It is time to have an open and honest discussion about the AfD in Germany. Polls are showing that they are rated at about 20% of the votes for entire Germany and at staggering 34% in parts of Eastern Germany.
The “traditional” parties in Germany have so far bet everything on the “Brandmauer/Firewall” concept, which says that nobody is making any coalition with the AfD. Hence, the AfD can only rule if they have the absolute majority. In addition the general view is, that the AfD voters are mainly protest voters and when it comes to an election date the traditional parties would be able to convince these protest voters to not vote for the extreme right. And finally there is a larger community that simply doesn’t take the AfD serious, given the quality of leadership and their ability to present themselves as a serious alternative for the long run. Therefore this community believes that the AfD will somehow vanish or go away.

I believe we are ignoring reality.
As a matter of fact the AfD has developed to a party, that has constantly a result in the 10%+ range.
You can think that these are protesters, extremists, disappointed people or even stupid people – as a matter of fact, they want to be represented in the democratic system by the AfD and NOT by any other party.
The “Brandmauer/Firewall” concept prevents the AfD from ruling, but nothing more. Parties have to understand that their programs are not addressing the AfD voters. Period. When you get into eastern Germany many people don’t want to support Ukraine in this war. In some regions more than 30% of the voters. This divides regions to the maximum (if you want to have an example how this can look like going forward – just have a look into the “United” States of America – there is nothing united anymore).
The only missing piece for the AfD to accelerate is charismatic leadership. Not a dump communication, but a leadership that can make speeches and address large audiences. Have a look at Italy. It started the same way. Georgia Meloni united the majority of the country behind her. Every second Italian is voting extreme right. 60% of the mayors in Italy are from Meloni’s party. This country is as right as it can be. Stopping migration, Italy first, stopping abortion, against the EU…(and we are making our holidays there…).
The traditional parties lacking leadership in Germany. Merz or Wüst or Söder? Old men hanging on to past times with very limited ability to lead or communicate. Scholz? A communication Desaster – a speechless leader. Lindner? Hanging on to mandates – without qualification for it or any kind of communication skills. Habeck or Baerbock? Being busy to learn how to lead and communicate on this level – at least developing. Wagenknecht or Wissler? Who even takes them serious? Whom would you vote in an election? And this is the case for decades now.
So, it is time to wake up and understand that there are millions (!!) of voters in Germany who are deeply disappointed by traditional politics and politicians. Therefore they are looking for alternatives.
These people are also frustrated because they voted for politicians who simply did not deliver what they promised – hence there is no trust no more.
Finally, there are fearsome new challenges happening. Climate change, that is now real and everybody can experience the changes simply by the weather. War, that is happening now in real and isn’t going away – something that wasn’t real for decades, so an entire generation is looking at this and asking for guidance. A pandemic, that we knew from movies, but never believed it can happen to us in reality. All these fears need to be addressed and tackled by the parties to make Germany a powerful country that is able to manage thru crisis. People laughed about “Mother Merkel” (and I was never a fan of her), but when a mother is gone, there is a hole that you need to fill…
The AfD is addressing all these points with simple messages.
Focus on yourself,
focus on what you need,
leave the problems outside of the country,
you don’t need to solve all the problems.
Super simple message communicated from simple leaders without any charisma or even broader view. And with that they address the need of many million people.
It is overdue to stop ignoring the reality. We don’t have the answers for a huge part of the voters. We don’t have programs, that address their fears and need in these times. We need to address them and develop solutions for the people and stop fuzzing around the AfD to be a protest party. This will not simply go away if dont act against it


  • Mario

    Thanks for adressing this topic again. Just to ignore what’s happening is not a strategy. But what might be the right strategy? The more I’m thinking about it the more I conclude that Friedrich März was right when saying to collaborate with AfD on a local level might be an option. Even if this was accidental (what I do not believe because he’s smart enough). The race between all other parties being first on the firewall concept is not a strategy either. It’s time to disguise the “magic” of AfD. As long as they are a pure “protest” party this will not happen. But bring them into power and the reality check, the lack of concepts and the stupidness of many of their delegates will reduce the number of votes immediatly. And I’m not afraid of Björn Höcke, the fascist. Even if not comparable, I remember the foundation of the green party in the 80ies and I remember the two wings of this party: The fundamentalism wing (Petra Kelly, Jutta Dithfurt etc.) who do not want any particpation in government, and the reality wing (Joschka Fischer a.o.) who wanted to change society by being part of the government. Over the years the “fundis” became a minority. And this will hopefully happen to the fascism wing of AfD as well. Somehow similar the “Linke”. They absorbed all protest votes in former GDR and in the beginning none of the other parties wanted to govern with them. There was a firewall as well. And then it began on a very local level and now they are part of power in many federal states. And the magic was gone and the votes were thrinking. The “Linke” will become a note in history but nothing more. Divide et Impare might be the right strategy to send AfD to the past as well. But if our parties will not manage present and future chanllenges the will always be place for AfD or other radical parties.

    • Frank Obermeier (author)

      Thanks Mario – the reason I am vocal about this, is really simple: Many people keep ignoring the trend and as you said – this isn’t a strategy. Whatever you do with them, – and I see them different to the development of the Green Party in the past – we have to come up with simple, clear and usable programs for our people to understand that this is NOT the way to go

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