So much for the last hope of the liberal west.

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With the rise of the Alternative fur Deutschland, a neo-fascist party led by German Marine Le Pen Frauke Petry, Merkel’s aggressively centrist Christlich Demokratische Union has moved significantly to the right in order to undermine the rising right in Germany. Petry, who is only 41, was born in East Germany, like Merkel. But Petry is now several generations removed from the war, while Merkel was born in its immediate aftermath. Most of Merkel’s generation are still firm supporters of the center-right CDU or the center-left Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands. But the youth has been more attracted to the AfD or the successor to the East German ruling party Die Linke.

Merkel, who’s profound, near statist belief in democratic government and against populism has been rocked again and again in the past 18 months. It is understandable that a politician as pragmatic as Merkel would see AfD’s rising poll numbers, and think “okay, I have to stave them off, and to do that I have to appeal to their voters” at the same time as throwing away everything she’s ever thought about government.

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The CDU maintains a 10 point lead over the SPD. AfD is in third, 19 points behind. The next German election will be held within 10 months.