Angela Merkel is on her way out. Meet her potential replacements

Angela Merkel is on her way out. Meet her potential replacements

After a decade and a half in power, Angela Merkel is on her way out as Germany’s chancellor. But who will follow, and when?

Merkel’s tenure has largely been defined by her calm, cautious nature—characteristics that have made Germany an oasis of stability in a Europe that is undergoing an identity crisis. Those same traits have also opened her up to accusations of indecisiveness and lack of ambition on the part of the continent’s most powerful nation.

So, it is time for both Merkel and Germany to move on. Federal elections are planned for 2021; she decided in 2018 that she would step down at that point. She resigned as leader of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, which narrowly chose as her successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, known popularly as AKK or, somewhat ungenerously, “Mini-Merkel.”

But now AKK won’t be the CDU’s candidate next year either. Following a year of stumbles, she was finally undone this month by a political firestorm in which the CDU in the state of Thuringia entered a tacit alliance with the increasingly prominent, far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. AKK tried to get the state’s CDU party to change its mind but was rebuffed, and Merkel was forced to remotely enforce party discipline during a state visit to South Africa. Her authority in tatters, AKK quit.

Here’s a rundown of the likely candidates for Merkel’s (and now AKK’s) successor as the face of German conservatism—and quite possibly the next chancellor of Germany.

The centrist: Armin Laschet

Like all four of the top names in the frame for CDU leadership, Armin Laschet (59) hails from North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. Following a spell in journalism, he served as a member of Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, then went on to become a member of the European Parliament. For the last few years, he has been head of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament.

Like AKK, Laschet represents broad continuity from the Merkel era—if anything, he is slightly to the left of the chancellor, who is already more liberal than most in her party.

When Merkel’s government was losing patience with Athens during the Greek debt crisis, Laschet’s was a prominent voice warning against forcing Greece out of the European Union. He was also a strong supporter of Merkel when, in 2015, she made the momentous decision to open Germany’s borders to a million Syrian refugees—a morally-driven move that, though it never caused the chaos that some predicted, fueled the AfD’s march from a fringe anti-euro party to an anti-immigrant juggernaut.

Laschet is pro-immigration. In fact, he wrote a book arguing that it was necessary to counteract a growing shortage of skilled workers in Germany. He is also seen as friendly with the Greens, who are currently polling second after the CDU and could well be part of the next government. If Laschet wins, the CDU might stop losing centrist voters to the Greens.

Laschet is however conscious of the fact that people want change after the Merkel era. “I understand that this chancellorship was influenced by crises, but it would be nice if we entered a new era in which Germany sets its own impulses,” he said in late 2018. And this week he surprised some observers by criticizing Merkel for dragging her heels on the issue of EU reform. Laschet wants Germany to assume more financial responsibility in Europe than the Merkel administration has been willing to countenance.

The nemesis: Friedrich Merz

Merkel didn’t become chancellor by accident. Her ascent involved power struggles, and the most prominent casualty in those tussles was Friedrich Merz. Like Laschet, Merz (64) served in both the European Parliament and the Bundestag. But, several years after Merkel dashed his dreams of taking over the CDU, he quit politics for the life of a corporate lawyer.

Merz is the anti-Merkel: blunt where she is hard-to-read, and confrontational where she aims for consensus. She is famed for her modest lifestyle, while he—a multi-millionaire thanks to his role as chairman of BlackRock’s German asset-management unit and work for U.S. law firm Mayer Brown—owns not one, but two private jets. Germans are not generally keen on conspicuous wealth, which was one reason Merz lost out (by a small margin) to AKK in the last race for CDU leadership.

A fiscal conservative, Merz has proposed giving half of Germany’s $53 billion reserves back to its people in the form of tax cuts, and has advocated for massive simplification of Germany’s labyrinthine tax system.

On immigration, Merz is very much to the right of Merkel and Laschet. He was a vocal critic of Merkel’s refugee decision, and outraged liberals and the left by saying in 2000 that anyone coming to Germany should conform to its culture.

In a Trump-esque flourish, he this week decided to make an enemy of the German press by saying politicians do not need journalists anymore, thanks to social media. Merz is also very socially conservative. He has made what were perceived as chauvinistic jokes, and in 1997 he voted against the criminalization of marital rape. In 2001, when asked for his opinion on Berlin having a gay mayor (Klaus Wowereit), Merz replied: “As long as he doesn’t approach me, I don’t care.”

Merz has made some attempt to win over more than his party’s right wing—he recently described Merkel as “a kind of role model.” Nonetheless, a Merz victory would be seen as an attempt by the CDU to win back voters who have defected to the AfD. “Friedrich Merz is someone who speaks plainly,” said the prominent actor and director Til Schweiger this week. “If anyone can come to grips with the rise of the AfD, it’s him.”

The rising star: Jens Spahn

At 39, Jens Spahn is by far the youngest potential leader of the CDU. As such, he would represent generational change—but his direction would be unclear.

When he last took a shot at the top spot in 2018, Spahn was seen very much as a candidate of the right. Like Merz, he has deployed the loaded phrase “Leitkultur” (a reference to the “leading” German culture) and was critical of the refugee influx of 2015, saying the following year that it “cannot be allowed to be repeated.”

But recent years have seen a significant softening of Spahn’s image. As Germany’s health minister, he has become a popular figure with a reputation for competence. Conscious of the Greens appealing to the CDU’s “bourgeois flank,” Spahn has warned against the CDU shifting further to the right. And in an opinion piece for the U.K.’s left-leaning Guardian last year, he proposed what he called a “weltoffener patriotismus.”

Weltoffen is tricky to translate into English,” he wrote. “It roughly means being open-minded towards the world, open to new ideas and cultures. Weltoffener patriotismus does not make divisions based on ethnicity, but defines clear premises based on which everybody can join.”

Given his age, Spahn might be tempted to wait until the next battle for CDU leadership before trying his luck again—like Merz and Laschet, he is yet to formally announce his candidacy in this round.

The surprise: Norbert Röttgen

In fact, at the time of writing only one person has thrown his hat in the ring, and it’s not a name that commentators were expecting before his Tuesday announcement.

Chair of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, Norbert Röttgen (54) used to be Merkel’s environment minister until she abruptly fired him in 2012. It was Röttgen who, in the wake of the Fukishima disaster, announced the government’s intention to shutter all of Germany’s nuclear power plants by 2022.

Like Merz, Röttgen is a strong Atlanticist, serving on the board of the Atlantic Bridge organization that seeks to promote strong U.S.-German ties. He is also keen on beefing up Germany’s often-timid foreign policy, in particular advocating a tougher stance on Russia—Röttgen is no fan of the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Röttgen has also opposed the CDU party line on the issue of Huawei’s participation in Germany’s 5G networks, siding more (to no avail) with the U.S.’s hawkish position that the Chinese company cannot be trusted.

The wildcard: Markus Söder

One more name is worth briefly mentioning: Markus Söder, the head of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Söder (53) is obviously not going to be the next CDU leader. However, there is an outside chance that he could become the next conservative candidate for chancellor. At the federal level, the two parties operate under the joint banner of The Union. There hasn’t been a CSU candidate for chancellor since Edmund Stoiber in 2002, but it could theoretically happen again.

Söder’s main contribution to the current CDU leadership contest has been to order his party to stay out of it. However, he does want the CSU to influence The Union’s selection of its next candidate for chancellor.

His suggestion that the two roles are separable is at odds with the consensus in the CDU—AKK blamed her own woes on the fact that she only had half of Merkel’s authority, being party leader but not chancellor. But in making that suggestion, Söder also may have thrown Merkel a lifeline.

Merkel is only supposed to step down in 2021, ahead of the federal elections, but AKK’s experience has amplified the voices calling for her to go sooner rather than later—a development that would mean elections this year instead of next. Either way, the CDU’s selection of a polarizing figure such as Merz would probably lead to the collapse of The Union’s coalition with the center-left Social Democrats, again triggering imminent elections.

So this is set to be either a tumultuous year for Germany, ushering in a new coalition, or a year of policy paralysis under Merkel’s lame-duck stewardship. Whatever happens, it should be a characteristically lively period in German politics.

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—Can you catch it twice? Answers to 5 pressing coronavirus questions
—These are the Democratic candidates who qualify for the next debate so far
—John Legere will be remembered as one of the greatest turnaround stories of all time
—Bernard Arnault was briefly the world’s richest man. Then coronavirus struck
—WATCH: Why CEOs are pessimistic about 2020 business outlook

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Small Business Finance Success Improves With Realistic Options

The goal of being realistic when seeking new commercial loans and working capital financing will help commercial borrowers avoid a number of commercial finance problems. With proper preparation business owners should be in a better position to obtain new financing despite the difficult challenges impacting most working capital loans and small business financing. Nevertheless it should be anticipated that terms of financing will be different from prior commercial financing. Because of recent commercial lending difficulties, business owners actively assessing the most effective options for their small business finance decisions are likely to find the smoothest path to business loan success.

In view of volatile conditions which have recently impacted credit markets, this will not be a simple task. A very common example of the problem is illustrated by how much misinformation and confusion there has been about business financing and working capital availability. Getting more accurate information about what is realistically possible can be one of the most difficult challenges for commercial borrowers.

When seeking to identify realistic choices in a confusing working capital management climate, a number of harsh realities must be confronted by all small business owners. For most current commercial financing decisions by business owners, there are several major factors to anticipate. In the first example, additional small business loan collateral is being requested by most commercial lenders. Second, many regional and local banks have discontinued lending for business financing and working capital. In a third example, businesses which are not currently profitable or not current in their debt payments will have extensive difficulties. Fourth, business construction funding currently is very limited in most areas. In a fifth example, lenders are eliminating unsecured business lines of credit for most small business owners.

Despite the new business financing limitations just noted, there are practical working capital options for small business owners to consider. An increasingly effective commercial financing option in the midst of an uncertain economy is a merchant cash advance program based on credit card processing activity. Even though this commercial funding option has been available for a few years, it has not been used by most small businesses. For most businesses which accept credit cards, merchant cash advances should be evaluated as an important tool for improving business cash flow. Small business owners wanting to pursue this financing option should consult a business financing expert who is knowledgeable about this working capital management approach as well as other small business loans.

Even though working capital loans are not as widely available as they were just a few months ago, this kind of small business financing is still in fact obtainable. Since some of the largest providers have stopped making these business loans, the main change for business borrowers is the likelihood that they will be dealing with a different commercial lender. Small business owners will benefit from finding an experienced and candid business financing expert to assist in evaluating realistic options because the most effective working capital financing providers are not aggressively marketing this capability.

As stressed above, when making commercial financing decisions it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to first determine their effective business finance funding options. Because of recent volatility in financial markets, this task is likely to be much more difficult than most commercial borrowers realize. It is advisable to explore commercial finance options that might be necessary if economic conditions change even further even for business owners who are satisfied with their current working capital financing arrangements. The use of Plan B contingency financing is an important tool to assist commercial borrowers in this process.

Internet Marketing Promotion and Advertising, Build a Successful Online Career

Online marketing is encircled by facts.

Online marketing is encircled by specifics that every single aspiring online entrepreneur will need to understand. Whilst you have noticed multiple accomplishment stories regarding people who succeeded and gained thousands to millions of dollars by using Digital marketing, they are also bounded by these information existing round the market.

Effective Marketers have spent more than a few years to perfect their marketing approaches.

Initially, exactly like the common business investment, you are not able to make a lot of money immediately on Website advertising. Effective Online marketers have put in many years to perfect their advertising tactics. They have started from learning the ‘ins and outs’ of the business chance, used existing plans, developed their personal marketing approaches, and check their brand-new tactics to their marketing business. Though Website marketing provides a profitable business chance for everybody, it requires a while prior to you could generate millions of dollars because of Online marketing. You will begin from some hundreds and soon after many months or years, you will be capable to gain thousands of dollars on Digital marketing income.

Your competitors will usually be your competitors.

There are situations wherein they uses you for their benefit. Obviously, we do not need to damage friendships here, yet it is a truth that you will need to be cautious of. You can easily work together with other Web marketers, but you have to make sure that you are not working with hungry predators or those who will never work with your generosity for their benefit of generating even more money.

Obtaining full potential customers is the most difficult element of your Website marketing profession.

Keep in mind that the achievement of your Website marketing business depends on the easiest way you will catch the attention of likely clients originating from the bulk of traffic available the Net. Even if you have a practical site with beneficial facilities just like info catalogs and shopping cart services, on one occasion you did not draw in substantial website traffic toward your site, your Online marketing business will be of total catastrophe.

Amongst the above mentioned details, the previous one is what you require think of most. As earlier mentioned, the achievement of your Digital marketing career depends upon just how you build your customers base. Many of these clientele base will act as your bloodline that could keep your marketing career surviving. With out them, the Website marketing industry will remain to be a dream for folk who wish to make more money.

You need to study the whereabouts of Online marketing promotion and advertising.

If you want to catch the attention of probable customers and convert them in to faithful product evangelizers, you will need to study the whereabouts of Digital marketing promotion and advertising. Promoting and advertising your Online marketing is vital to your web page and to your career too. Throughout these plans, you will probably be able to entice encouraged persons who are ready to buy what ever you are providing. Taking time to develop some hype regarding your internet site will keep them returning and produce an interesting impression to those persons who haven’t got a try of your products or services.

Promotion and advertising will certainly help you secure the particular traffic.

Promotion and advertising will assist you to acquire the targeted traffic that you desire in the early run of your Digital marketing career. Actually, the expense of promoting and advertising your internet site on the Net is not as costly as advertising your products and services throughout standard ways including billboards and classified ads of diverse newspapers. Even if you do not have that significant marketing budget, you can still publicize and advertise your site using different alternative and low-cost promotional solutions.

Features of a great Website marketing promotion and advertising.

Have a look on the following items and ensure that your promotion and advertising methods have these features:

• It have to have a long-lasting influence.

Do not only employ an advertising medium once and dispose of it. Discover methods on the best way you will be able to use it for different times. You might use a comparable strategy on each advertising tool and generate client understanding with the marketing instrument and also the product or service you are marketing. Think about some effective promotions and advertisement which include for Energizer batteries and others.

• An successful Online marketing promotion and advertising have variants.

Do not merely stay with a solo ad format. Switch the color, text, and the message of your advertisements but do not adjust its characteristic character. The modifications have to be carried out in the consideration of a lengthy lasting ad result. Do not hesitate to check out fresh choices. If you believe these innovative suggestions will help you enhance and advertise your Digital marketing business efficiently, then do it. The even more you expand your promotion and advertising attempts, you will be able to be successful in your Website marketing business career.

Best Free Money-Making Applications

Well, with the upgrade in technology everything has changed over the years with the applications being invented in play store that can be used from banking to handling the bills through the smartphone. Whereas making the app for the mobile phone is very difficult because it requires a lot of techniques and programs to invent an application and extract the money through it. So, you can earn the money by registering yourself in the application. Also, you can earn real money by completing the tasks that are given in the application business and even get to know more about how to earn money apps. Below are the best free money-making applications.

Money App

Image result for Money App

The money application is a market research application where you can earn your rewards by completing tasks that include offering opinions, playing games, checking store displays, mystery shopping, testing services and even participating in free trials.  The advantage of this application is that you can get paid within two to three working days of redeeming rewards.


The iPoll application is a customized market research application that allows you to earn money by taking market surveys, writing down diaries and even completing missions around retail. While registering there will ask for some basic information such as your preferences and consumer habits for determining your missions. Even you will receive new missions that are available based on your preferences and location.


Image result for Swagbucks

You can make money as soon as you sign up for Swagbucks with a $10 sign-up bonus. This market research application will allow you to create points by taking surveys, shopping online or playing games and things you can do as you wait in line or have some downtime on your commute. Even you can also earn points by watching videos and Swagbucks can be the ideal application on how to earn money apps.


Slidejoy will pay its users for their lock screens and once the application is installed on the phone then you can start seeing various ads featuring news or advertisers on the lock screen.  You can swipe left to learn more, swipe up for additional ads or swipe right for the home screen. So, you can get more money by depending upon how many times you unlock the phone.

The above applications are the ideal ones to make money when you thinking about how to earn money apps. Hope that I have covered all the topics in my article about the best free money-making applications. Thanks for reading!

Republican candidate Joe Walsh drops out of 2020 presidential race

Republican candidate Joe Walsh drops out of 2020 presidential race

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh ended his Republican primary challenge to President Donald Trump on Friday, abandoning an effort that faced long odds and financial struggles from the start.

“I’m suspending my campaign, but our fight against the Cult of Trump is just getting started. I’m committed to doing everything I can to defeat Trump and his enablers this November.” Walsh said in a tweet.

Walsh had cast his ballot for Trump in 2016 and declared he would be “grabbing his musket” if the Republican Trump lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton. But Walsh eventually soured on Trump, deriding him as “nuts,” “cruel” and “incompetent.” He has also acknowledged that he helped “create” Trump through his own brand of “personal, ugly politics.”

The tea party favorite turned radio talk show host became Trump’s second 2020 primary challenger when he announced his candidacy in August, saying the incumbent was unfit for office and must be denied a second term. He presented himself as a conservative choice for people who were fed up with the chaos of the Trump era. Brimming with confidence over his campaign prospects, Walsh declared, “I think this thing … will catch on like wildfire.”

But Walsh faced fundraising hurdles and obstacles from the Republican Party from the start. A number of state parties canceled their primaries and other nominating contests in an effort to protect Trump from the fate of George H.W. Bush, the last one-term president who faced a serious primary challenger and subsequently lost his reelection bid. Last year, the Republican National Committee issued a nonbinding resolution to declare the party’s undivided support for Trump.

Walsh also failed to get his name on the ballot in some states, including Vermont, Mississippi and Walsh’s home state of Illinois.

At times, Walsh struggled to differentiate himself as a viable Trump alternative. He courted controversy on social media in the years before his presidential run and was frequently pressed about those comments while on the campaign trail.

“There were some times when I went over the line and said things to be a little too provocative,” Walsh told a crowd at a college convention in New Hampshire in January.

Walsh’s singular campaign focus was criticizing Trump. He was often quick to ridicule former South Carolina congressman Mark Sanford for making fiscal conservatism the crux of his 2020 Republican presidential candidacy during his brief time in the race.

“This isn’t about the debt and this isn’t about tariffs and it’s not about any issue,” Walsh said when Sanford ended his run in November. “Trump’s unfit. It’s an emergency, and that’s the only reason you get into a primary against a sitting president.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—2020 candidates’ positions, and records, on economic issues that affect women
—How a company with 120 Facebook likes ended up at the center of the Iowa caucus firestorm
—Europe’s refugee crisis is getting worse—for these children
—Fortune Explains: The debt ceiling
—America’s young voters could sway 2020 results. What will it take to get them to the polls?

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3 Dangerous Thought Patterns That Can Destroy Your Business

Many people desire to go into business for themselves but few individuals actually do. And those who do, 6 out of 10 of them fail within the first five years. Why are these businesses failing? I’ll expose 3 dangerous thought patterns that can destroy your business and how to overcome them.

#1: Doing What You Want To Do Without A Clear Vision

A lot of people, who go into business for themselves are an expert in his or her craft. Unfortunately, most of them set themselves up for failure because, they start doing what they know to do and ignore the rest. These businesses begin operating according to the wants of the owner as opposed to the needs of the business.

It is this dangerous thought pattern that dooms their business before it even begins, and the reason is simply this:

  • The owner is so focused on doing what they’re an expert at, that they neglect working on what the business needs.
  • They have no vision for where the business is going or strategy for progress.

It is vitally important that you develop a compelling vision, values, purpose and mission for your business that gives you the clarity and fortitude to withstand the ups and downs that any business will inevitably have.

#2: Doing Business From An Employee’s Perspective

In the beginning, you can do whatever your business needs you to do. But, after some time, you find yourself doing not only the work you know how to do, but all of the difficult stuff you don’t know how to do as well. Then, ever so slowly, you realize there’s more work to do than you can possibly get done.

There’s nothing wrong with being an expert in your craft. There’s only something wrong with being an expert crafts-person who owns a business without changing this dangerous thought pattern! Because:

  • As an expert crafts-person turned business-owner, your focus is upside down. You see the world from the bottom up, from an employee’s perspective, rather than from the top down, from an entrepreneur’s perspective.
  • You were so used to working in somebody else’s business that, now, you’re working in your own.
  • But, while you’re working in your own business, there’s something more important that isn’t getting done. And it’s the strategic work, the implementation of systems that will lead your business forward, so you can live the dream you’ve envisioned.

If you want to have a viable business and not work yourself to death with this dangerous thought pattern, you must be able to make growth systematic and predictable. You need to think of a business as a series of systems that will lead to growth.

#3: Having a Tactical View Rather Than a Strategic View

When a business owner is focused on working in their business rather than on it, they become unclear of their priorities and try using every tactic they can get their hands on to bring in the income they desperately need. They impulsively try the latest trend or newest technique hoping it will work.

Well, in business, hope and guessing are not tactics. Having this dangerous thought pattern is not how you operate a successful business! You must have specific objectives or some way to measure whether that tactic is working or not.

You need to use a Vision-Based Framework to help you get the clarity, direction and focus your business needs to go forward. It helps you filter out distractions and use the right tactics that are in alignment with your business’s vision and strategic plan.

This is so important because, what your business is about is more important than what you’re selling.

As long as you have the dangerous thought pattern of viewing your business from a bottom up perspective, you are doomed.

Understanding the difference between what goes on in an expert crafts-person’s mind who owns a business, the mindset of an entrepreneur whose focus is on building and growing a successful business, and the 3 dangerous thought patterns that can destroy your business, is critical to discovering why most businesses don’t thrive and ensuring that yours does.