It would save time if Germany suspended democracy for a bit, and decided not to bother with September’s election. There would be a general sigh, and then some mild relief. Think of all the money we’d save, for one thing, but more importantly think of all the tension the media wouldn’t have to build up. If you’re the head of the government, this is what success feels like. If anyone has realized the importance of making politics as mind-numbing as possible, it is the chancellor.
The inevitability of Angela Merkel’s re-election is now nearly total. She is going to win with the certainty of death. There’s nothing we can do, but more than that there’s nothing we actually have to do. She has made herself the path of least resistance. We will not be put to any trouble. Merkel will simply put a gentle hand on our forehead, and whisper “not long now” into our ears as she depresses the plunger, and the gaping black void of another four years closes in.
Does this sound overly defeatist? Well, the latest Stern/RTL magazine’s weekly poll shows not only that Merkel’s CDU/CSU is holding on to a steady 41 percent, while “main rival” the SPD is clinging on to an even steadier below 22 percent. Meanwhile, the “alternative” parties – the Pirates and the anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland, who are supposed to throw subversive cats among Merkel’s calm Protestant pigeons, have been degraded to the sad, grey “other” column. The only chance that Merkel has of being beaten is if you could actually vote for no one.
As part of the same survey, people were asked which party can solve Germany’s problems. The answer? The top answer was 34 percent for Merkel and the CDU, followed by a desperate eight percent for the SPD. Meanwhile, an absolute majority of 51 percent of Germans thought that actually, no party can solve the country’s problems. In other words, either Germany is beyond repair, or else, given the choice, we’d actually rather vote for no one to run the country.
Unfortunately this isn’t an option on the ballot paper, which doesn’t seem very democratic. After all, this is what the German people want. They want no one to form a coalition and no one to be appointed to the cabinet. And no one would have to give a thank you speech and wave and defend a lie. And then no one would get sacked and move to America and try and regain momentum. It would be Zen.