Dhe federal chairman of the AfD, as the Thuringian party leader and right-wing extremist Björn Höcke recently wrote on Facebook, is supposed to represent the party with all its tendencies. And he should not educate the members. According to Höcke, almost all previous chairmen have not shown the character that this office requires.
Above all, they had neither the strength nor the size to assert themselves against Höcke and his radical friends. Höcke has long been the secret leader of the party, and he doesn’t need the official post to assert his interests. Therefore, he can hardly care who is elected as the new chairman at the party conference in Riesa. It doesn’t matter whether it’s him or someone else. Höcke is more powerful in his party than ever before.
The former party leaders failed because of him, although they had the success behind them: a growing party that entered the parliaments and gathered in its ranks all kinds of malcontents. But the high point is long gone. The AfD is weakening, especially in the west, in the state elections in Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia it only managed just over five percent, in Schleswig-Holstein not even that. The meaningful statement by the federal chairman Tino Chrupalla was: People are just relative satisfied. That’s the hard truth. Happy people don’t vote for the AfD.
Sad arsonist existence
Gone are the days when the party caused a stir in Berlin week after week because Alexander Gauland wanted to push the boundaries of what could be said with Vogelschiss speeches, Beatrix von Storch saw “barbaric, Muslim, gang-raping hordes of men” raging in the country or with a slip on the computer mouse advocated shooting at refugees at the border. Despite all the difficulties, the country has mastered the refugee crisis without having to do anything, and the AfD has run out of fuel.
It must be a sad existence to be seen as an arsonist without knowing what you want to set on fire and how to do it. The protest against the Corona policy didn’t really work, and the AfD is tearing itself apart on the Russia question. In general, it seems as if dull slogans just don’t work anymore. At least not in the west.
In the east, however, things are different. The level of dissatisfaction must be inexplicably high. The path to the nationalist party did not harm the AfD there. In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia, it is the second strongest force, and current surveys confirm this. There can be no question of a descent into insignificance there.
Instead, it looks as if what Höcke once described has already happened: that he and his family still have the option of the Gallic villages to retreat to. The whole of East Germany, or at least the rural regions, would then be the Gallic village of a largely right-wing extremist party, for which it even seems possible to become the strongest force in the coming state elections. The AfD has already succeeded in the federal elections in Saxony and Thuringia.
From this position of power, Höcke continued to spread his ethnic ideas within the party and shaped them according to his ideas. Even when he asks a party leader to represent all currents in the party, he does exactly the opposite. He has long since brought the state association in Thuringia on its course: against the “moral aristocracy” and the “political caste”, which he sees in power.
With him as a central figure, however, his party’s problems in the West will not be solved. He is the personification of the problem that the AfD has there. Most voters do not want a far-right party. With Höcke, the AfD faces the same fate as the NPD in the west, an extremely ugly and not without danger phenomenon, which fortunately only leads a niche existence. The AfD would finally lose its last semblance of middle class if it became the Höcke party.
He probably won’t care. The power in the east is enough for Höcke, and at the moment it looks as if he could succeed in establishing a right-wing extremist movement there as a people’s party on a permanent basis. So far, all the talk, all the admonitions and warnings have not stopped voters in Thuringia and Saxony from voting for the AfD. Many have fallen for the demagogue. He will use this to further ignite and divide the country.
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