Professional politicians: the gravediggers of democracy

We haven’t had a democracy for a long time – Part 6

This installment of the series of articles critical of democracy by Allensbach political scientist and science journalist Wolfgang J. Koschnick deals with the fact that most politicians today are professional politicians. The representatives of the political parties in the parliaments have set themselves up as a state within the state and have transformed the state into a party state. This power cartel decides on everything that goes on in the state: on the national debt, on education and health care, on taxes and duties, on the location of courts and on the construction of roads. Almost imperceptibly, the party state has developed into a monopoly of power that has completely alienated itself from the people – who are, after all, the constitutional sovereign.

Part 5: A form of mild functionary dictatorship

Professional politicians: the gravediggers of democracy

The indisputably ideal politician is a person who is economically, politically and ideologically dependent on no one and who makes his decisions free of external influences – a person, therefore, whom one looks for in vain in today’s real politics.

The overwhelming majority of today’s politicians are professional politicians. They emerge from the political parties, from there they enter the parliaments – the Bundestag, the state parliaments and the European Parliament and the county councils, the city councils and municipal councils – and from there they again influence the political parties.

If we want to describe the political decision-makers in Germany in a nutshell, we can say that they are a small but powerful group of professional politicians – people who live from politics and for politics. Political observers estimate that the "political class" in Germany from approximately 10.000 to 20.000 people.1

The representatives of the political parties in the parliaments have established themselves as a state within the state and have transformed the state into a party state. This power cartel decides on everything that goes on in the state: on the national debt, education and health care, on taxes and duties, court locations and road construction. Almost imperceptibly, the party state has developed into a monopoly of power that has completely alienated itself from the people – who are, after all, the constitutional sovereign.

In all parliaments, but most strongly in the Bundestag, the type of the professional politician prevails. Even those who are not yet, aspire to make politics their profession. 350 of the 622 members of the Bundestag state the following as their profession "Mandatstrager" to. You are already a professional politician. That is far more than half of all members of parliament.

Most members of the 17. The members of the Bundestag, who were elected in 2009, have already joined the 16. Bundestag: 420 of them. Only 200 deputies are in the Bundestag for the first time – and that’s actually quite a few compared to previous legislative periods. Once you’re in parliament, you can always get back in if you want to and haven’t stolen any silver laffels or broken factional discipline in the meantime. Structures solidify from election to election.

116 members have been in the Bundestag for five or more legislative periods, i.e. for 20 or more years; 184 for 16 or more years, 307 for 12 or more years. In other words: Whoever sits in parliament remains there, as a rule, unless he dies, retires voluntarily or is displeased by the leadership of his parliamentary group. If you are a member of parliament and want to be reelected, you can count on your party to nominate you again. There are hardly ever any opposing candidates to the incumbent.

The dominance of professional politicians is largely due to the electoral system, but also to the democratic system of elections in general, together with the rule of political parties.

Elections do not give the burghers any real influence on politics. Few party functionaries and politicians have it, not even the other party members. In elections, it is usually already predetermined who will win or lose: Many constituencies are absolutely safe for one of the major parties. And the can thus the Burgern their respective delegates, so judged it the Federal Constitutional Court, "de facto dictate"2.

Union strongholds such as Paderborn, Biberach or Straubing have a particularly high percentage of Catholics and are usually located in rural areas. The SPD’s strongholds are working-class metropolises, especially cities in the Ruhr region such as Gelsenkirchen and Duisburg. Here, the majority cannot help but vote for candidates who are "their" Party presents.

Election results are already known months before the election

In rural areas of Bavaria, the nomination of a CSU candidate in a constituency means an almost 100 percent electoral victory, just as in a large northern German city the nomination of an SPD candidate means an equally certain electoral victory. The result is already determined in advance. There are only a few exceptions to these rules.

But beyond that, the concrete mixed electoral system of direct elections in constituencies and list elections, which prevails in Germany at all levels, has built-in mechanisms that establish the monopoly of political parties in the nomination of candidates.

The parties alone determine who will be elected in the end; they alone decide who will be nominated in safe constituencies or on the top list positions where their election is safe even if the party does not do so well in the actual election.

A realistic chance of being elected to parliament and participating in political decisions exists only through the political parties. They draw up the constituency candidates and the state lists and thus decide long before the election on the composition of the Bundestag and the state parliaments. The parties know their "safe constituencies" and prevent surprises from the national lists.

In federal elections, every voter can only tick rigid party lists with the second vote, on which the order of the candidates is fixed independently. Who the party committees on a "secure list position" have set, that is practically already elected. He does not need to wait for the outcome of the election.

Since the election itself is only ever a matter of a few percentage points’ difference from the previous election, and the exact size of the difference can usually be calculated some time before the election, it is clear for a long time before each election who will be elected and who will not.

Even who loses in the constituency, is often secured on the national list and comes so nevertheless in the parliament. And against this decision of the parties the electors are powerless. There is nothing you can do about it. The parties decide, and the voters have to watch.

Analyses of numerous elections have shown that a good three-quarters of all deputies are determined before the election has even taken place. By the "Actual election" The voters only approve what the inner circles of the political parties have decided long before them – and for the most part behind closed doors.

Vox populi – vox vote

The voters don’t even know who they are voting for when they cast their second vote, because there are only two or three top candidates of the parties on the ballots. They cannot see who else is on the list.

They could theoretically find out, if they really wanted to know, by looking at the electoral lists. But that’s circumstantial, and who does that?? Even then, he only learns what is unabanderlich and he can no longer influence. The voters have to take what the parties put in front of them. The complete list. The principle is quite simple: Eat bird or die’. They do not have a choice.

But even with the first vote, the voter usually has no choice. It is true that the candidates of the constituency personally campaign for the first votes. Whoever gets the most votes enters the Bundestag, so voters get the impression that they really made a choice.

In reality, only candidates from the major parties have any chance of winning a constituency. But also many of them are additionally secured by the list. They got into the Bundestag even if they did not receive a single first vote.

All election campaign bluster is just staging, to hide the fact that the burger in reality has nothing more to decide. The internal circle of functionaries in the parties has determined how the elections will be conducted, and above all, who will be elected and who will not, and this is how it will be done.

The SPD even has a rule that only people who run for office in a constituency can be put on the state list. There are almost no exceptions. Only for very exposed politicians like Gerhard Schroder and Franz Muntefering it was made. On the other hand, the party even refused to give a promising place on the list to a non-party economics minister who did not want to run in an SPD constituency. The small petty functionaries in the constituency committees are iron-fisted and will not be bargained with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *