I used to describe German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a political cockroach. That title is now firmly in the hands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
No, I think Merkel is more cat than cockroach. And it is 2018 that has shown me the light on this.
Earlier this year, Merkel somehow was able to avoid a second election by finally getting the Social Democrats (SPD) to sign a mutual suicide pact in the form of a new Grand Coalition. This ensured a cartel-style government reigns in Germany to do the bidding of further European Union integration which fewer and fewer people want.
The results of this have been catastrophic for the former dominant parties of Germany. SPD continues to slide into minor party status, with recent polling now putting them behind five-year old Alternative for Germany (AfD) nationally, 16% vs. 18.5% in a recent poll by Die Welt.
But, it’s not just the SPD that continues to hemorrhage support. Merkel’s own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is now below 25% nationally, since its coalition with the Christian Social Union (CSU) now has the support from less than 30% of Germans nationally.
CSU is usually good for around 8-9% of that total, but their support in Bavaria is down below 40%, dropping to 35% as of last month’s poll numbers. So, on the eve of Bavarian state elections in just over a week, all of the mainstay parties are seeing their bases eroding.
Honestly, the only thing keeping Merkel in power at this point is that there is so little consensus among German voters that even a new election wouldn’t solve the problem. Add to that the desert of the real which is the CDU’s potential replacement for her, and we have the current stifling status quo.
The longer I cover this story the more I hear from German voters, some hostile, some very, very helpful. But what has come to me recently has been the poll numbers for opposition parties like AfD are under-stated because of real fear of political retribution.
Germany’s anti-hate speech laws are being used to arrest people for being politically incorrect. From last year’s GDPR to the latest rules on sharing memes, the clamp down on speech critical of the political status quo in Europe is happening quickly.
And the question that I have is how is this affecting the polls? When I see an interview like this one I have to wonder how many ‘closet AfD voters’ there are in Germany like there were ‘closet Trump voters’ in the U.S. in 2016?
Because if there are a significant number then we will likely see quite an upside surprise for AfD in Bavaria’s elections on the 14th. And that could be the catalyst to nudge AfD into the twenties nationally and begin openly challenging Merkel’s own CDU in the polls.
Part of the dynamic in ‘crossing the 16% chasm’ in for any new movement, be it a technology or political party, is the shift in branding from just an honest protest against the current market leader to something the community is comfortable wearing as a personal label, in this case a “former CDU voter” and now a proud “AfD voter.”
This plays in to the unfolding political crisis that isn’t on the horizon anymore for Germany. It is here. There are no less than five parties with double-digit support.
Merkel is losing support within her own party. She is being challenged on the world stage by everyone. She has survived multiple attacks on her Chancellorship, expending political lives like the proverbial cat.
But, she is able to get away with this because none of the major political players in Germany want Merkel overthrown anymore than they are willing to form a coalition government with AfD in the event of another vote if Merkel is finally removed from power.
So, the status quo will likely remain until there is another galvanizing event which enflames German passions like what sparked the multi-week protests in Chemnitz last month.
And that, as I said in an article on my blog earlier this week, could have catastrophic effects on the state of broader European politics and the slowly-unfolding sovereign debt crisis.
Italy is in open-revolt, its bond market is collapsing quickly while its leaders spar with EU finance ministers over austerity and budgets.
A weakened, if not terminally wounded, Merkel will not be in a position to assist in maintaining the status quo. How can Merkel present a united front to Italy along with the other members of the Troika – the IMF and the European Central Bank – if a wave of nationalism is gripping Germany?
And this wave of nationalism goes beyond opposition to Merkel’s immigration policy. Germans don’t want to pay to bail out Italy or anyone else either. This is why Merkel has always played for time on Southern Europe’s debt problems.
It’s political suicide back home, but the only real solution for the Euro-zone is either consolidation of all debt issuance under one house, nominally the ECB or allow countries who cannot compete against Germany and the rest of the northern European banking centers, to leave the euro.
The latter is anathema to the globalist mindset, especially Merkel’s, so she along with everyone else are tying themselves into ever-tighter Gordian knots and eventually the euro-zone will break.
All we are waiting on now is the catalyst. And at that point, Mutti Merkel runs out of lives.