In the final sprint, Armin Laschet wins against Friedrich Merz because his party believes that he has more power to integrate. Anyone who underestimates him can be unpleasantly surprised, possibly also Markus Söder.
The candidate who gave the best speech won a plea for liberal democracy, which the CDU now embodies, which, considering its history, cannot be taken for granted. Armin Laschet won because he combines integration with demarcation, bonhomie with certainty. It will soon become clear whether this is more than just going on like Angela Merkel.
In democracies, elections are generally won in the middle, which is one of the reasons why the CDU prefers its Laschet. It alone is still roughly a people’s party. Popular parties define themselves mathematically, they must have more than 40 percent. The CDU did not get that high with the incumbent Chancellor and it will not achieve that much in September, regardless of whether Armin Laschet or Markus Söder is candidate for Federal Chancellor. The new 40 plus is 30 plus.
What kind of chancellor does the country need?
Armin Laschet is now the federal chairman of the CDU. He did not verbally claim the position of chancellor, but he made the greatest possible arc, to Trump and the storming of the Capitol, and that means something. Laschet is a man who should not be underestimated. He is smart and experienced. He has a lot of staying power. He catches up at the last moment. Friedrich Merz has this experience behind him and Markus Söder in front of him.
So Laschet or Söder. From now on the Union is in the election campaign with itself before it goes into the federal election campaign. But what kind of chancellor does the country need?
Preferably one that combines different things. Energy with a social sense. Determination with the ability to explain the decisions, to communicate. Cold objectivity with empathy. Serious with humor, because otherwise he would be drowned in the mills that keep grinding. To do this, he must have enormous steadfastness and also endure unjust treatment by the press and party friends. In the digital age when hatred and agitation flourish, a tank is more important than ever.
Big shoes are ready
That is quite a demand from a single person, because in the end it all depends on the Chancellor, as trivial as that may sound. The requirements come on the one hand from the voters, but even more from the office. An adviser to Willy Brandt once said that he would not wish his dog to endure what a chancellor has to endure.
The post-war republic was extremely lucky with its chancellors. Most of them did not rule for a long time by accident. They not only wanted to be Chancellor, they also filled the office and shaped the country, right up to Angela Merkel, who will have been Chancellor for as long as Helmut Kohl, whom she sent offside.
Big shoes are ready, whether for Laschet or Söder. Whoever it becomes has to fight the AfD and build the economy after Corona. In addition, there is the alienation from America as a protective power, which Joe Biden might mitigate, but the focus of world politics has long since shifted to Asia. Europe should be more than it is, everyone knows that, and the next Federal Chancellor will be given the task of defining Europe because Germany is the leading power – and not just economically.
Can he even do that?
The next Chancellor must court America and develop an attitude towards China that combines exports out of German interests and distance because of human rights. He will not have a minute of rest, stress without end, because the next crisis is always imminent, including the next state election, and there are always envious people, complainers and poisoners, even in their own party.
Today, Armin Laschet, the nice man from Aachen who managed to tell about his father in his speech and at the same time draw the liberal democracy in appropriate colors, can celebrate a little, corona-like. Starting tomorrow, he will be measured, the legitimate questions arise as to whether he can do what he believes in, and how he will come to terms with Markus Söder – and whether he can do it at all.
Anyone who dares to go into the kitchen has to endure the heat.