We are six months away from the German election. Things are quiet different than they were four months ago....with Merkel residing easily in first place back in December. Today.....SPD's Schulz, depending on which poll you use.....is either one point ahead of Merkel or one point behind Merkel.
If you look at the months ahead, there are roughly seven things which will intersect with this election:
1. The German court system still has an order upon Merkel's coalition to bring Snowden into Germany and put him in front of the NSA-truth commission. If this ever does occur, you can expect Germany to refuse the paperwork presented by the US to take possession of Snowden, and turn this act into a five-star circus event. All would benefit Schulz greatly.
2. While everyone is hyped up on Schulz and the SPD promise of better pensions or reformed pensions.....no one has yet to ask where the extra money will come from. Eventually, you'd expect some PhD geek to lay out the nature of cost and freak everyone out because it'll have to come from taxation.
3. Turkey's Erdogan and his referendum. Once it passes (yeah, it's just about impossible for it not to pass)....the EU entry possibility is gone, and there's no reason to hold back the immigrants/refugees as Turkey has been doing for twelve months. This also opens up a major problem with Kurds in Turkey and their likely exodus. And you can expect more heated activities in the Middle East, with a slant against Iran being the major product produced.
4. Greece and it's economic woes. Greece needs more money in the next three months to survive. Trump said in the last month that giving more money via the IMF is not wise. The EU says otherwise. For Schulz and Merkel....neither have some plan B in the works if the IMF deal isn't achieved.
5. NATO. Only about a quarter of the members of NATO are spending two-percent or more of their GDP on military costs. Germany isn't one of the two-percent crowd.....nor can they really afford much more than what they put in now. It's hard to see US installations staying in Germany under the Trump administration, and this will turn into a major thorn if plans are drawn to relocate them to other European countries.
6. BREXIT, Macron, and the EU in 2018. You could make this into a 40-page essay but the short and simple truth is that a new EU is coming by early 2018, and it's a Macron-Schulz mechanism....without any British influence.
7. Germans want some change in leadership. Roughly 60 to 65 percent of Germans (polls continue to say this for the past six months) think a new dynamic in leadership is necessary. They aren't necessarily saying that Schulz is the replacement guy, but there is no one else. If you mention the choice of either Merkel or Schulz....the public appears more willing to pick Merkel at present.
My gut feeling says that Schulz and the SPD can pull out some 34-percent vote and beat Merkel's CDU by one or two points.
The reality left on the table is if the public comes to realize the whole Schulz plan for the coalition is the SPD, the Greens and the Linke Party as the new coalition, and how worried the public might become over this idea. I suspect that a quarter of the SPD crowd isn't that happy over it and Schulz will have to suggest at some point that there might be room for a SPD-CDU coalition (the CDU as a junior partner).
In the end, I think Merkel walks away and retires in September after the loss.