A year ago in German politics....the Alternative Party for Deutschland (AfD, the anti-immigration political party) had some hype, and was generating a fair amount of interest across the nation. The public was looking for someone who had an opposite view against Merkel's CDU Party, the SPD, the Greens, and the Linke Party.
Frankly, it was a frustration year, with a frustration vote.
So, we've now come to 2017, and things have shifted.
The EU deal with Turkey to hold back the migrant flow? It's worked, at a cost of 3-billion Euro a year, and the EU has had to avoid criticizing Erdogan on human rights and the coup business.
Germany, since January of 2016, has been on track for roughly 300,000 immigrants a year....what the general number was prior to 2012 and the hyped-up sense that existed over the past three years. For 2017, things appear on track for another 300,000 immigrants. It's easily what the country can handle.
Cops are being hired by the federal government, and the sixteen state governments.. In fact.....so many cops, that the HR folks are complaining that they can't find enough quality individuals to pass the various tests to be a cop.
The terror problem still exists, but generally....the German public doesn't think the AfD has the competency to handle this problem.....so the CDU and SPD are getting votes back.
Fear of economic woes, BREXIT, Trump-troubles, evil Russia, evil NSA, the electric grid, VW diesel crap, screwed up pension problems.....all of these are hyped up more in a political year.
So, the speed-bump has finally come for the AfD. It's hard to imagine them getting more than 12-percent nationally now in a German election.
Add to the AfD's peak performance, that a fair number of the candidates and talkers for the party....have shown some marginal performance in forums and debates. The public might find five or six very competent people for the party, but beyond that....in the public forums....AfD has a major problem.
I think AfD has come to the peak point of their talk. They can't get more votes or support from the general public. I do agree that anger and frustration still exists, but immigration as a national problem has shuffled back down several notches. The fact that some reality has hit the migration cycle and some folks now realize that Germany isn't some Disney-immigration kingdom, and the cost of living is a major problem.
For the remainder of 2017? I think AfD might slide back two or three points, and probably end with the September election number of 8-percent. Some folks will quietly walk back to the CDU and Merkel's recovery is possible. Schulz might still be able to pull 32-percent nationally, but if frustration votes creep back over to the CDU....then Merkel's odds of winning the fall election go to 50-to-60 percent.....a lot better than I would have projected two or three months ago.