At the conclusion of 2013's (September) German national election....I developed four basic scenarios for the 2017 election. I know....I'm not a German, nor a intellectual, or rocket-scientist, or gourmet cook....but I know a little bit about German behavior, politics, and how things tend to work.
So scenario one was simple. Merkel does great for four years....steps to the side...a new CDU member steps up and basically does great at the polls (40-percent) because the SPD is still regarded as a second-rate political party, and everyone is happy over the booming economy.
Scenario two was basically one step off....where Merkel's chosen CDU successor would run into trouble.....like a stupid thesis episode or some sexual scandal, and some shocker CDU guy would emerge and again produce a near 40-percent win in the polls.
Scenario three was a radical one. The Linke Party and Green Party would produce enough NSA/Snowden issues....that the CDU could not possibly win. You would find four parties basically splitting out ninety-percent of the vote, but none of them more than 25-percent. The SPD would essentially win but have to really depend on a partnership with at least the Green Party, and maybe even the Linke Party.
Scenario four was a creative deal. Merkel would be talked to stay around and run for another term, with the idea that she'd win....then retire a year later....and let some CDU player serve out the remaining three years to help establish themselves.
So, in recent weeks....with public sentiment shifting in Germany and the refugee/immigration episode becoming the only significant thing that political parties will be able to connect to the general public....I've come to scenario #5. It's a very dark and woeful-like election period with Germans asking stupid questions that the state-run news media won't answer and the general political players simply grin and say little to nothing.
In my scenario #5, neither Merkel or any character from the CDU can recover from the current CDU-fall. The SPD finds itself with a marginal public standing over their position and the agreeable nature that they were for allowing immigration to occur.
The Greens? Their attempt to use NSA/Snowden issues fall flat. Tons of effort are used by the state-run news media to talk about this.....which generates only two things. Five-percent of the CDU voters are turned off entirely because of the connection of Merkel and the NSA, and the bulk of Germany society really don't care period for any of this. The Greens get no pick-up because of this tactic, and the news media can't understand why the pubic doesn't buy their arguments.
The Linke Party? They actually pick up more voters....mostly disinterested SPD voters. They surprise everyone with almost twenty-five percent of the national vote.
So, the shocker....AfD talks negative against Merkel gains public sentiment. As much as the state-run news media attacks AfD and talks down about Petry (their front-runner).....the public slowly become anti-state-run news. The public doesn't believe them, and the "lying press" theme by AfD gains momentum. Social media plays a major part of the 2017 election because of the control efforts of ARD/ZDF. At some point, fifty-percent of German society says they don't trust ARD/ZDF (the state-run TV folks).
AfD comes out with thirty-seven-percent of the national vote, with the CSU of Bavaria coming up with almost ten-percent. By the time you throw out the less-than-five-percent-players....a workable relationship can occur with AfD and CSU....giving just enough votes of the six total parties allowed into the Bundestag.
The state-run news media sits there in absolute shock on election night....having used every trick, every poll, every commentator, and every negative possible.....to hinder AfD. And in the end....there is this belief by the public that the press became a bigger problem than the politics of the whole immigration or refugee episode.
A new era opens up after this AfD and CSU government comes into power. Oddly....they want to redo the governing board of state-run TV and they want a few things changed.....the TV tax decreased, and suddenly the general public (not the intellectual crowd who huffs up on state-run TV) really get happy about them cutting costs and taxes. State-run TV news suddenly finds itself having to explain why they sleep with so many different political players and were so negative in the election period. A dozen-odd moderators and commentators retire by spring of 2018....unable to work in this environment.
Germans sit there in a bit of confusion....having seen roughly sixty-percent of the nation vote against AfD and the CSU....and find that it really didn't matter.....nor did the accusations of NSA/Snowden really do much except hurt the overall election....and the CDU could never recover from the Merkel fall from grace.
How realistic is scenario #5? You would to have a minimum of six things occur....neatly and in a tidy fashion....for this shocker of an election to occur. If you'd said three years ago that immigration would be the number one topic of 2017's election.....we all would have laughed. If you'd said that NSA/Snowden would end up being some real issue....we all would have laughed. So in my humble opinion.....two of those weird six things have already occurred.
Might this be interpreted as a repeat of 1932? You go and read the whole text of the 1932 German election and be the judge yourself. It really didn't seem likely in the late 1920s that Germany would fall into a political pit and be unable to go anywhere without this minor political party in Bavaria suddenly emerging and talking about what the public wanted to hear. Well, you kinda feel the same environment falling into place today.
Just my two cents of humble observations.