My perception is that in Germany most major political decisions are not voted on: migration, nuclear energy, international, alliances, emission reduction policies to name a few examples. While people in the Americas worry about polarization, I would say Germany’s problem is the opposite. Compared to the historical average, German politics is too moderate and not polarized enough. Polarized debates were much more endemic when the country was debating the Nato Doppelbeschluss, the Kohl era (reunification) or the Adenauer era (Western alliance, later the failed project of a European army). The counterfactual in many of these cases would have been different had the other party been in power. The same is not true for the Merkel era. The word “alternative” comes from the fact that she suggests that her handling of the euro crisis was without alternative. If I can offer a conjecture as to why this is happening, I would say that the degree of elite convergence is higher than in the Americas. The spectrum of opinion covered by public intellectuals is so much narrower. And with unions and the church in decline, the spectrum of opinion covered by the country’s major non-governmental institutions is also in decline. (The treatment of the very different initial leadership of this party in the mid-2010s illustrates this point.) So, in short, my argument (and that of many people) is that, as in the Hotelling model, the ideological conformity of elites created the space for an ideologically aligned non-enterer. Naturally, this participant is more extreme than a more conservative version of the Christian Democrats (and I tend to think this is so because Christianity forbids you to go down some tempting, but inhumane, but c is for another day) and of lesser quality because given the current intellectual climate the new party is struggling to recruit elites. Needless to say, you shouldn’t vote for this party. But I understand why it exists.
It is dec.”