Four inter-related factors shaped the 2017 campaign of Angela
Merkel’s CDU/CSU: (1) ambivalence over her successful modernization of the
CDU; (2) fallout from her 2015 refugee policy; (3) a party strategy that bred
complacency while mobilizing skeptics; and (4) tactical miscalculations.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU came in first, but suffered record losses, while the rightwing
populist Alternative for Germany emerged as Germany’s third party.
The campaign, its result and—with a fragmented and polarized party system—
her need to build another grand coalition all seemed sure to fuel recrimi -
nations within the CDU/CSU over identity, strategy, and personnel in a post