Today (Sunday) was some four-star speech by the new SPD Chancellor candidate (now occupying the Vice-Chancellor seat in the coalition Merkel government).
A "fairer Germany".....whatever that means.
To be a leader that stands for the working-class....something that has been mentioned about three-thousand times over the past twenty years, but usually doesn't go too far with the SPD agenda in terms of accomplishments.
And to bridge the "divisions" of Germany.
Based on the video of the speech....SPD folks in attendance were fairly peppy and enchanted by the new guy....Martin Schulz.
His chief problem in opposing Merkel? The economy is in the better of expectations right now. Most say it's peaked out and job-growth is not going to happen.
If you wrote down a list of major differences between Merkel's CDU and Schulz's SPD...it's a pretty short list. They've both used the last decade to forge their center-right and center-left parties into two parties which look fairly identical.
I asked my German wife what a "fairer Germany" meant. She paused for a minute and said it was typically clever wording to mean more taxes to redistribute out as gifts to regular lower-class working people, and present the image of a fair nation. The unfairness of taxation? Best not to bring this up.
Thirty years ago....the SPD Party was mostly about the middle-class and the guy who worked forty hours a week. They were typically pro-union, leaned slightly on anti-nuclear power, and usually stomped their feet on US policy or US trends. In 2017, the SPD has lost a fair number of folks over to the Linke Party (some of their union votes), and to the Greens (the environmental votes).
Since 2013, the SPD has been handcuffed to the Merkel immigration and migration policy. They've gone as far as possible in defending the policy, and the 'new Germans'. So there is no room or space to suggest a retreat or a step back.....from migration issues. They can clean some of the clutter, and talk of more cops....but that's the end of the whole spectrum on this topic.
So, if you bump into a SPD guy and they seem all peppy....don't say much. You can only squeeze dried-up lemon so much, and that's all the 'punch' left in it