The land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern can be described as poor, sparsely populated, even marginal. Here, the nationalists of Alternative for Germany celebrated the “historic passing” over Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in her own constituency. In practice, there are no consequences for this loss.
But the symbolic effects are considerable. As has happened in other regions that have experienced the impetuous advance of AfD, it does not open any actual prospects of government. And even fewer will open up nationwide. The major parties lose popularity in each election.
But not to the point of convincing most Germans to abandon the prudent conservatism that has gathered them under the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic flags since the war. The Party of Frauke Petry, which is radicalized and keeps engulfing ever wider sectors of the extreme right, in spite of its name, is just a protest party and not a feasible alternative.
However, its threat is real and must be feared. The successes of AfD are indeed a formidable argument in the hands of those who, even within the traditional parties, are proposing to move the axis of German politics to the right. Behind the issue of refugees, the most urgent and visible of all, there are, in fact, more decisive policy objectives: the prevalence of the national interests over the European ones, the defense of German competitiveness sacrificing any idea of continental balance, as well as the claims of German workers and state social benefits.