Like Trump, German’s anti-immigrant party shows unexpected strength

It worked for Trump. It took Le Pen nearly to the finish line. And it influenced the Brexit vote. Now, concern about unchecked immigration, especially of Middle East and African Muslims, looks like it might have an unexpected influence on Germany’s national elections this weekend.

It’s probably inevitable that Angela Merkel will win her fourth term as chancellor, keeping her Christian Democratic Union in the driver’s seat, though short of a majority of seats in the Bundestag. If that occurs, as expected, Merkel could form a so-called grand coalition with the left-leaning Social Democrats.

The real story of this election, however, is the last-minute surge of the right-of-center party, the Alternative for Germany, or AfD as it is known to voters. After open infighting among its leadership earlier this year, AfD has regrouped and looks like it might take more than 10 percent of the vote, meaning it can be represented in the German parliament.

It’s been almost impossible for an openly right-wing party to succeed in modern…

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