The big news of the week is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing the toughest challenge to her long political career from within her own Union party coalition over immigration.
My latest article at Strategic Culture talks about why this issue is so divisive and why it has a real chance to topple Merkel’s rule.
Immigration is not simply a political asset to be horse-traded by leaders in the legislature. Someone should teach Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer this before the Democratic Party goes the way of the dodo.
It cuts too deeply into people’s personal identity and their sense of community and culture. Like it or not, people tend to seek out people like them.
We are hard-wired for this. And the cultural Marxists pushing for George Soros’ vision of the Open Society are bumping up against one of the most basic of human biases and survival instincts. Demonizing and dehumanizing people for political gain is not a path of societal cohesion but rather violence and civil war.
It is for this reason that movements like Brexit and the rise of both nominally left and right wing populists in Italy were able to take power. People respond instinctually to this issue. This is hind brain stuff and not easily overcome.
Whether Merkel survives this challenge or not is up to her. If she digs her heels in and tries to break CSU Leader Horst Seehofer’s opposition to her EU-first immigration policy then it will lead to a further fracturing of the German political landscape in the long run.
She may hold onto power for now only to lose the war permanently in the future.
The 16% Lesson of Brexit
But, not all populist uprisings are created equal. As we can see in the U.K., Brexit drove the rise of UKIP as Tories defected on the issue of immigration. But, not on much else. And once the Brexit vote happened, and UKIP were polling in the 10-12% range, the main reason for voting UKIP evaporated.
Nigel Farage stepped down, UKIP lost its leadership, and the voters’ protest was over. Tories went back home and are now being betrayed in parliament by their MP’s.
This is the blueprint for how NOT to pull off a major political revolution. And the U.K. will learn that lesson the hard way unless something drastic happens soon, like the ouster of Prime Minister Theresa May and a pro-Brexit replacement elected.
The problem for UKIP was never crossing the 16% threshold from ‘protest movement’ to self-sustaining party.
Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation Theory is applicable to politics as well as products. The idea being that it takes around 16% adoption for a new technology, ideology, etc. to have the potential to become something bigger. This was made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point.