Angela Merkel appears to be riding for another election victory. Despite voter discontent over Merkel's refugee policies the German voter seems far more concerned by the Three Brutes - Trump, Erdogan and Putin - and they figure Merkel is the one to fend them off.
Psychologist Stephan Grunewald has been looking at the voting public and was interviewed by Der Spiegel.
Grünewald: Voters are disoriented, full of uncertainties. They describe Germany either as an ailing, run-down country or as a secure island of affluence in a sea of risk. It's all very fragile and leads to emotional outbursts. I have never before seen so much anger and hatred among test subjects.
SPIEGEL: Do you expect growing political radicalization?
Grünewald: Not yet, because in reaction to the perceived hardening of the fronts, voters are also taking a step back. They argue that we cannot afford to slip into polarization because we are surrounded by three brutes: Trump, Erdogan and Putin. The anger is being expressed in shadowy digital worlds, but in the analog world, they keep a tighter rein on themselves.
SPIEGEL: Is the refugee crisis just a symbol for their discomfort with the difficult state of the world today?
Grünewald: Yes, because long before the refugee crisis people felt alienated by globalization and were also concerned about global security.
SPIEGEL: How is Trump being perceived?
Grünewald: He works to Merkel's advantage. Because of him, Putin and Erdogan, she is seen as the person who can tame the brutes. The chancellor is seen as the only one we can depend on, so we have to have a good relationship to her.
Trump has been quick to take credit for the election of Congressional Republicans. I wonder if he'll take credit for Merkel's re-election?