— Noah Barkin (@noahbarkin) August 29, 2021
Germany is going to elect the successor of Angela Merkel in less than four weeks—but who are the candidates?
As a German author, I kept thinking about how to introduce all three of them without slipping into boring details about German politics.
As a political scientist, I am aware that a national election can’t be explained in 800 words.
As a traveller, I know that folks outside of Germany don’t care as much about our politics as most of us would like to think.
When writing about politics, my goal is always to make things somehow relatable, interesting, and hopefully fun to read. Today, I am going to focus on the fun part and do something most non-Germans enjoy: making fun of Germans.
Instead of diving into the details of their political agenda, I am going to introduce all three of them based on their personalities. It is the first time we have three candidates with realistic chances of winning the election.
Armin Laschet is running for the party of Angela Merkel (CDU, German Conservatives), Olaf Scholz is the candidate of the social democrats. (SPD), and Annalena Baerbock is leading the campaign of the Green Party.
All three of them represent German society in one way or another—and I have no idea who is going to win; I don’t even know who I am going to vote for.
Here are four analogies introducing the three candidates of the upcoming election in Germany:
1. German family
Annalena Baerbock: the rebellious daughter who keeps talking about climate change, equality, and human rights. Everyone knows she is right but is somehow annoyed by her activism at the same time.
Olaf Scholz: the oldest son who has a solid accounting job, doesn’t talk much, and tries to be cool with everyone. His rebellious sister Annalena likes him but thinks that he is a coward.
Armin Laschet: the uncle of the family who often acts clumsy but pays all the bills. He inherited a lot of money from his dad and somehow managed to keep the family going. Annalena and Olaf often make fun of him because he doesn’t know how to use a computer or his phone.
2. On holidays
Olaf Scholz: he is the typical German tourist who complains about high prices and low wages at the same time. After booking the cheapest offer available, he is disappointed about many things and spends his holiday complaining, while reminding everyone that he usually doesn’t like to complain.
Annalena Baerbock: she is the backpacker who visits every local activist group and makes sure to document everything on social media. Even during her holidays, she tries to make the world a better place. She gets along well with other travellers, but when that dude from Texas calls her “honey,” things might escalate quickly.
Armin Laschet: he is the old school German tourist who gets up at 5 a.m. to reserve the best deck chair at the swimming pool. He doesn’t like that ritual but feels the urge to protect his privileges in any way possible. When introducing himself, he will show you a picture of his car, house, or boat and tell you how he got an upgrade because he knows the cousin of the owner of the hotel.
3. At work
Olaf Scholz: he is the leader of the union and always fights for the rights of the workers, but he is also a buddy of the CEO. He knows that he needs to push the agenda of his union but always makes sure not to upset the management. He is friends with almost everyone and loves to talk about football all day.
Armin Laschet: he knows that most people don’t like him because he is the boss, but he always tries to cheer up his workers with a good joke—unfortunately, he is the only one who thinks his jokes are funny.
Annalena Baerbock: she just started working for the company but already noticed that her boss and the leader of the union are buddies. She tries to explain that to all of her coworkers, but nobody listens to her because they prefer talking about football and making fun of the boss.
4. American politics
Armin Laschet: he is the German Ted Cruz. Religion is super important to him, he doesn’t really believe in climate change, and he has a good relationship with right-wing media and questionable activists. He is the only candidate who publicly questioned scientists and opposed lockdowns, believes in trickle-down economics, and most of his voters vote for him because he runs for the party they always vote for.
Annalena Baerbock: she is the German version of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She might not be as quick-witted as AOC, but she knows how to connect with young voters. She is extremely popular within her party, but her opponents can’t get enough of bashing her.
Olaf Scholz: he is somehow the German version of Joe Biden. He spent his life in politics, knows how to navigate conflicts within his party, and seems to be the best choice for now. Nobody is really a fan of him, but most folks trust him more than others.
As mentioned in the beginning, I have no idea who is going to be the successor of Angela Merkel. Looking at the political system in Germany gives us an idea of why it’s so hard to tell who will take the lead after the election.
None of the parties are able to reach a majority on their own. Two of the three candidates will probably end up in a coalition with each other.
What do you think after getting to know the three candidates?
As a German author, I am curious to hear from my non-German friends which combination you would vote for? Please let me know in the comments.