As fringe parties gradually mainstream themselves in the polling, the underlying anxieties that motivate protest and fringe votes become ever more pressing concerns.
Smaller parties tend to punch above their weight, insofar as they can’t exert a strong influence in parliament. But they can influence decisions from the bigger parties about what to achieve and to focus on. Remember UKIP?
The polling of small parties are often a barometer of popular discontent; both quantity-wise (how many people are passionate or committed on certain issues) and quality-wise (how strongly they feel about an issue; what are their hopes, fears, dreams, aspirations?)
If Angela Merkel addresses legitimate concerns about immigration, asylum and radical Islam, however crudely and sentimental such fears can be in their expression online and in the media, she can strengthen her position; and in doing so, she can also boost her party. Something similar can be said of her fellow center-right politician in the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. But if she doesn’t, she can expect serious problems.
Angela Merkel, unlike the bumptiously buzzing horde of vacuous drones like Sarkozy, Hollande, Cameron, Blair, Macron, comes across as a person who is at least three-quarters human. She is possible to dislike, policy-wise, but she is difficulty to abhor as some kind of robotic machine-critter.
The fact that Merkel seems to be a reasonably intelligent, humane and dare I say it, human person, probably counts for something in practical terms.
Let’s hope she knows how to make the best use of her non-android nature, and challenge Alt-Islam head on…
While making sure the reactionary right don’t steal her thunder!