It’s the day before the German election, and Stefan Liebich, a member of the Bundestag for the far-left Die Linke party, is standing on the sidewalk at a busy intersection, smiling and shaking hands. He has a boombox and an assistant who fills up crimson balloons that say “Really Red”—to differentiate them from the slightly-less-red balloons being inflated by their rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD), who have a similar setup just a few feet away.
Liebich’s casual arrangement seems fitting for someone running for, say, student council in the US, but he’s actually just a few thousand votes from losing his seat in parliament if Die Linke doesn’t garner a large enough percentage in the upcoming election. He says he is “excited” to see whether or not he makes it in.
—Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 2013