AActively supporting election campaigns, i.e. helping to plan which content will be the focus, when, where and how which posters with which photos and slogans will be hung up, or even preparing “duels” is no longer my thing since I became self-employed in 2010 and I have been supporting companies and associations in communication and crisis communication with my team for many years.
However, in my “past life” I was involved in numerous election campaigns – many successful and some not so successful. For this reason alone I am watching with great interest the events surrounding the planned vote out of Mayor Peter Feldmann on November 6th.
tailwind for the deselection
It could actually be quite simple, because it is obvious that “the city” and the overwhelming majority in Römer no longer want Feldmann as mayor. In addition, the criminal process gives momentum for the deselection. It starts on October 18th in the district court, so the first days of the hearing fall in the hot phase before the “deselection day”.
But those campaigning for the vote to be voted out should take heed that if they want the mayor voted out, they have to do something about it – just hoping and watching is not enough. Then, dear parties, that won’t happen!
There was always enough time to prepare for the deselection – but something has to happen slowly. The postal vote starts on Monday. If those who initiated the process of voting out do not wage a resolute “campaign of deselection”, Peter Feldmann will be able to celebrate the result as a triumphant confirmation of his person.
The hurdles are high
Because the hurdles to voting are high. It is by no means enough if more people simply vote for deselection than against. At least 30 percent of those eligible to vote must vote to be voted out. How high this hurdle is can be seen from the fact that even in the first ballot of the last mayoral election in 2018 – with at least ten applicants – only 37.6 percent went to the polls, in the runoff election that was successful for Feldmann it was just 30.2 percent Percent. And even in the 2021 local elections, in which all parties gave their all with a “full band”, voter turnout was only 45.1 percent.
In plain language: the 30 percent hurdle for voting out is an enormous challenge and will not be easy to jump over. It may sound funny, but it’s not enough that you only meet people who are in favor of Peter Feldmann having to give up his chain of office. You also have to opt out.
So far, the parties have been propagating that November 6th will be about a “new beginning”. That’s exactly wrong, it’s about ending something. There can only be a fresh start if Feldmann is deselected. And for that you have to do something, like before every “normal” election day. That people go to the “voting” and don’t think that it will work out by itself anyway because the man is so bad. Feldmann has done enough to get himself voted out – the parties have not (yet) done so.
Posters, flyers and social media, stands in the pedestrian zones, events and interviews, the parties must leave nothing out so that this can succeed. Even home visits – Feldmann will definitely make them as always, by the way. All election campaign tools must be used, it can only be a question of how, not whether. Do all operators of the deselection go with their logos on a common poster or do they do it separately?
Do politicians from the Greens, CDU, SPD, FDP and Volt go on a home visit tour together in different casts? Unusual, but certainly an exciting experience and therefore interesting for media coverage. There may even be volunteers who want to serve a good cause and help out at the stands.
Joining Forces for a “New Beginning”
Deselection can only work if all forces are combined. To say that you have to rely on a “fresh start” – whatever that means – reminds me of “theoretical smartasses” who keep claiming that campaign posters are ineffective, even though all insiders know that they are the most effective campaign tool – by the way precisely because they stand in our way.
I get the impression that the parties are currently maneuvering and are only looking at “the day after”. Just don’t spend any money, because then there will be a “real” election campaign for which you need your “powder” and undamaged people. What is meant is the election campaign for Feldmann’s successor.
If they aren’t mistaken together. If Feldmann is not voted out and then survives the criminal proceedings with a black eye, he will stand up with a proud chest and announce, “Those up there in the parties wanted to get rid of me, but they just don’t know how the ‘normal’ people do tick”. And then he will pull out the chain of office again and for the remaining two years of his term in office he will appear in public as ever and pretend that nothing had happened. Paulskirchen anniversary included. The paralysis of the city (politics), which has now lasted for so long, would continue. Worse: If the self-healing powers of politics don’t work, the parties and the system as a whole suffer damage.
The author was State Secretary in the Hessian State Chancellery and government spokesman from 1999 to 2010. He is the founder and managing director of the Dirk Metz Kommunikation agency.
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