Germany election results denote a shift in global voting pattern

Ballot paper of the German Bundestagswahl 2009 (Bundestag elections).

The centre-left party in Germany seems to be set to form the next government.

The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) were on track for 26% of the vote, ahead of 24.5% for Christian Democrats/Christian Socialists conservative bloc

It might seem simple, but let’s us look at the larger perspective.

Earlier this year, the US saw Joe Biden of the Democratic Party effectively trounce Donald Trump of Republican Party for the top post in the world’s only superpower. For the uninitiated, Democrats are centre-left, while Republicans are right-wing.

In Israel, after former PM Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t muster a majority, the right-wing parties had to shun ideological stance and ally with liberals and Arab parties of the country.

In Germany, the Angela Merkel-led centre-right consortium is losing the national elections for the first time in 16 years. In US, Donald Trump became the first US President in about three decades, who couldn’t muster a win for the second term at White House.

And there is a pattern in all this. It seems like globally, the centre-left is on the rise. And what is more, the masses across the world seem to be done with the right-wing rhetoric.

And what could be the plausible reasons behind this? Let’s rewind. Two decades back, when terrorists from Al-Qaeda attacked some of the most prominent places in the US, killing thousands, it spurred a wave of nationalism and conservatism across the world.

It kept growing for the next decade and a half, and ultimately led to the election of strongmen across the world: Donald Trump in the US, Narendra Modi in India and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil.

The centre-right thrived on planks of nationalism – more or less based on militaristic positioning.

As a result of this, 2001 onwards, military budgets across the world saw a significant growth. But what was the opportunity cost of increased military spending? It was lesser allocation towards social services such as education and health care.

So, it comes as no surprise, that when COVID-19 struck the world, policymakers were not prepared for the crisis. They had to get the infrastructure in place for this, resulting into lockdowns across the world. The lockdown, in itself, turned out to be detrimental – destroying the livelihoods of many lesser-privileged people in the society.

With the ongoing pandemic, which has affected everyone in the world – one or the other way – you would expect the people to react. There is an undercurrent globally, where people want the state to play a bigger role in the social services.

So, what kind of political ideology would people gravitate towards? The right wants to give no freebies (unless it is not about themselves, at least), experiment with radical left has turned out to be disastrous. So, amid all this, the centre-left, which is moderate and focused on social services, seems to be working its charm on the masses.

(The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Kalkine Media or its related entities.)