It would seem to some that the German consensus is beginning to shift toward a more nationalist stance as the major parties, the CDU/CSU and the SPD continue to lose the confidence of German voters. The leftist parties, including the SPD, Linke (Left), and the Greens poll now together at around 31% of the electorate, down from 40% in June of last year. The more centrist and nationalist influenced parties, including the CDU/CSU, AFD, and FDP poll at around 55%, with the AFD growing from 8.4% to 14.8% from last June until now, but overall the center-right and nationalist parties have gone from around 50% of the electorate to 55% of the Electorate, even as the CDU/CSU, the main center-right party, has lost around 7% of the total vote.
In other words, the sentiment for a center-right and nationalist government has grown, up to 55% of the electorate overall, while the main party of the center-right, the CDU/CSU has lost ground. Not only are the Germans moving away from the progressive camp, but they are drifting toward the more unorthodox and upstart center-right to nationalist Parties. Setting aside the amateurish reporting, or perhaps propaganda, of the German and European press comparing parties like the AFP and the FDP as neo-Nazis, these Parties do not reflect a racist or racialist movement anything like the “national” Parties of, say, the 1930’s.
But the shift away from the progressives has been deep and broad and is now beginning to create a chasm between the Government, whose Chancellor is a progressive heading an increasingly anti-progressive Party, and the people. The government empowers the chief political party of the left, despite the fact the majority consensus of the electorate is 55% toward the center-right. The entire leftist coalition, which is so strongly represented in government, has the confidence of less than a third of the German voters.
This creates an untenable political substation in which the government is led by people whose core beliefs and agenda are fundamentally out of harmony with the people. New efforts to curtail free speech, especially the AFD, in the name of preventing “hate speech”, are not working to change things back in favor of the current Government. The AFD’s numbers are rising and are as high as 24% in Bavaria, which has been governed by the CSU since after the war. As it stands now, if the current polls prove true, the only way for the CSU to remain in power in Bavaria will be to join a coalition with the AFD, which they see as “beyond the pale”, or to mimic the national coalition and join with the SPD.
The European Union is now pushing through a new law that would severely control the Internet, in the name of copyright protection, which many see as a strong-armed attempt to reduce the flow of information to controlled, establishment news sources. The bill would place so many regulations on how to control copyright content, eliminating Fair Use and imposing a “link tax” for linking to other websites, that only major platforms could afford to operate. This comes at a time when Europeans, including Germans, see the Euro-condominium as being antithetical to their sense of national homogeneity and well-being.
Moves like this, in the face of broad and deep public suspicion, are likely to only further inflame the public, which in turn favors the more center-right populist Parties.
A potential sea-change in the German consensus could be in the offing, although it may be too soon to see if this is merely reactionary or indicative of something more permanent. In other words, if the migrant crisis is resolved, will these more upstart Parties might lose support and the left might regain some lost ground. If these numbers hold and signify a sea=change, then the Germany of the next 5-10 years will look a lot different than the Germany of the past 20 years.
We could be looking at a Germany more inclined toward socially conservative values, a greater openness to religion and Christianity in particular, and a Germany more ready to get over its 20th century past and begin to show pride in its national identity that would have been frowned upon before. There does not appear to be any appetite to either entertain racist/ultra-nationalist militantism or to embrace any form of authoritarianism.
While in some ways, one might see some older traditions and values gain more currency and respect, it is almost impossible that we will see the Germans go back toward the Germany of, say, the Imperial years before 1914, much less to the dark days of the Austrian who became the dictator. It more likely than not that the militarist and jingoist spirit that has at times infected the German nation has been well and thoroughly exercised.
So, in short, we may see the Germans move to a more center-right consensus and become a bit more proud of their national identity, but those who would imagine (whether hopefully or fearfully) the rebirth of German imperialism and militarism will find no fertile soil among the German voters.