As the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, Angela Merkel is a bit of a mystery to outsiders. Her pronounced social conservatism is on display voting against same-sex marriage as recently as this year, and her declaration of multiculturalism as a failed experiment, coupled with her constant calls for Europe to decrease is social welfare programs has branded her as a conservative.
Conversely, as a leading figure in European politics, she’s one of the most effective forces curbing the rising tide of populism in Europe. Allowing unparalleled numbers of Syrian refugees into Germany, and successfully standing against Trump in their trade negotiations has ingratiated her among the left. The symbolism of her consistently being named the most powerful woman in the world combined with Trump’s failure to bend the Iron Chancellor’s will has improved her image among feminists.
The increasingly untrustworthy polls indicate she’ll easily reform her current government on September 24th. The leader of the socialist and social justice-championing SPD, Martin Schulz, failed to make meaningful inroads against the Chancellor during their debate – she now has a commanding 14 point lead in most opinion polls.
SEE ALSO: Clamoring for Coalition – the Liberal Alliance to Hope For in the New German Bundestag by Bric Butler
However, an interesting development in this election cycle is the rise of Germany’s first far-right nationalist party since the 1940s – the AfD (Alternative for Germany).
Party founder Alexander Gauland is on the record stating that the Muslim religion “does not belong in Germany” (at the moment of writing, John Cleese is in my mind shouting at me not to mention the war).
Their campaign slogans are “New Germans? We make them ourselves!” and “Burqas? We prefer bikinis”. The party’s message is contrasted starkly with the libertarian belief that one ought to have the freedom to choose either a Burka or a bikini.
The party arose as a response to Merkel’s handling of the Syrian refugee crisis – with a lack of preparedness concerning the influx of 890,000 migrants in 2015 and their assimilation into German society and their adoption of German values. The increased financial burden on social programs amount to over €5 billion and voters are outraged.
The AfD offers state solutions and grandiose class judgments – an anathema to libertarian and individualistic ideals. There are libertarian solutions to the current situation – decreasing the size of the government with social programs and liberating individuals to defend themselves.
At my own attempt at ignoring history – the history that shows the failure of political polling with the exercise missing the landslide victory of Trudeau, along with the upset of Brexit and Trump, I’ll claim the re-election of Merkel is extremely likely. Her opponents have been so ineffectual and her confidence is such that she’s spent much of the campaign on vacation. The true concern is another ignoring of history – the rise of a political party that openly discusses eliminating a religion from Germany.
In 2013 their party garnered 4.7% of the vote – missing out on the 5% threshold to sit in German legislature. In the 2014 European elections they won 7.1% of the vote, granting them 7 out of 96 seats. They are now polling at 12% of the vote. The rise of right-wing statism, ‘don’t tread on me, I’ll tread on you’, the AfD’s ascension to national prominence and their gaining a voice in German federal politics, is the fundamental issue of the election.
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