How the far-right AfD changes German politics

“They won’t have any real effect at all on German politics,” said Niedermayer. “No one will form a coalition with them. They’ll be excluded. Their motions will be shot down. If they put forward reasonable motions that other parties might agree with, they will be voted down, and the other parties will put forward slightly modified motions.”

For instance, the AfD vowed to initiate a parliamentary inquiry about what Weidel called Merkel’s “illegal” decisions, but it is well-nigh unthinkable that they will be able to persuade any of the other parties to support that endeavor.

What the AfD will have is a soapbox beyond the considerable speaking time the party will enjoy in the next Bundestag. Political talk shows and other institutions of German political culture will now have no choice but to give spokespeople for the far-right party a platform. That will make the tone of German politics far less measured, far more coarse and cutting, than it is now.