Sunday’s election in Bavaria, in which the long-dominant governing party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), lost its majority, showed that there’s no more business as usual in German politics — and that the change has little to do with the massively overblown immigration issue. The vote gives an important opening to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has to fight to complete her term, but also poses new risks for her. Although German states have fewer powers than those in the US, state elections are extremely important. They are where the parties try out electoral platforms, tactics, and alliances, and where national political stars are born. Voters are active: The turnout in Bavaria on Sunday was 72.4%, only slightly lower than the 76.2% that voted at last year’s national election. Bavaria, the state with the lowest unemployment (2.8% compared with 5.1% nationwide) and the home of top companies such as Siemens, BMW, Allianz, and Infineon Technologies, stands out even against that backgr...

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