Facebook topic trends of SPD fans shortly after the parliamentary election

Listening to the music of Konstantin Wecker to cope with shock: That’s how SPD fans on Facebook reacted to electoral defeat

 

Immerse yourself in the mood of Social Democrats in the hours before and after the announcement of the election results. We analysed what the fans of the SPD Facebook page were interested in on September 24th and 25th.

 

On Facebook, it becomes obvious: During the final phase of the electoral campaign, the SPD did not focus on clearly defined political topics but rather on appeals against the AfD.

On election day before 6:00 p.m., two videos provided by the party itself trended: In the first video, the 95-year-old Holocaust survivor Inge Deutschkron warns viewers about the AfD.

In the second, Martin Schulz reminds us that, in 1933, the SPD was the only political party which voted against Hitler’s Ermächtigungsgesetz. He uses historical retrospection to vehemently position himself against the AfD.

 

 

Worries about the AfD’s entry into German parliament

Aside from productions provided by the SPD itself, it is clear that fans of the political party were worried about the AfD’s entry into German parliament.

They often share a video of the campaign platform campact in which the language used by AfD representatives is compared to Nazi language. A statement of the leading AfD politician Alexander Gauland who said that one could be proud ‘of the performance of German soldiers during two World wars’ was central for users.

Should I vote for the AfD?

A commentary by the weekly newspaper Die Zeit also trended in which author Daniel Erk takes the view that the AfD intends to change Germany’s basic constitutional law and partly abolish the form of a state under the rule of law. According to him, originally central demands of the party regarding the German refugee policy have already been implemented in the form of a European isolationist policy.

This is the only word people who visit the website www.sollichafdwaehlen.de see.

Some SPD fans, however, also seemed to ask themselves on election day whether they should vote for the AfD after all.

They shared a self-test provided by Spiegel Online for which Christian Stöcker elaborated a list of question that help to check one’s proximity to AfD positions.

Users also visited the website sollichafdwaehlen.de (Should I vote AfD?). Those who opened it saw one word: No.

A 72-hour live stream of the SPD was also popular; it allowed users to address questions to the party and to follow Martin Schulz during an election appearance in Köln.

Users interested in Martin Schulz’ wife

Even more fascinating for SPD fans seems to have been the opportunity to finally see Schulz’ wife, who otherwise did not participate in the electoral campaign. A video of the newspaper Welt shows Martin Schulz during his last election campaign appearance in Aachen, in which he kisses and hugs his wife in public.

After 6:00 p.m., SPD fans watched a short SPD thank-you video for campaigners and supporters. Next, they informed themselves about protests against the AfD election party in Berlin; efforts to provide live reporting from the protests (among others, by Bild, DW Stories and Welt) were particularly popular.

Additionally, a declaration on the website of the Central Council of Jews, in which its president Josef Schuster asks all democratic political parties ‘to unveil the AfD’s real face and to debunk the party’s empty and populist promises’, became a trend.

An open letter against the AfD

 

An open letter addressed to the AfD trended among fans of the SPD Facebook page on September 25th. Translation of the letter: Dear AfD, We are the 87% that did not vote for you. We are left of, right of and exactly at the political center. We are people of all genders, all ages, all origins, all religions, all skin colours, all sexual orientations, all political directions. We are those who make our country to what it is now. And we stand up against your racism! We stand for a cosmopolitan Germany in which there is no space for xenophobia. Where you want to build walls, we build bridges. Where you want to disseminate hatred, we govern with cohesion.

The shock caused by the election results seemed to prompt users’ desire to spontaneously supply themselves with sweet pastries. Since the fridge was apparently quite empty, they prepared simple cream or apple pies—or at least they started reading and sharing the recipes.

On September 25th, a commentary of the ZDF deputy editor-in-chief Elmar Theveßen reflecting on an attack on democracy, constitutional stage and human rights by the AfD was popular among users.

In his commentary, Theveßen answers Gauland’s quotation from election night—‘We will bring back our country and our people’—with the words, ‘The country, Mister Gauland, neither belongs to you nor to the AfD. And the same applies to the people’.

Users shared an open letter of the campaign network Avaaz against the AfD particularly often. It states: ‘Dear AfD, we are the 87% who did not vote for you. […] This is all of our country, and you will not ‘regain’ it for yourselves’.

Angela Merkel’s press conference in the Konrad-Adenauer House, and the announcement that Frauke Petry would not be part of the AfD parliamentary group, were of interest for users.

The same applies to the question as to whether a Jamaica coalition could materialise. Users shared a video in which Christian Lindner, filming himself during a car ride, declares that he is open to coalition talks but that he can also imagine the FDP to be in the opposition.

It eventually seems that Konstantin Wecker’s song ‘Say no’ was comforting to cope with the election shock. SPD fans widely shared the musician’s personal reaction to the election results in which that song is embedded.

For this post, we have analysed the interests of the SPD online community on September 24th and 25th 2017.

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