If you haven’t heard anything about the election campaign in Germany, that’s because there isn’t much of one, despite the fact that nationwide elections that will determine, among other things, whether Chancellor Angela Merkel stays or goes are set for Sept. 24. Yes, we are talking about the same Germany that has taken in roughly one million refugees and migrants in the last two years. The same Germany that bailed out bankrupt European states with billions of euros. The same Germany that has taken a tough stance toward Russia after its annexation of Crimea. The same Germany that is switching off all its nuclear power plants and turning to green energy.
All of this has happened under Ms. Merkel’s watch, and all of it is controversial here. And yet there is little doubt that she will win her fourth run at the chancellorship, which she has held since 2005. According to polls, if the elections were to take place now, she would beat her opponent, the Social Democrat Martin Schulz, by 20 points. As of now, the only question appears to be whether Ms. Merkel will seek a coalition of her Christian Democrats with the Liberals or the Green Party.
And while both candidates have held rallies and made speeches, the public, and even much of the news media, seems either uninterested or resigned to the results. It’s not that Germans are uninterested in politics or the issues; it’s that they’ve accepted the fact that the country’s national politics are locked in place by a centrist consensus that gives them little choice at the ballot box.