Vman marriages fail when the children leave the house. On the one hand, it’s great: finally time for each other. On the other hand unpleasant: What do you do with the time, what do you still have to say to each other? The CDU feels the same way. She has less to do now because she no longer rules. She is suddenly thrown back on herself. What party does she want to be, with whom, why? A year after the federal elections, she is still in the middle of a crisis of meaning, or as Carsten Linnemann puts it, her optimistic therapist: “We’re on the right track, but we haven’t reached our goal yet.”
Linnemann watches over the new basic program, which is to be created by 2024. Before we get to the answers, let’s first talk about the questions. After all, therapy takes time. It was “sparsely populated here and there in terms of content,” he recently found. Where there is not much, there is space for something new, a new “great story for the CDU”, as Linnemann enthusiastically says. The party needs a signature tune that makes people say: “I vote for the party! The new CDU can have a future.”
But what future is it? There are different ideas about this in the policy committee. The North Rhine-Westphalian politician Serap Güler says: “Some think that we have to move socio-politically to the right. But elections are won in the middle.” Others, like the Mainz historian Andreas Rödder, who is also co-writing the new basic program, want to go there: socio-politically to the right.
“What do you think of Dieter Nuhr?”
He recently invited to Berlin with his think tank R21. The topic of the conference: “Wokes Germany: Identity politics as a threat to our freedom?” The journalist Judith Sevinç Basad declared “the woke movement” to be the “greatest danger for our society”, the former Minister for Family Affairs Kristina Schröder warned of a minority that owns ” of the means of cultural production”, the cabaret artist Dieter Nuhr was in front of a “small, powerful elite” who acted against the majority of the population. Linnemann sat in the audience and listened.
Afterwards there was a heated discussion in the arts pages and on Twitter. They talked like conspiracy theorists, some whispered. Does that sound like the new CDU? In conversation, Linnemann downplays the meaning. It’s just a Berlin think tank like there are hundreds. “Just listen to Dieter Nuhr’s speech – those were clever thoughts.” Suddenly turning to someone else: “Or what do you think of Dieter Nuhr?” Vogel from the FDP says: Good! “He just walked past him. Subtext: So that makes you two cool young men who like Nuhr.
Others found the event less good, for example Nora Zabel: 26 years old, a student in Heidelberg and a CDU member. “Being against Wokeness means being against people who want to make the world a better place,” she says in astonishment. “You don’t win elections with resentment.” At the university she noticed “how people my age think” – in fact completely different than in the Junge Union. “In the CDU, many see Fridays for Future as an enemy. I think we should convince them.” The new sound is also upsetting to the few remaining Merkel loyalists in the CDU. They feel marginalized and see with suspicion how “hardliners” now have the upper hand. In the so-called Friday Round, a circle from Merkel’s time, they have recently met again and are trying to keep the “liberal, cosmopolitan part of the party” together.
But even if they may feel lonely in the parliamentary group, everything went their way at the party conference in September. There, for example, the small but subtle difference between the words “equal rights” and “equality” was discussed for quite a long time. What looks like a debate from the introductory seminar was actually a major ideological dispute. Serap Güler and Co. argued that it is not only about equal rights, but also about the actual goal of equality. Andreas Rödder, on the other hand, called it a “leftist battleground” and Kristina Schröder spoke of “equality”. However, the word is not a new creation from the Wokeness vocabulary, but has been in the CDU program since the 1980s. The party congress in September also decided by a majority not to fall behind the Kohl era.