Even before explorations began, the Greens and the FDP had virtually concluded a coalition without a contract.

It came about as classically as Annalena Baerbock's top candidate: without a party congress, without members, only in the “back rooms” of the committees.

What used to be the handshake is now the selfie.

If there is a traffic light coalition, it will be this green-yellow coalition that holds the building together, not the election of Olaf Scholz as Federal Chancellor.

If the Greens or the FDP want to enforce their own goals or to assert themselves against the SPD, they will have to do it together in order not to be seen as the gravedigger of a coalition that would make the country ungovernable or drive it back into a grand coalition.

If, on the other hand, the SPD wants to prevail, it will not have to deal with the Greens or FDP, but with their alliance.

This role is surprisingly easy for both parties.

This is certainly due to the realism and the power awareness of their respective party leadership.

It was also clear before the election that they would be the chancellor-makers if they didn't want to end up in the opposition again.

The trauma of the FDP

The only thing that was unclear was whether the FDP would turn its trauma of the past of no longer being the third strongest party of course, but falling behind the Greens, into a revenge at a high level. That didn't work. But the CDU's debacle will, like the Greens before, in view of the alleged decline of the SPD, subject them to the temptation of being able to succeed a people's party.

Regardless of whether traffic lights or Jamaica, the Greens and the FDP will hardly give the scaled-down “big” partner any room for their own profiling.

The SPD is helping the chancellorship to an unexpected high, but old heights are no longer associated with it.

Even in the SPD's very own field, social policy, the FDP and the Greens can now determine what a basic security to replace the Hartz IV system, as well as a basic security for children, looks like.

In pension policy, they will be able to enforce a more flexible approach that is not sufficient for a major pension reform, but bypasses the SPD brake.

More than climate policy, these points are likely to be suitable for everyone involved to speak of a departure to new shores.

Stumbling blocks in tax policy

In tax policy, too, it stands to reason that the Greens and the FDP should join forces in order to implement a thorough reform that has been planned for a long time, but has never been implemented. The SPD could commit them to relief that also includes groups that they see as “rich”. The minimum wage, solidarity surcharge, inheritance and wealth tax remain stumbling blocks, however, which can be partially, but not completely, “offset”.

In terms of climate policy, the Greens have already made a clear commitment to emissions trading and to the FDP's hydrogen line, which is a more liberal course than before.

The FDP, on the other hand, is certainly not sacrificing its status as a rule of law party on the altar of the market economy in view of the Karlsruhe climate ruling.

Here, too, the following applies: The SPD will have difficulty jumping on the bandwagon that will get the Greens and FDP rolling.

What connects both parties has always been a liberal to libertarian concept of freedom, which often propagates the same goal, but diametrically opposed methods.

In the recent past, this has resulted in both parties presenting themselves as the poles of bourgeois milieus.

The respective electorate reflects these differences.

This can be clearly seen in the success of both parties among young voters. Some vote green because they see their freedom threatened by climate change and expect state intervention to protect them; the others vote liberally because they see their freedom threatened by such interventions and honor the fact that the FDP criticized state attacks during the pandemic.

Traditionally, both directions came together in the state-critical engagement for civil rights and equality. Data protection, freedom on the internet, eavesdropping, protection of minorities, lowering the voting age, cannabis are keywords that blur green and yellow. The strongest bond of a traffic light coalition would therefore be social policy. Here, too, the SPD is not the original, but the FDP and the Greens are the pacemakers. Their cooperation benefits from the fact that politics in this area is not understood as a common good, but as an addition of the interests of minorities.

The heterogeneity that lies in this is at the same time the greatest challenge for a bourgeois understanding of politics, economy and society.

In a traffic light coalition, only part of this spectrum would come together, while the part that is missing, the Union, threatens to divide itself precisely on this understanding.

The end of the Merkel era therefore points much more than its beginning in one direction: into the open.

Keywords: spd, fdp, coalition, greens, the greens, explorations, bandwagon, each other, hand, traffic light coalition, parties, heterogeneity, handshake, building, role