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A Rebuke to Merkel

Spain can’t elect a government. Italy’s government is weak and challenged by the populist Five Star Movement. Britain is rushing for the exits. In France the National Front is becoming entrenched as a major force on the political scene. Poland’s ruling party is challenging basic EU norms. Among the big countries of the EU, only Germany has avoided the rise of a radical populist opposition.

This weekend, that appears to have changed. Reuters:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats fell to third place in a state election on Sunday behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, TV exit polls showed.

In a stinging defeat for Merkel one year ahead of parliamentary elections, the upstart AfD won 21 percent of the vote in their first election in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state by campaigning hard against the chancellor’s policies on refugees, according to an exit poll by the ARD TV network.

The SPD, which has ruled the rural state on the Baltic coast with the CDU as junior coalition partners since 2006, won 30.5 percent of the vote, down from 35.6 percent in the last election in 2011. The CDU won 19 percent, down from 23 percent in 2011, and its worst result ever in the state, the broadcaster said.

This result may not put the AfD in government. If need be, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats may band together with the Greens (who appear to have won 5 percent of the vote) to keep the AfD out.

Still, this strong showing for the AfD will reverberate across Germany and across Europe. It will be taken as a sign everywhere that Angela Merkel’s “welcome” to refugees from Syria and elsewhere carries a heavy electoral cost. It will encourage populist and anti-immigrant parties from Greece to the Netherlands. And it will open the possibility that the Merkel era could be moving toward an end.

It’s also a grim reminder is that the biggest problem Europe faces isn’t the problems that grab the headlines like the euro problem and the migration problem. The biggest problem is that Europe’s institutions and political leaders seem unable to solve any of the problems that assail it. The perception that the establishment is floundering and that the Union has lost its way is steadily gaining ground.

The big winner in this is Vladimir Putin, who will see every vote for AfD (and the far-left Die Linke, coming in at 12.5 percent) as another blow against a weakening EU consensus. Putin wants to see Germany and Brussels fail to make the European Union work, bringing incoherence to European politics and further weakening NATO—an alliance that has taken more hits and lost more ground under President Obama than under any president since Harry Truman got it started.

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  • Observe&Report

    Congratulations to the AfD and to hell with Merkel. This is another victory against a bloated, sclerotic, and antidemocratic EU that is long beyond saving; trying to spin the AfD’s impressive showing as a bad thing on the grounds that it supposedly benefits Putin won’t change that.

  • panarchist

    CDU fell by 4% in a former East German state. Hardly a politically ground shattering event. The result will be the same coalition with the junior partner becoming senior and vice versa. Eventually, the immigrants will gain the right to vote and will balance the shift to the right. Nobel to Merkel!

    • Beauceron

      “Eventually, the immigrants will gain the right to vote and will balance the shift to the right.”

      And if you can bring in even more, you can completely swamp the right and gain a permanent electoral majority!

      • panarchist

        Exactly. When minorities and immigrants save the United States from Fascism in the coming elections, the Democrats should guarantee American democracy by giving them a path to citizenship before the 2020 elections to swamp the Fascist vote.

        • Beauceron

          Exactly! We’re on the same page here. The only way to save america from the neo-Nazi white supremacists is to transform them into a richer, more diverse society– by force if necessary. It’s such a struggle living in a country where these racist hicks just don’t have the brain power to understand we know what’s best for them. But pretty soon we’ll have reached a tipping point and what they think won’t matter anyway. Haha!

          • panarchist

            No force necessary, just let whomever wants to come here to work, come. It is much cheaper to get out of the way like in the gilded age of this country before the First World War. Reduce the size of the federal government by cutting border controls and let everybody live together. Just get out of the way of people who want to work, especially Mexicans, hard working, family oriented, good food, happy people, not arrogant, not racist, no terror, the more Mexicans the better.

          • Beauceron

            Yeah! After all, Mexico is such a peaceful, happy place! I’m just worried we won’t be able to entice enough of them away from their mesoamerican paradise to make the demographic change necessary to smash the white colonialist oppressors. Some of them tend to get a little lippy, so to be realistic we have to prepare to use some force.

          • panarchist

            Not really. The same economic forces that helped us obtain the Irish and Italian and Polish immigrants will bring in the Mexicans. True, Poland was more oppressed, Ireland more violent, and Italy more lawless than Mexico, but if we are extra nice and welcoming, we may convince some of our southern neighbors to join us and pay for our social security that with current demographics will go bankrupt before some of us plan to retire.

          • Beauceron

            “we may convince some of our southern neighbors to join us and pay for our social security”

            I agree, comrade!

            Of course, we won’t have jobs for our New American friends and won’t need them to work. Most of the low wage work they do will be done by computers, software and robots. But we should welcome them into the bosom of our welfare system. We need them here to vote, not to work!!


          • panarchist

            Economic migrants, by definition, come to work. If there is no work, they will not come. This is why immigration from the South has declined since the recession.

          • Beauceron

            Then they’re not economic migrants, just migrants dreaming of a better life– which can come from government assistance as well as work. We need them here to vote to wipe out oppressive white domination, not to work. Actually, immigration from the south has increased dramatically. Your information is simply incorrect. While we’ve seen a bit of slowing from Mexico, immigration has increased from central america.

            “The nation’s immigrant (foreign-born) population, which includes legal and illegal immigrants, grew by 4.1 million from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2015 — 1.7 million in just the last year.

            Immigrants are 13.3 percent of the nation’s total population — the largest share in 105 years. ”



          • panarchist

            That’s an entirely different statistic that includes legal immigrants and immigrants from all over the globe. Including most significantly job creating high tech types from Asia. The percentage of immigrants per population in Canada is higher and four millions over five years is puny just over one percent of the population. Economic growth in the gilded age was higher than today because immigrants come to work at prime age, require less welfare, pay more taxes, are more entrepreneurial and less criminal than native populations. They do need housing and durable goods when they move and so kick-start the economy. If we could only get fifty million immigrants over the next few years, unemployment will fall to nothing and we’ll have over 5% GDP growth per year as in the gilded age.

          • Beauceron

            But that can’t be right.

            Studies have repeatedly shown that Immigrants use far more welfare than natives.


            We don’t need 50 million more immigrants to come here and work. There are no jobs for them.We need them to come and wipe out white supremacist Amerikkka. I am starting to think you might not be with The Program. Are you a racist?

          • panarchist

            Your statistic does not compare the relative cost of welfare for immigrants vs. natives–total cost of welfare to immigrants divided by their total number, divided by the cost of welfare to natives divided by their number. The statistic does not compute how many immigrants in each ethnic category use how much welfare and for how long; it gives you one time slice. The statistic does not include undocumented immigrants who obviously have reduced access to welfare (e.g. their kids can get school lunches but they do not have access to social security).
            The statistic does demonstrate though the superiority of South Asians who take half as much welfare as Americans. There are a billion or so Indians. Five percent would be hardly noticeable if they immigrate to America and save us from all those Mid-Western drug addicts, welfare moms, laid off manufacturing workers who do not know what else to do and so on. Their food is more tasteful too, which may explain their reluctance to use WIC, SNAP and so on. So, I guess we could agree at least on the cultural if not racial superiority of South Asians.

      • Jim__L

        This is a fascinating exchange. More of the same please, Beauceron. =)

    • Angel Martin

      the left’s real electoral plan. They can no longer get real Germans or real Americans to vote for them, so they want to import their majorities as illegal immigrants from the third world.

      • panarchist

        Nothing new: The left conspired to bring real Germans to real America after the failure of the 1848 leftist revolution in what would become Germany. Following this success, they brought in the Irish, Southern and East Europeans and then the Jews, and it has been going down hill ever since.

        • Angel Martin

          Thank God for the law of unintended consequences !

  • robert franklin stroud

    The EU is a disaster not because of Putin, but because of corrupt and arrogant politicians in the EU that pushed policies against the will of the majority and put their own financial and power interests ahead of the people. The sooner that bloated, undemocratic mess disbands the better.

    • Jim__L

      It could have turned out so well, and it might, if it accepts that rule by an unaccountable international elite beholden only to its own interests is a step backwards to Feudalism, and further accepts that listening to its people (Democracy) is a good thing not a bad thing.

      I still have hope. They have to clean house, but there’s still hope.

  • Andrew Allison

    Both Reuters and TAI neglected to mention the Merkel’s parliamentary constituancy is in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A stinging rebuke indeed.

    • Jim__L

      So she Lost Her Home State, eh? Like Rubio losing Florida, for those who like analogies.

  • longlance

    More tired, tedious, predictable Putin-bashing from the usual suspects. The EU & NATO both should fail, if there is ever any hope for peace and economic prosperity in the world.

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