Hochsauerland constituency: Church, club life – and Friedrich Merz?

#in the middle

Status: 08.09.2021 3:17 p.m.

In the Hochsauerlandkreis the equation “Conservative = CDU” was valid for a long time. Many people there are still conservative. But the CDU can no longer expect results like in the past – even if it competes there with Friedrich Merz.

By Rupert Wiederwald, WDR

Friedrich Merz greets every village in the Hochsauerlandkreis, his posters are everywhere. He competes “For the country and the people” – at least that’s what the poster says. These posters also hang in Langscheid near Sundern. But at the local “Sports and Games Association 1920 SuS Langscheid / Enkhausen” they don’t have a head for it.

The celebration of the 100th anniversary is literally in danger of falling into the water – and the club’s managing director Markus Trippe looks a little skeptically into the rainy sky. It is pouring, and now the big question is: who will come to the big festival?

After all: the brass band of the music association is already there – and the pastor. Church and club life, these are two of the important pillars in the life of most of the Sauerland people. “That is tradition”. says Trippe and lists the clubs in which he is a member. “We all know each other and we all help each other,” he says, pointing to the visitors who are slowly coming to the sports field despite the rain.

Leaving the sports club out in the rain is not possible. “And if there is still church, then everyone still comes in spite of the rain,” says Trippe with a laugh. When the mass begins, the pastor looks into a full tent. The Sauerland is one of the strongest strongholds of the CDU in Germany. Sauerland equal conservative equal CDU, that was the bill here for a very long time.

Leave the SuS Langscheid / Enkhausen out in the rain? Out of the question for Sauerlanders.

Image: WDR / Rupert Wiederwald

Merz quotes – “they don’t work at all”

But things are also changing in the Sauerland, explains the chairman of SuS Langscheid, Dirk Henneke: “The Sauerland is down-to-earth conservative,” he says, but: “We have many who move to the country, many newcomers – of course that changes something. But the basis is still like this. ” And so the old equation “Conservative = CDU” no longer works for SuS Langscheid / Enkhausen.

The youth departments at the festival are responsible for sausages and beer stands. 17-year-old Tom Zimmer organized it, of course. “It’s tradition, I’m conservative about that.” Friedrich Merz does not go down well with him: “Of course he is also a conservative type, but he has views that young people like me no longer support. For example, on women’s rights, I read quotes from him that do not work. ”

“This is where the CDU is at home”

A few kilometers further in Meschede, the CDU has invited to the start of the election campaign. Merz tries to motivate his supporters in the Meschede rifle hall for the final spurt to the federal election. Merz is from the Sauerland, between 1994 and 2009 he was a member of the Hochsauerlandkreis in Berlin. He himself describes his appearances here as a home game: “We are very rooted here in the population, are present in the clubs, the organizations. That is where the CDU is at home.”

In the 2017 election, CDU candidate Patrick Sensburg had 48 percent of the first votes in the Hochsauerlandkreis, and in earlier elections it was well over 50 percent. But here, too, the days of large majorities for Christian Democrats are over. Therefore CDU man Merz has to call out to his party friends: “We have to get started now: take off, take off, you can only take off against the wind in air traffic. And now we have that!”

# in the middle: Bundestag election – constituency 147 and Friedrich Merz

Rupert Wiederwald, WDR, Tagesthemen, 10:15 p.m., 8.9.2021

“Preservation of creation – that’s conservative”

The entire Hochsauerland district is scenic, but also far from the centers. And yet – or precisely because of this – medium-sized companies have developed here that are considered “hidden champions” – that is, companies that are leaders in their field, unnoticed by the general public.

One of them is the Condensator Dominit. The company builds equipment that factories can use to control voltage fluctuations. Founder Christian Dresel describes himself as “pitch black and conservative in value”. If you talk to him about politics, it sounds very different. The energy transition cannot go fast enough for him. “We have to organize it in such a way that people can see that it brings us prosperity,” he says. “The politicians still believe that one can do this with recipes from the industrial policy of the past 60 years, but that is not possible.”

Dresel has already trimmed the new company headquarters to be largely CO2-neutral, with two e-charging stations in front of the door. Company cars will be operated electrically in the future. “Preservation of creation – that’s conservative,” he says – and laughs.

Company founder Christian Dresel calls himself “pitch black”, but then sounds rather green.

Image: WDR / Rupert Wiederwald

“This is village”

The band at the festival of SuS Langscheid / Enkhausen treats itself to a break and the first beer after the service. It’s still raining, but it doesn’t matter now. Instead, there is now time for what they all appreciate here: standing together, talking, community. “That is tradition, that has grown, that is part of village life,” say Anke Blücher and Melanie Schirp.

The two women play the clarinet in the Musikverein, both from childhood. “That must be continued and passed on to the next generation,” says Schirp. “It’s tradition, but it’s not conservative. It’s village.”

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