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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Germany's Social Democrats, in a reversal, have renewed the possibility of an alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU. This would have implications beyond Germany's borders.

The three emotions of the moment:

  • Fatigue: Even if the CDU and Social Democrats (SPD) do hitch up, most Germans won't like it. Only 39 percent of them favor a renewed "Grand Coalition" of this kind. Moreover, the SPD — which is at its weakest since 1949 — will be at pains to show voters that it's not just a second-fiddle to Merkel. This means that unwieldy intra-coalition politics will hobble the Merkel's ability to act.
  • Anger: The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party now holds 92 seats in parliament. And while it's in no position to be a kingmaker, the weakness of Merkel's coalition could increase the party's anti-establishment appeal, compounding her troubles.
  • Despair: French President Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative to reform and revitalize Europe requires a strong, willing Germany. Absent that, it will be harder for Europe to cope with an increasingly assertive brand of populist nationalism.

Bottom line: Merkel will enter her fourth term significantly weakened, and that's bad news for Germany and for Europe.

Go deeper: Right-wing populists surge in Germany

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Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
9 mins ago - Economy & Business

The biggest obstacle to a wealth tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Taxing the rich is an idea that's back. An "ultra-millionaire tax" introduced by Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing Democrats this week would raise more than $3 trillion over 10 years, they say, while making the tax system as a whole more fair.

Why it matters: New taxes would be a necessary part of any Democratic plan to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. But President Biden has more urgent priorities — and Warren's wealth tax in particular faces constitutional obstacles that make it a hard sell.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

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