What do German election results have to do with GOUSA? A lot really. In September, young Germans voted overwhelmingly for change by rejecting the two establishment parties. Are young Americans also ready to change politics in the United States? At GOUSA we hope so.
Unlike the United States, Germany has several major political parties though two, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Socialists (SPD), have run the country since WWII. In the September national election young Germans rejected both parties. Instead, the top voter getters among young people were the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) and the progressive Greens each with 23 percent of the youth vote. That may not sound like a lot by US standards. But consider that the CDU and SPD combined gathered just 25 percent of the vote among voters between the ages of 18 and 22.
The concerns that led young people to reject the CDU and SPD sound a lot like the concerns of young people in the United States.
Young Germans voted for change because they were sick of the government’s COVID restrictions. Reuters reports:
“Many young voters saw the FDP as a defender of their liberties and freedoms during the pandemic, Schnetzer said, when the government closed schools and universities, restaurants and fitness studios while keeping factories open to safeguard the economy. School closures amounted to around 30 weeks since March last year compared to just 11 in France, U.N. data shows. The FDP was against blanket closures and wanted to give schools more power to decide if and when to close.”
The other is that the establishment parties were out of touch with issues of interest to young voters including the soaring costs of Germany’s equivalent to the U.S. social security system. From the Wall Street Journal:
“Simon Schnetzer, a researcher who studies youth culture, says how the young voted partly reflects their sense that the big parties have been too focused on serving the older voters that are the bulk of their electorate, thus neglecting long-term issues from combating climate change to fixing education, promoting digitization, and plugging the pension system’s funding gap.”
The CDU is like the George W. Bush wing of the Republican Party in the U.S. and the SPD like the old-time labor Democrats. Both are in sharp decline in the United States especially among young people. Like young Germans, young Americans are looking for new solutions.
Will young Americans find a pro-opportunity, pro-freedom message like that of the FDP as appealing as young Germans do? We think so. We at GOUSA are working hard bring the message of opportunity to young Americans and develop a generation of pro-opportunity leaders.