Despite untamed global capitalism and growing inequality within advanced economies, the traditional left continues to be in sharp decline. Social democratic parties lost significant support in almost all Western democracies, seem unable to satisfy public calls for economic protection, and are undergoing a substantial identity crisis. The situation for Germany’s SPD is no different, as its indecision toward the Grand Coalition and the de novo quest for leadership illustrate. For the proud party, whose roots go back to the early nineteenth century, the current crisis resembles a bitter humiliation.
For the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Atlantic Council Resident Fellow Julian Mueller-Kaler takes a look at Germany’s SPD, Social Democracy’s search for its identity, and the related global rise of populism.