It has made a big impact: the video provocatively titled: ‘The Destruction of the CDU‘ by the popular German YouTuber ‘Rezo’ who has incited a heated debate in German politics.
In the space of 55 minutes, the YouTuber, who is mostly known for his comedic content and self-produced songs, harshly criticizes the conservative ‘Christian Democratic Union’, party of Angela Merkel. He talks about the failing climate protection policy, the social inequality in Germany and holds the party responsible for nearly all the negative developments in the country.
Millions of viewers show their support and agree with his harsh words. ‘Thank you for this video’, ‘We need to wake up!’, ‘I have stopped voting for them a while ago’, are just some of the hundreds of thousands of comments which have sparked a discussion. But should the harsh criticism of a young person be acknowledged, even if it is arguably exaggerated and does not show the full picture. And, should an established party with the majority in almost every election listen to a 26-year-old comedy-YouTuber with blue hair?
Yes, is the response of many young people who have watched the video. It currently has over eleven million views and is being covered by all major news outlets in Germany.
The CDU, for their part, has taken too long to react, proving that they are not digitally connected and certainly not connected to young people. The party hasn’t taken him seriously, claiming that his arguments lack foundation and credibility.
But it is not about the accuracy of all the points raised. It is about demonstrating a need for change. The current political direction of established parties in Germany is one that disregards young people. The response of the CDU, discrediting him and ignoring the video, is political self-destruction.
It is reminiscent of a similar situation: the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement — school students protesting for more climate protection in major German cities. A good cause for which many young people raised their voice. But there too the politicians’ reactions came late, largely disregarding the ‘kids’ because they couldn’t understand the complexities of politics. This latest video makes a valid point: young Germans currently do not feel represented or listened to by the ruling parties.
Due to the video going viral just a few days before the European elections, one can appreciate that it has caused some frustration in the government. The CDU appears to be overwhelmed by the criticism and their arrogant approach of ignoring public opinion only worsens the case.
But this development could actually prove to be one of the best things to happen to young people. It shows society that today’s youth are interested in politics and that they do care, contrary to popular belief. Together with the Fridays for Future movement and the general political tensions, this could help raise parties’ concern for young voters. They are interested in politics, angry at current developments, and above all, here to stay.
As well as this, the developments can act as a wake-up call for more established parties. They have to respond, they have to make new promises to change in order to gain the young voters’ trust again. The YouTubers approach of calling the video ‘The destruction of the CDU’ is radical, but necessary. After 14 years of same-party leadership, something needs to rupture to enable positive change.
Over the last few days, the video has been a central topic of discussion for German students — an outlet for their concerns. ‘Finally, someone has said something’, is their political response.
Now, in a time of disruption and just following the European parliamentary vote, political parties need to find a way to handle such criticism more wisely. They need to heed and address the discontented younger voters, preferably with the following message:
‘We listened and we acknowledge your concerns’.
Unfortunately, this current frustration with established parties is also benefiting populists and radicals. Dealing with this problem has now become a tactical minefield. Established parties have to start promising betterment but without appearing hypocritical. They have to find a way to appear sincere, because young voters have finally had enough and do not shy away from making themselves heard.