Racist opposition to immigration, notably in the former East Germany, does not mean reputable opposition is impossible.
AfD doesn’t need to win the next election to trigger a meltdown – just keep its national support rising toward the 25 per cent mark, where the mathematics of building stable coalition governments stops working.
Should conservative parties pursue liberal-minded centrist support or compete against far-Right populists for working-class voters?
Just as its energy dependence on Russia cannot be reversed overnight, decades of drift into quasi-pacifism reflect a deeply embedded outlook.
Political popularity appears to be broad and sustained but, when eventually it is exhausted, the falling away of support is dramatic.
It is worth noting the lack of a German, and therefore European, consensus on the foreign policy challenges facing the West, particularly on Russia and China.
The front-runner to succeed Merkel has perfected the art of making not having a row, indeed not making a decision, sound reasonable.
Merkel’s sixteen years are marked by high poll ratings but few concrete achievements, and a discreditable closeness to dictators.
By uniting behind Johnson’s plan, and replicating the approach of these two mayors, the the environment can become a winning issue for the party.
It despises the very values of patriotism and economic self-improvement that made people like my grandparents vote for them.
And if Germany’s Greens are in government after the federal election, they will be inclined to help him.
A traffic light coalition? A Jamaica coalition? Who knows? What’s certain is that the CDU/CSU is struggling amidst a fragmenting landscape.
A Green Minister-President has governed Baden-Württemberg in coalition with the CDU for more than a decade, implementing a pro-business agenda.
The commonsense presumption must be that he wouldn’t be going at all were a deal not at least possible.