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Old 22.01.2016, 14:28
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Re: Do you believe in Merkel?

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No need to reform, just do what you did the last century and nobody will vote AfD. The difference between the greens and AfD is that the greens actually had some points that were not covered by the other parties:
- pacifism (The US were installing new rockets against the SU in Germany at the time and hundred thousands demonstrated against them).
- ecology (The SPD was at that time about jobs and the CDU about the economy...)
- feminism

The AfD has:
- everything the CSU and the conservative wing of the CDU says but Merkel suppresses

The greens had loyal voters that identified themselves with the ideals. This means you will stick to the party even if there are some internal crisis or some other parties are changing their position to accomodate you. The AfD is going to get probably around 10%-15% "protest voters" who would probably elect an idiot like Seehofer if Merkel would give him a bit more space... and is already splitting in pieces even before they get any seats anywhere.
The Greens caused immense damage to the SPD. maybe they also attracted some voters from the CDU and FDP, but I think most of their growth was at the expense of the SPD and the SPD was forced to try and accomodate some of their points to stem the further loss.

I agree the greens were more a movement than a party and so voters had a lot of patience when the party fought its internal battles. This was their great strength.

I still think the AfD is to the the CDU what the Greens are to the SPD. Had the SPD been more awake in the 1970s and 1980s they could have taken the leadership of the pacifist and feminist movement and there wouldn't be any greens today. They didn't because they failed to predict where it was heading and because they weren't flexible enough to change their course.

I don't know to what extent the CDU is still behind Merkel, or whether they will happily ditch her at the first opportunity and select a different leadership. This is the type of game you typically get one shot at. If say, they ditch Merkel and replace her by Schäuble or somebody like that who continues doing much the same, the right wing of the party will lose patience and there will be a huge exodus to the likes of AfD. I don't know if the CDU leadership is smart enough to see that.

You are right that the AfD is divided and has a direction problem, which is ultimately a leadersip problem. But good leaders (as in effective leaders, not necessarily in terms of doing what's right) can step up remarkably quickly when vacuums open up and demand it.
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