53 days before the general election, the SPD campaign manager Lars Klingbeil presented the Social Democrats' campaign in Berlin.

It is dominated by two elements: the color red and Scholz.

“We are clearly relying on Olaf Scholz,” says Klingbeil at the appointment, which takes place on Wednesday in a pink cinema in the old west of the capital.

Klingbeil enthuses, Scholz is “the right person for Germany”.

Peter Carstens

Political correspondent in Berlin

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The party's slogan four years ago was “Time for Justice” and was later perceived as a nebulous statement by the hapless candidate Martin Schulz.

This time the Social Democrats make it clear in the slogan that they are betting on a personnel election campaign for the Chancellery: “Scholz tackles it.” With a rapid turn to the once unloved candidate Scholz, the SPD is trying these days to avert another election defeat.

The close connection is surprising

Klingbeil presents several poster motifs that show the candidate in a somewhat unusual wide-angle optic and black and white against a bright red background. The advertising agency BrinkertLück Creatives is responsible for the new look. According to the Secretary General, the candidate posters are a “symbiosis of Scholz and SPD”. There is still something surprising about this close connection, because Scholz did not only disagree with many in his party on a number of political issues, such as security and defense policy, rents and the debt brake. Until the end he also stood for the implementation of the unpopular Hartz IV reforms from the Schröder era.

His candidacy for party chairmanship ended in a heavy defeat two years ago. Scholz and his fellow candidate Klara Geywitz were elected by less than 15 percent of the party members at the time. But the two winners, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, quickly realized that it is not enough to win an internal party dispute with massive Juso help and Kevin Kühnert: The party lost tens of thousands more members. The current numbers are kept secret. Instead of the targeted poll target of 30 percent, the SPD was just under 15 percent last summer. Therefore Scholz.

In the meantime, everything in the SPD that marked him as a loser and half-social democrat to be thrown in at the time is considered great in the party: his experience in various governments, his straightforwardness, his serenity that bordered on the boring.

Neither friendly seniors nor eager children or satisfied workers like in earlier campaigns from the SPD emotional world appear on the big election posters, but only Scholz on a red background.

SPD promises "wage increase for 10 million"

On the other hand, Esken and Walter-Borjans, who tend to make controversial statements, have completely moved away from the media windows and very sparingly with appearances. The latter is not even aiming for a Bundestag mandate. Both are of the opinion, however, that without his defeat and her success in the 2019 membership survey, Scholz would never have become a candidate for the entire SPD.