bad decision by the public and will harm France in the end.

8.  Six weeks will pass and the French legislature election occurs.....going to mostly right-wing winners.  The Dutch election goes the same way.

9.  July will come with a serious US announcement....a massive downsizing of US troops in Germany.  Ramstein might stay....but most remaining installations will close within three years.  Shock will occur across the communities affected.  Trump will phrase it perfectly....the Cold War ended in 1991, and there's no need to keep troops in a high-cost area.

10.  Germans by August will be asking questions about why immigration, refugees and asylum aren't the top three topics.  SPD's drive to keep focus on Trump isn't working.  The news media?  Failing in a massive way and mostly used as humor material by the public.

11.  The October ends (my script and scenario) with the AfD getting 24-percent.  Not enough to win, but it really puts a serious issue into how the winner (the CDU) will form a government, and the SPD will be stuck with a major-rebuild situation in their hands.

The real loser in this election?  There will be serious talk by the public to cut drastically on the state-TV tax, and to dump one of the two big networks entirely.  The public will demand massive changes, and the government will have to do something to make them shut up.  ARD and ZDF will forge themselves into one single network with one single line of management....cutting the tax to 9.90 Euro.

My humble script to 2017.

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