Election platforms have a clear purpose: to reassure the parties’s core electorate that the policies are still in line for the reasons why they vote for that party. Ideally, they confirm their purpose or, at the very least, don’t unsettle their voters. But right now, most Germans are thinking more about their summer vacation instead of the fall election. In just three short weeks, there will be more than a few of us relaxing on a beach, turning the pages of a summer thriller instead of swiping through the election platforms on our iPads. The real campaign between Chancellor Angela Merkel and challenger Martin Schulz will start with the ring of the first school bells – quick and dirty.
The joint press conference between Ms. Merkel and Horst Seehofer, head of the Bavarian sister-party to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), already set the tone. Mr. Seehofer, who is also the Bavarian state premier, has been biting his tongue in recent days – there has been no more talk about a “rule of injustice”. Ms. Merkel, on the other hand, has been making clear efforts to keep the peace ever since she sharply criticized US President Donald Trump in a Munich beer tent. The two of them on stage did much to dispel whispers that began at the beginning of the year when the two of them painted an unharmonious picture at a similar event.
Distant memories now – there is an election that has to be won.