Nov 29, 2017

Why a “grand coalition” wouldn’t solve Germany’s problems

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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The long journey to herd immunity

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads.

Why it matters: Unless a sufficient level of immunity is achieved in the population, the coronavirus could circulate indefinitely and potentially flare up as future outbreaks.

Judge rules all three defendants in shooting of Ahmaud Arbery will stand trial

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A judge ruled on Thursday that all three men charged in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in February Glynn County, Georgia, will stand trial, AP reports.

Why it matters: The video of Arbery's death was among several catalysts in the mass protests against racial injustice that have unfurled across the country and world over the past week and a half.

Remembering George Floyd

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

With politicians, clergy and law enforcement in attendance on Thursday in Minneapolis, the family of George Floyd demanded recognition for his life well lived.

Why it matters: Floyd has become the latest symbol of police brutality after he was killed last week when a police officer held a knee to his neck.