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Notes on my Wahl-O-Mat Results

May 15, 2012

Well, the big Nordrhein-Westfalen election on Sunday came and went. The biggest news was that the CDU had a weaker showing than usual, losing seats to the socialist SDPs. Sadly my dear Familien Partei didn’t win any seats, having received only 0.4% of the vote.

Chin up, family!

My last post was a little misleading, as I was under the impression that the whole of Germany was voting in regional elections on Sunday. That wasn’t in fact the case. The Wahl-O-Mat was only up and running for NRW. But as this is Germany’s most populous Bundesland, the results of this election did grab the attention of the country at large.

Here’s a few observations about my Wahl-O-Mat results:

That graph I posted corresponds with point values for each of the yellow bars. My agreement with the Familienpartei was quantified as 53 out of 76 points, or 70%. My agreement with the NPD (the neo-Nazis) was put at 32 out of 76 points, or 42%. Both of these numbers are surprising, in different ways. Considering the vast spread of different political parties in Germany, I had expected that at least one of them would cater to me on “the issues” at a level higher than 70%. And considering that neo-Nazis are presumably all terrible people who I feel should only be allowed to have an opinion because not doing so would mean being more like them, I would have hoped for a lower number than 42% to describe my agreement with them.

As a pretty standard politically disillusioned American, I came to Germany excited to see how its multi-party system catered to the beliefs of a diverse population. I thought our two-party system was fundamentally inferior to one where more people could be more accurately represented by more competing parties. Surely here I would find a party that aligned with my beliefs more thoroughly than the Democrats or Republicans. But according to the Wahl-O-Mat, the SDP is the party with seats in the Bundestag who I align with the most, and I only 53% agree with them! That’s not much at all! Could it be that enabling access to the U.S. Government to more parties is not the panacea I thought it would be?

So yes, I walk away from the Wahl-O-Mat more confused than I was before I asked for its wisdom, albeit for different reasons.

NOTE ON WHY THE WAHL-O-MAT MAY NOT BE TRUSTWORTHY: I read into the Familien Partei, and the first thing written in their platform synopsis was that children should have a vote in regional elections. I disagreed with that item on the Wahl-O-Mat, but it still put the Familien Partei on top! Suspicious!

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