N-TV (a German commercialized news TV site) has done a piece on the ongoing discussion within the CSU Party (the Bavarian sister party of the CDU) about breaking away and going national (they currently only play politics in Bavaria based on a hand-shake deal with the CDU who manages conservative politics in the remaining fifteen German states).
Seehofer who leads the CSU in Bavaria has serious arguments with the Merkel immigration policy. He bluntly says that the attraction with the AfD Party will continue and drain support from the CDU (it's already proven with last week's three state election results). I should note....the SPD, Linke Party and Greens are also losing support as well.
If you sat in a German pub and brought up this topic....ninety-nine percent of Germans would say that CSU can only run in Bavaria and would not be much of a national party. These are the same people however who would have said two years ago that no upstart new party could swipe five to fifteen percent of the national vote from the CDU.
There are three issues with the CSU idea of going national....at least in my humble opinion. And there are two plus-points.
Issue One: It's a Bavaria-theme party now and you'd have to remove that distinction. I'm not sure that you can water-down the Bavarian theme. Besides the immigration issues....what else can the CSU market to the voters?
Issue Two: If this line is crossed....the CDU will come into Bavaria and run candidates there. Ten-to-twenty percent of the normal voters for the CSU in Bavaria (their stomping ground) would vote CDU.
Issue Three: Who is this bright young face to lead the CSU nationally? It can't be Seehofer. From the list of the next three possible candidates.....I don't see anyone with fresh and national appeal.
Plus-Point One? Most votes going to the AfD are frustration votes and people simply seeking anyone to confront the Merkel pro-immigration policy. These people would be acceptable of the CSU and the AfD would feel the heat. Instead of a 12-to-20 percent vote in a state for the AfD....you might start seeing a 5-to-8 percent vote, with the CSU taking 7-to-12 percent.
Plus-Point Two? In various states....the CSU would take enough votes (five-percent minimum required) to stand in state assemblies. They would be acceptable to partner with.....with the SPD, or the Greens.
Could this happen before the fall elections with the two eastern Germany states? No....I think Seehofer would wait to see the results from at least one of these before he makes the final move. This would be a political option for the spring election period and three German state elections.
A new face for the CSU required? I think that is the key ingredient. Someone around fifty years old.....smart.....good at debates...and liked by public appeal.
So, prepare for a change in political gamesmanship.