Germany's AfD party polling at record levels, gains two district-wide victories in recent elections

Published by carolyn on Sat, 2023-07-08 08:45

AfD party leader in Thuringia Bjorn Höcke (left) and National party co-leaderTino Chrupalla (right) applaud Robert Sesselmann (center) on his June 25th victory to become District Administrator of Sonneberg, in the state of Thuringia.

By Carolyn Yeager

TWO LOCAL RUNOFF VOTES IN EASTERN GERMANY were won by the Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD), now the country's most successful far-right party since World War II.

Robert Sesselmann won the June 25th District Administrator election in Sonneberg, a small district in east Germany's Thuringia state. It was the first time a candidate from the far-right party was elected to head a government. A district administrator does not have much clout, but jubilant AfD leaders are hoping the victory will herald far greater political success.

The following week, the AfD's Hannes Loth, a local farmer, beat independent candidate Nils Naumann in the small town of Raguhn-Jessnitz, Saxony-Anhalt, to become the AfD's first ever mayor in Germany. Though the two districts are relatively small, the results are considered significant because they confirm a trend in national polls: The AfD can now claim the approval of 20% of German voters.

According to the latest opinion polls, the AfD has realistic chances of becoming the strongest political force in three eastern German states in regional elections set for 2024.

In Thuringia, the home of Bjorn Höcke, voters are undeterred by the fact that several party figureheads have been accused of making positive references to fascism and the National Socialist regime under Adolf Hitler. Party co-leader Tino Chrupalla is confident that the recent election success is "just the beginning!"

A survey, part of an ongoing study by the Sinus Institute for Social Research released on June 29, found that the middle-class segment of the AfD's voters has grown from 43% two years ago to 56% now. Not only that, there are signs that the AfD's voter base is broadening. The survey found that AfD voters in this segment are not just what Sinus calls the "conservative and nostalgic" middle classes, but also the "adaptive-pragmatic" middle classes — in other words, people who switch their political allegiances according to current issues.

"What we're currently seeing is the younger, more modern middle-classes, who are actually more well-educated, are also showing an affinity to the AfD," Silke Borgstedt, director of the Sinus Institute, told DW. "Though we can't say yet whether that's because the other parties don't put together the appropriate program, or whether it's a conscious decision."

The populists are also continuing to make gains at the federal level: The latest infratest dimap opinion poll surveyed 1,305 eligible German voters between July 3 and 5 and found the AfD to have 20% voter support across the country. This makes them Germany's second strongest political force, behind only the center-right alliance of the Christian Democrat Union and Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) who lost 1% support since June and now stand at 28%.

Political analyst Johannes Hillje explained to the taz newspaper."The AfD's basic narrative has always been that there is a threat to German culture (from liberal policies). For a long time, this came from the outside, through migrants, But now the narrative is that this threat is also coming from within, through the transformation of society to climate neutrality — a central project of the center-left coalition in Berlin and the Green Party."


Can Americans donate to the AfD?

No. But we can write and talk about them, speak well about them, and show support in other ways. They're not perfect but they're treading a very difficult road. Germany is a sorry mess since 1945, politically, but at least it follows the rule of law, and laws can be changed.

Germany is a mess just generally speaking.  A large portion of the best people were killed or left the country after the war.  Spritually and psychologically, they were crushed and have been ever since.  It is going to take a conscious effort and reversal of many policies and practices to renew itelf.

The opposition to letting up the pressure on Germany is fierce, very severe, and not just inside Germany. Those people who support and work hard for the AFD should be applauded, despite whatever shortcomings they might have in our eyes. So many complain that they are Zionist -- but they HAVE to be, or they'd be treated like the NPD, who can't get into the Reichstag. They have NO voice.

I deeply hope that they will find the ability to change anything for the better, but this is what I fear will happen if they get close:

I'd like to see them gain some power and find out. Smile

If you feel sympathy for Hitler (like me), then you also know that his system has nothing to do with the Jew-dominated present.But you do not understand that the AFD is an integral part of the criminal regime! That is, with a victory of this AFD everything remains as it is in the Federal Republic, the former Germany.Do you not know that Germany is under Jewish-American occupation since 1945? Do you think a real(!) patriotic party has a chance in Germany? Certainly not. I.e., the people you applaud are miserable hypocrites and liars.

using the pseudonym Hans, who fears the AfD and doesn't want it to succeed. Changes have to come gradually; most reasonable people realize that. Thus, you are not a reasonable person.

P.S. What is your prescription or recommendation for going forward politically? Are you calling for armed revolution? Such has never succeeded in Germany.

This might seem strange; but, it's hard to tell which groups are our allies.  Years ago, I attempted to make a list of Advocate sites throughout Europe.  So far, I've only been successful trying to unite groups in English based language.    (the only exception thus far is, which I've followed for a long time.   

Unfortunately, Sahra Wagenknecht has, as expected, announced she is leaving Die Linke (with a number of fellow party members) and will form a new party that will launch in January, 2024 -- this will take votes away from the AfD, perhaps a significant number.
This is bad for two reasons: 1) support for the AfD needs to grow to the point where the established parties are left with no choice but to end their blockade on collaborating with the AfD, e.g. in forming coalition governments; 2) this is less likely to happen now, as at least in the short term Wagenknecht's new party is unlikely to have enough support by itself to be a partner in coalition negotiations.
So the ultimate result is likely to be that the established parties will cement their grip on power.
Personally I like Wagenknecht and see her as someone with integrity -- but if she wants to be a dissident and change things in Germany, she ought to join the AfD, not found another party that will weaken the AfD and make the established parties stronger.

Thanks for this information. I didn't know it, but I guess it should have been expected. Whenever a right-wing party starts making real gains, the other parties conspire in a plan to knock that party out! Sahra Wagenknecht may seem like an independent operator (I find her attractive too), but as a communist her hatred for the right would make any cooperation with them impossible.

People blame the Germans for not voting for right-wing parties, but the entire govt/parliament/media apparatus join in an "illegal," undemocractic plan to keep them from doing so. This is why any party that is further right than the AfD cannot even get on a ballot, which the troll "Hans" above conveniently ignores in his lambasting of AfD policies/positions.

I'm always happy to have realistic people write comments.

The behavior of German state media toward the AfD, which can fairly be called constant lowbrow, anti-intellectual defamation, is disgraceful -- all the more so because they are obligated by the German constitution (Verfassung) to be neutral -- also due to the fact that every German household, no matter if they consume state media or not, must pay almost €20/month to financially support it (in addition to their already high taxes), including those households with people who vote for the AfD.