Last night, ZDF (public TV here in Germany, Channel Two) ran a one-hour public forum show under the Maybrit Illner 'brand' (forum show). It ran late, and I would take a guess that it probably had a lesser audience because of the time-slot. The odd feature of this Illner brand-show? Well....they stamped it 'special' at the beginning. Title: "Method Trump - Danger to Europe's democracy?"
Yep, it was a full hour with a moderator and seven guests. There were two legit political figures on the panel (the German Justice Minister, and the Austrian Foreign Minister). So the main question or hype of this public chat forum revolves around the idea of President Trump being a threat to democracy in Europe.
I sat through about fifteen to twenty minutes of it.
They went to the mid-term election business and this was the starting point of trying to explain to the German public that some 'ray of hope' exists, for the Democrats to gain control of the House, and they would finally control and hopefully eliminate President's domination.
I channel flipped back to the segment at some point, and they brought out the German 'kid' (18 year old, he'd spend a year in Idaho with a guest family). So the kid was impressive. He laid out the perception of regular people, and what they expected. It wasn't a negative or positive type of experience....he simply told of the perspective of rural-type Americans and their political landscape. That five-minute interview probably gave some Germans a different prospective.
I looked at commentary this morning over the show. Some intellectual types felt Trump was running through a 1932-type script and something Nazi-like was on the horizon. Others laughed at the historical choice of words and suggested that threatened folks weren't on the same planet.
There are three observations I can make:
1. The Germans who tend to drift over and watch Illner public forum shows, will admit that they are intellectual types, and well receptive to negative US-chatter, and especially to negative Trump-chatter.
2. A fairly large segment of German society simply don't care for the public forum shows, and their influence is of a marginal scale except they convince politicians to keep reading off the 'script'.
3. The public-forums oddly refuse to go and have seven regular working-class Americans to be panel guests and express why the political landscape in the US has changed so much over the past twenty years. It might be helpful to have a Latino explain why a growing number support Trump policy. The same can be said for blacks who now number near 25-percent in favor of Trump policy. The anti-NAFTA folks? You always end up with intellectual types who don't connect to people who vote, and that's the amusing side of this effort.
Germans knowing of the mid-term election? If you went quizzed a hundred working-class Germans....I doubt if more than three of them knew the election was coming up and frankly, they've got more important things to think about or worry about.