A red-green coalition in Lower Saxony strengthens the dominance of the Greens in Germany. They co-govern almost everywhere in the country; and the other people’s parties have long since adopted green thinking culturally. What’s in store for us?

And even if the trees of the Greens in Lower Saxony have not grown into the sky: Even 14 percent – instead of the 22 percent measured in the summer – are easily enough to throw the CDU out of the government in Hanover. With a red-green coalition in the state of Lower Saxony, the balance of power is shifting throughout the state – Germany is going green.

There are now only four federal states that are not co-governed by the Greens. Whereby the difference between co-governing and governing is almost academic – a coalition is a permanent compromise, having a governing alliance means that politics cannot be made against either partner.

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If the Greens are soon to be involved in 12 out of 16 state governments in Germany, then this means that governments cannot be governed against the Greens. Not in the Bundestag and not in the Bundesrat. More than that – usually the Greens set a large part of government agendas – which has to do with being the programmatically most ambitious party of all.

Germany is going green – politically, but also culturally. What becomes clear when you look at another number: In the Federal Republic of Germany, only just under 18 million people are not governed by the Greens, while more than 65 million are governed by the Greens. And of those who are not governed by the Greens, 13 million live in just one federal state: Bavaria. The remaining almost five million in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in Saxony-Anhalt and in the small Saarland, where the SPD was able to get an absolute majority.

So three out of four citizens. The power of the Greens is great, and it has continued to grow in recent years. This has to do with developments in the other mainstream parties. Because the political-cultural agenda of the Greens was and is considered “up-to-date”, the elites of the SPD and CDU have adopted more and more green thinking.

A process that began in the Union many years ago – with Angela Merkel, who was Federal Minister for the Environment before she became head of government, and was offensively celebrated as “Climate Chancellor”. During her reign, the Union’s traditional family image faded, or to be more precise: it turned green. Merkel pushed traditional “black” issues into the background, especially internal and external security.

During the time of their chancellorship, the Bundeswehr was cut down in a “pacifist” manner, and in terms of internal security, the “welcome culture” for refugees has had clear priority over the threat of uncontrolled immigration from Islamic states since 2015.

In the most populous German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Christian Democratic head of government exclaimed the most famous of all Merkel sentences in his government statement: “We can do it!” Hendrik Wüst leads – no wonder – a coalition with the Greens.

Today, Christian Democratic leaders lament the loss of profile of the Union, the resigned head of the Lower Saxony Union, Bernd Althusmann, blamed the loss of the structural majority capability in the state of Merkel – but he found this courage only after leaving.

The SPD is no different. Even in the noughties, one could still rely on its traditional orientation as an “industry party” – in North Rhine-Westphalia, Prime Ministers Wolfgang Clement and Peer Steinbrück fought epic battles with the Greens over energy policy.

Those times are over – the SPD still emphasizes the topic of industrial policy, albeit in its green variant: in this perspective, industrial policy appears as a major effort to force the climate-compatible “transformation” of industry. Even if this was at the expense of the “little people” in the form of the highest energy prices in the world (even before Putin’s war), for whom the SPD still campaigns.

Just 20 years ago, internal security was a core brand of the SPD. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder treated himself to a “red sheriff” in Otto Schily, and in the states governed by the SPD, there was no doubt that the police had Social Democratic backing. Today, their “structural racism” is also being discussed there – the SPD has long since appropriated a green invention culturally.

This also applies to refugee policy. As a reminder: At the beginning of the 1990s, the SPD made a major amendment to the Basic Law in the right to asylum possible in the first place. It led to the introduction of the ‘Dublin’ system, under which refugees should only be entitled to asylum in the European country where they first arrived. This was essentially made possible by the then SPD parliamentary group leader, Hans-Ulrich Klose, in an informal coalition with the CDU mastermind and shadow chancellor, Wolfgang Schäuble.

Those times are long gone. Today, the largest group within the SPD parliamentary group, the Jusos, is demanding a complete deletion of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act – which would mean that asylum seekers would receive basic security immediately after their arrival and no longer the significantly lower benefits from the existing asylum law.

Behind this is a shift in the concept of justice from red to green. Asylum seekers who – naturally – have not paid a cent into the German social security system to be equated with contributors who have been unemployed for a longer period of time would not have occurred to the SPD earlier. The younger social-democratic generation has long embraced the Green concept of justice, which is geared more to human rights than to social biographies.

This is how it will continue. With green socio-political dominance, discussions about other forms of energy policy have come to an end. With a red-green coalition, fracking – with the extraction of shale gas from Lower Saxony, Germany’s gas shortage could be alleviated for decades – is now finally done.

The Union shouldn’t forget that its failed top man Bernd Althusmann had already capitulated in this field – he no longer dared to launch an offensive against the green energy narrative of “hazardous technologies”.

The socio-political dominance achieved by the Greens in 20 years also explains the marginalization of the Liberals. Measured against the importance that the liberals once had as “tipping the scales”, they have now almost become a remnant.

Back to the beginning of this consideration. The Greens were never able to gain a foothold in East Germany. Two of the remaining three governments in which they are not involved are in eastern Germany: Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Saxony-Anhalt. However, they do not even represent a twentieth of the German population.

There is only one strong non-green bastion left in Germany, and only one left in West Germany: Bavaria. There will be elections next year. And the Greens have never targeted a head of government like the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder.

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