Why? All over the country, this is the question that keeps every party committee busy after each election. It is an important question to consider because it can point to more than just a deficit in communication. It also applies to the impeachment of content related positions.
Especially for us, as members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) the result of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election was a bitter disappointment. We haven't only lost percentages of votes, but we have taken third place behind the AfD. Why?
We won't let our country be run by people who take to the streets with their dumb and eternally dated slogans, completely ignoring the course of history.
We obviously haven't managed to explain our policies to the voters. People were and still are discontented with the way in which we, as politicians, approach problems. This doesn't only apply to policies regarding refugees. It doesn't matter which aspects people are discontented with, they assume to find their alleged political home with the AfD.
People Are Discontented
The party knows how to reduce people's fears to simple and catchy slogans. At the same time, they fail to offer any realistic approaches to solving any problems whatsoever. This makes the AfD nothing more than a storage basin for fearful and discontented people who express their feeling of not-wanting or not-understanding via the ballot.
I can't blame these people. On the contrary: As a result of the state election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, we need to improve our policies and explain them better. The CDU doesn't offer simple solutions, but our policies help people and contribute to tackling the challenges in our country and in Europe. We won't let our country be run by people who take to the streets with their dumb and eternally dated slogans, completely ignoring the course of history.
Headlines and Slogans Can't Replace Domestic Policies
We need to start taking the AfD seriously with regards to the content of their speech. We really deal with it. My electoral district, Mainz, doesn't differ so much from the rest of the country. As soon as they are confronted with pressing issues in local politics, the AfD city council faction reveal their true colors. Headlines and slogans can't replace domestic policies after all.
We need to start taking the AfD seriously with regards to the content of their speech. We really need to deal with it.
The question of "why" should always be followed by the question of "how could we do it better." For me, it's obvious: We also need to challenge our policies in regards to content -- just going back to business as usual would be wrong in this case. Above all, we need to work on how to successfully get our political messages across.
We need to be more responsive to the people, to explain our problem solving approaches and try to counter fear with facts. And with regards to the intellectual closeness of AfD to other political phenomena, in my opinion it seems appropriate to expand history lessons in our educational system.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Germany. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.