Avoidable Resignations in DC, An Unavoidable Resignation in Germany
Donald Trump has recently lost two more staffers: Rob Porter and David Sorensen. Both have been accused by ex-wifes of domestic abuse.
The reason this is a big story is that the president and his staff have given contradictory statements about what they knew, when they knew it and whether or not Porter in particular deserved the benefit of the doubt.
The specifics are of little political consequence, but the scandal does underscore what a terrible manager Trump is (although we already knew that) and what a terrible effect he has on the people who work for him.
David A. Graham argues in The Atlantic that Team Trump doesn’t have a chaos problem. It has a dishonesty problem. “Insofar as the administration is engulfed in chaos, it is a result of its inability to tell the truth.”
Conor Friedersdorf writes in the same magazine that Trump has corrupted the conservative movement. “I expect that its moral failures will echo across American politics for years, undermining the right’s ability to credibly advance its best and worst alike.”
Ezra Klein blames Trump’s volatility in Vox. “No one knows quite what he will do or say or want, and so staffers spend their days working on deals and plans that they know could be wrecked by a tweet or a late-night phone call or something the president saw on Fox & Friends.” Read more
Germany’s Social Democrats Trade Credibility for Power
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) punched above their weight and won. They have secured three key ministries in negotiations for another coalition government with the right: finance, foreign affairs and labor. For a party with only 20 percent support, that is an impressive result.
Schulz In No Rush, Makes Demands on Europe, Health Insurance
German Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz has made clear he is in no rush to form another grand coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, telling reporters in Berlin, “We are under no time pressure.”
This is partly theater. Schulz ruled out another left-right pact after losing the election in September, but now it may be the only way to form a majority government. His base is skeptical, so he must take it slow.
Schulz is also signaling to Merkel that she better give the Social Democrats enough concessions for them to justify four more years of coalition government. Read more
Schulz Not the Future of Social Democracy After All
Germany’s Martin Schulz looks less and less like the savior of European social democracy.
His party performed poorly in North Rhine-Westphalia on Sunday, the third state election this year in which the Social Democrats were bested by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
I argued here earlier in the week that North Rhine-Westphalia’s election was a crucial test for Schulz. It is the heartland of German social democracy: the biggest industrial state with four of Germany’s ten largest cities and a long history of trade unionism. The state has been governed by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens since 2010 under a popular state prime minister, Hannelore Kraft.
If Schulz couldn’t win here, then where can he? Read more
Coalition Politics Could Turn Moderate Germans Away from Schulz
Germany’s Social Democrats have shot up in the polls since they asked Martin Schulz, the former European Parliament chief, to lead them into September’s election. But they may yet lose some of their newfound popularity if voters start thinking through the consequences.
The Social Democrats are neck and neck with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the polls. Whereas the right enjoyed a comfortable 10- to 15-point lead through all of last year, it would now struggle to place first.
Schulz has drawn support from all sides: moderate Christian Democrats, Greens and even anti-establishment voters who were planning to support the Alternative für Deutschland before he joined the contest.
That first group is most likely to switch back once they realize the Social Democratic Party could govern without the right if it grows big enough. Read more