There are two German TV shows.....Bauer Sucht Frau (Farmer Seeks a Wife) and Deutschland Sucht Super-Star, which Germans tend to watch and get all hyped up over some reality TV business.
Very shortly, in about 120 to 150 days, we will begin an election cycle and start the way toward the next Chancellor. Most folks are convinced that Merkel won't run again, and it'll open the door for a wide debate over current policies and where things ought to go.
Frankly, if you line up the cast of characters....no one is really that excited (they'd probably get more excited about the two TV shows and their entertainment value).
The SPD (left-of-center Democrats) talk about Gabriel as their lead guy, but the true player is Martin Schulz....the EU SPD guy. His thing though is that it's best not to talk about the immigration, integration or refugee business because there's no real changes that he wants to bring to the table. So, his slant on this.....hopefully looking at Trump winning and make an anti-Trump and anti-US campaign out of thin air.
The CDU? Two or three close associates of Merkels are on the chart and might make it as the CDU Chancellor candidate. None would be appreciated that much. The CDU player out of the Pfalz....Julie Klockner? She has a 25-percent chance of being the candidate and probably generating more interest than most folks. But she's also determined to have a change on the immigration and refugee policy.....which may not interest the leadership within the CDU party that much.
The Greens and Linke Party? Marginal interest across the nation.
Then you come to AfD (the anti-immigration party). Frauke Petry is the current head and does good in debates. Nationally? Probably not that much enthusiasm for her.
There just isn't anyone with charm, charisma, or debate skills that really stands out. A Schulz versus Klockner versus Petry race? Yeah, and it'd be curious how the public reacts to a non-Merkel race and some new direction on refugees and integration laid out.
The effort to make this into a anti-US or anti-Trump election? There's a research project from 2015 which asked Germans about their trust in the news media....with roughly two-thirds of Germans saying that they don't have trust any longer. Even if the news media carries the anti-US or anti-Trump theme.....the public will stay back with the current anti-immigration or anti-integration issue. It's hard to see where this election would go and who might carve out a 25-to-30 percent win and who they would partner up in a coalition with. The AfD is considered toxic and will not be able to partner with anyone.
So, as we approach early spring of 2017.....settle back and prepare for an interesting race.