If you follow the polls for the German national election (roughly six weeks away)....it is appearing pretty dire for the SPD Party. Some suggest that it might be the worst defeat for the party since WW II.
ARD covered the topic and put up a couple of poll graphics at their site.
What went wrong?
1. The economy is at one of the high points of the past twenty years. Unemployment is extremely low (3.9-percent as of early May). Go and look for working-class Germans who are disgruntled about the economy and blaming Merkel/CDU....you might find a dozen out of a thousand voters.
2. SPD's Schulz was hyped up for three years by the German public TV media. At least once a week, he was brought in from Brussels to be added to some forum or give some insight to the EU topic. As much as they gave him a platform for easy introduction into the campaign....it didn't really sell that well. One might get the impression of a EU-bureaucrat rather than some German national leader after all that hype.
3. Merkel's CDU platform is a fairly twisted situation....where you'd almost say they were a combination of right-of-center and left-of-center...having taken a dozen-odd topics from a decade ago that belonged to the SPD or Green Party, and blended them into the CDU.
4. The talk of a major coalition of the SPD Party, the Green Party, and the Linke Party.....really didn't appeal to a fair number of SPD members. This idea was hyped up in the summer of 2016....that when the SPD won....they absolutely would NOT partner with the CDU. In order to sell the new platform.....everyone in the SPD stood up and said this was the way ahead (at least nationally). One might go out and to ask about this with working-class Germans....finding a Linke Party connection hard to agree with.
5. 2017's election will likely be called the dullest campaign in German history. There is no hype. There's virtually no real indicator that an election is going on other than campaign speeches.
What happens after the defeat for the SPD? Schulz will be around for a year or two in some leadership role, and I suspect he'll retire. Somewhere out there....the party needs to find some youthful character for the 2021 election....which will not feature Chancellor Merkel. This continual talk of a coalition which includes the Linke Party....probably needs some work accomplished before it's pumped up again for a national campaign.