At the end they stand on the little stage set up on the outskirts of the historic market square of Lübeck and sing the national anthem. Angela Merkel sings robustly, CDU Secretary General Hermann Gröhe moves his lips just a little, and together with the local bigwigs of the party, they look out over a crowd of 2,000, getting up from their little benches. It’s the end of a campaign rally, a rally like no other party in Germany puts on.

Only the Christian Democrats hold on to this national finale tradition. It shows a last spark of the conservative attitude, which used to distinguish the CDU, but has now been quite lost under their leader, Angela Merkel. Some supporters regret that. This public commitment to the country may go some way to reconciling them.

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