How does an American support Angela Merkel?
January 30, 2017 7:38 PM   Subscribe

While I realize that interfering in foreign elections is verboten, generally, I would like to know what an US citizen can do, stateside, to support the re-election of Angela Merkel as German Chancellor.

Primarily, where does one send money, assuming I know few German citizens. What is allowed and where will it do the most good towards a very important goal?
posted by Cold Lurkey to Law & Government (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's probably* illegal in Germany to accept funding from a foreign national.
Give the money to one of your German friends (you say you have few friends, not zero) and ask them to donate to her campaign.

* You may want to verify this
posted by Kwadeng at 9:23 PM on January 30, 2017

Elections im Germany work differently than in the U.S. You actually don't need vast amounts of money to run for president (or any office). The big hurdle is getting the party to rally behind you. As a German national, I personally have never contemplated donating to a candidate and don't know anyone who has - grassroots fundraising for candidates just isn't a thing, at least not on a federal level (I could imagine chipping in for a local candidate who's just starting out, but not for a chancellor). The reason behind this is public party funding - parties get federal subsidies according to their popularity in the last election. Then there are party membership dues. Direct donations only make up a third of the budget. The party then throws its weight behind its chosen candidate - the system is party-driven, not candidate-driven. Plus, campaign adverts are heavily regulated to ensure equal coverage.
(Assuming you're a fan of Merkel's due to her position on refugees: consider donating to orgs that lobby for refugee rights in Germany, who are likely to have a bigger impact. The big NGO I know of is Pro Asyl.)
posted by The Toad at 10:00 PM on January 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

Seconding donate to NGOs.

Also, talk to people. Educate yourself by reading up on intersectional issues. Model tolerance, diversity, and open-mindedness. This can have a ripple effect; I've seen it myself.

And remember we've also got presidential elections coming up in France in April. We could use all the well-informed, diversity-supportive voices we can get.
posted by fraula at 1:19 AM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wonder why you would want to support Angela Merkel in the upcoming election? Although I deeply respect her courage regarding the refugee crisis, most in her party disagree with what she is doing. This is, to my mind, a general problem the Merkels campaign: for all intents and purposes, she is probably the most viable candidate, just looking at her personal experience alone. Thus many Germans, looking for stability or agreeing with her stance on immigration, vote for her party in order to secure her chancellorship. Yet she, as an individual, does not have nearly as much influence as the US president. In effect, by voting for Merkel, you are probably voting for the most restrictive immigration laws proposed by any party in Germany, the obvious exception to this rule being the far-right AfD.

Even regarding Germany's current immigration policy, I don't think it is as praiseworthy as it may at first seem. Although, as I said, Merkel and all citizens who helped refugees deserve respect for all they have done in the past few years, there is, to my mind, no legal way for a refugee from Syria to come to Germany. Only when they physically make it here, risking their lives on their journey over the Mediterranean or the Balkans, are some/most allowed to stay. Confronted with hundreds of thousands of refugees at EU borders, there really was no other way to handle the situation apart from letting most in. Even then, in the past year it has become more and more difficult for refugees to even make it here, given the EUs deal with Turkey. I'm fairly confident that Merkels party, given the chance, would be all for turning Europe into a fortress, keeping most refugees out.
posted by 3zra at 2:34 AM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]

I think the truth is there's nothing effective you can do. I suspect that if you asked her how you could help she'd say devote your energy to getting the American electoral system fixed.
posted by Segundus at 2:55 AM on January 31, 2017

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