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German Right triumphs on bloodbath night for coalition

AfD co-leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla celebrate initial results on Sunday night. Credit: Getty

June 10, 2024 - 7:00am

Members of Germany’s traditional parties in Germany will not sleep well following the results of elections to the European Parliament. At the time of writing, every party within the governing traffic-light coalition lost votes. The Greens dropped significantly to 12%, having taken 20.5% of the vote in 2019. The Social Democrats “only” went down by a couple of percentage points, but their overall share of 14% was nonetheless their worst result in a federal election since 1887.

Even more worrisome for Olaf Scholz and co., however, are the underlying trends emerging from these elections. Although the conservative CDU/CSU alliance achieved first place with 30% of the vote, this was still somewhat disappointing given just how tired the population has become with the present government. CDU leader Friedrich Merz may not have lost votes, but his party’s vote share only went up by just over a percentage point, despite the members of the coalition government dropping a combined 11 points.

So where did those voters go? Some of them shifted to the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which went up by 5.2 points and came in second after the conservatives. Given the absolutely catastrophic final weeks before the election, this should not have been possible. The party’s top candidate Maximilian Krah had to suspend his campaign and the AfD was kicked out of the ID group in the European Parliament, due to comments he made about the Waffen-SS — and that’s before getting to the spying and corruption allegations. Yet voters were undeterred, demonstrating that the AfD now has a solid base of around 15% which is willing to vote for the party under almost any circumstances.

In fact, what really hurt the AfD was the appearance of the Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW), a party formed just this year by former members of the post-communist Die Linke. Wagenknecht is a charismatic politician who combines nostalgia for the former German Democratic Republic with a tough stance of migration and the rejection of continued aid for Ukraine. Although officially a party of the Left, on the issues that matter most for voters the BSW is almost indistinguishable from the AfD. Before the BSW appeared, the AfD polled at 22% — now the AfD is on 16% while Wagenknecht’s party has taken 6% of the vote. On certain issues in Germany, populism has begun to transcend the Left-Right paradigm.

Another, equally interesting trend shows that the Greens can no longer take the youth vote for granted. Among 16 to 24-year-olds the Greens went down a whopping 23 percentage points, reducing them to only 11% among the age group, while the AfD got 17% — an increase of 12 points — and the CDU/CSU went up five points to 17%.

Among Germany’s Generation Z, conservative parties are now the most popular, which also contradicts claims by analysts such as Peter Zeihan that it is only “crotchety” pensioners who vote for the Right. The AfD and the BSW demonstrate that the populist parties in Germany are not only gaining popularity, but are also conquering younger demographics no longer deterred by the constant invoking of a Nazi past which means increasingly less to them. The picture of the Right as a group of gnarly reactionaries born in the Forties is no longer accurate, and new parties are capitalising on this.

One can only imagine what the results would have been without such as self-destructive AfD campaign, but we will no doubt find out in 2025 when Germany has its next federal elections.

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Victor James
Victor James
8 days ago

All that matters is the demographic dystopian nightmare. Very quickly, politics in Europe is going to polarise into two distinct camps: those who oppose the colonisation of Europe and those who want to colonise it.
Shocking fact, white people – ethnic Europeans – are human beings who have a right to exist and a right to fight for that existence. Get used to it, racists!

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 days ago
Reply to  Victor James

Well, we will soon be a minority in most European cities, so obviously will be able to claim all the privileges and victimhood accorded to other minorities.

It’ll be very amusing seeing how the intersectional leftwaffe (Owen Jones) patiently explain how these rules unfortunately only apply to Hamas and the like, but not to us.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

It does not work that way. When we are in a minority we will be ripe for cleansing fully aware that we can expect no protection from the ascendant power.
Look what happen to the protestant population of Ireland or the Christian population of the Middle East

Chipoko
Chipoko
7 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Apparently only something like 36% of London’s population is made of of ethnic, white British people!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 days ago

For me the most amazing result is that the 16-22 year olds lost all confidence in the green/socialist nightmare. It also shows, that young people don‘t get their news from State TV and MSM, which lost all credible independent thought, especially during Covid. But they watch on-line bloggers, a phenomenon which started in the US with the Joe Rogan type podcasts.

Last edited 8 days ago by Stephanie Surface
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
8 days ago

I’m in my 60s and I get all my info from outlets like UnHerd, podcasters like Rogan, Malice, Triggernometry, and intellectuals who actually go into war zones, like Douglas Murray. State media is laughable. They’re dying right along with the demographic that still bothers with them. But, unlike the latter, they will go unmourned.

Rob N
Rob N
8 days ago

I may be missing something but Krah’s SS comment seemed entirely obvious, reasonable and, even, necessary to say.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Agree and no, I’m not some type of proto-fascist. The author would have done well to have cited Krah’s comments in their entirety. Espionage for Russia and China a much bigger issue.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes, you are right, the AfD‘s candidate Krah‘s quote was about the Waffen SS, which actually sounded exactly, what Adenauer and Kohl said some time ago. And the so-called spying allegations were about an assistant to Krah, who was an alleged double agent, supposedly working for China and the German Secret Service. Also up to now there is no prove about another EP candidate‘s corruption allegation. All this was thrown at the AfD by the MSM and politicians shortly before the election.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
8 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes, when I followed the link, it was to a hit piece on AfD in Politico but even that couldn’t make the SS comment sound that bad, at least mentioning the context that it was referring to Gunter Grass having joined the SS as a teenager.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 days ago

Günter Grass made that great comment about German history ; he said it was like a blocked toilet – you flush and flush but the shit keeps floating to the surface.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Focussing all attention on the casual remarks of radical politicians is the most effective way to prevent voters from investigating their policies. How many American voters could actually itemize the differences between Trump and Biden’s policies? Every casual remark is seared into public consciousness without context, especially the jokes, which are invariably treated as serious and sinister declarations of intent.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 days ago

I knew that the German Greens were cruising for an absolute bruising in this election. But that the youth would turn away from them to such a degree was a shock. Of course I’ve got my own ideas about why that might be, but will be keeping my eyes peeled in the next few days for interviews with young people about why they voted as they did.

Last edited 8 days ago by Katharine Eyre
AC Harper
AC Harper
8 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I wonder if an element might be the stereotypical opinions of ‘the youth’. In my day there was resistance to what ‘the Man’ said. Arguably ‘The Greens’ were a disruptive set of opinions that were contrary to ‘the Man’ and so garnered the support of the youth.
Now that the Greens have their feet under the political high table they too are beginning to be seen as part of ‘the Man’… after all they now show authoritarian attitudes and talk arrant nonsense.

Last edited 8 days ago by AC Harper
peter barker
peter barker
8 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I thinks there’s a lot of truth in what you say.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Maybe they’re starting to realise that the warmth from their virtue blanket isn’t go to make up for zero career prospects or pay for that obligatory £30K heat pump ?

Last edited 8 days ago by Mike Downing
Andrew F
Andrew F
7 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Looks like German youth have more sense then youngsters in London.
Talking to these morons is just soul destroying.
Can’t afford the house?
Nothing to do with mass immigration, you old gammon.
How are we going to power electric cars?
I don’t know I have a degree in gender studies.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

The Greens have single-handedly destroyed the German economy. What kind of insane idiots would still vote for them?

Peter B
Peter B
8 days ago

This doesn’t match at all with the EU election report I’ve just read on the BBC News website ! Apparently, this was a huge result for the CDU (centre right) group and little else of note happened.
There’s an extraordinary fragmentation going on in politics in countries like Germany, Italy and France with completely new parties taking huge chunks of votes. While it’s comforting to see the failing politians in the big parties taking some well desevered punishment, this isn’t all good news.
I just wish I was confident the main parties would start listening to voters’ concerns they’ve been ignoring for decades. Otherwise we may well get more extremism and instability.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hell will freeze over before that happens. We’re already hearing the same old same old “voters who turn to the right are stupid and uneducated” spiel. Politicians across the EU had a number of years to look at Britain and Brexit and to look for themselves at the underlying causes and wonder whether those same dynamics weren’t at work in their own back yards. But they chose to be lazy and focus on buzzwords like disinformation, lack of voter education, populism etc and now we have the result, how shocking.

Peter Principle
Peter Principle
8 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I heard BBC’s European correspondent, Katya Adler, responding to a question about why the “Hard Right” (the BBC anchor’s terminology) did so well in Germany. Ms Adler said it was because AfD has a more effective social media presence than the other parties. This is typical BBC fake analysis.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
8 days ago

Matthew Syed wrote an absolutely stonking piece in The Times yesterday about how the people who are part of the so-called liberal consensus are to blame for the rise of parties like Reform because, with their politics, they have managed to torch the collective trust on which a democracy depends. It is so good, especially the final sentence – it couldn’t have expressed better my own frustration at these fools who still can’t understand they are largely to blame for the problems they now look down their noses at: https://www.thetimes.com/comment/columnists/article/farage-is-a-snake-but-if-we-were-honest-on-migration-hed-have-no-fangs-cwqxfshmn

Peter B
Peter B
8 days ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Matthew Syed is usually excellent and proof that some newspapers can still occasionally be useful. But not enough for me to subscribe ! Otherwise, it’s all totally predictable. The “Times Radio” stuff I see on my YouTube feed is so predictable that there’s no point watching it. It’s not only that I might disagree with it – it’s the certainty that there’s nothing new to learn from it.
Hard to comment not having read the article, but I’m not sure that “Farage is a snake” sounds in line with the article. Perhaps that’s the Times editors at work. In what way is he more or less of a “snake” than Sunak, Starmer, et al ? Farage is the release valve for widely held views which are not being heard or considered. A working political system would not try to suppress them.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
7 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Well, obviously Syed had to say that and other fact-less attacks, or his piece would never have been published, and it was very good.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
7 days ago

After her spinning during Brexit, Katya Adler really shouldn’t call herself a journalist.

Peter Principle
Peter Principle
7 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Her fake analysis is just as pernicious as fake news.

Chipoko
Chipoko
7 days ago

The BBC has been wingeing all day about the ‘Hard Right’ and ‘Far Right’ taking over EU politics. We never hear from the BBC about the ‘Hard L~eft’ or ‘Far Left’. That organisation is hellbent on demonising anyone or any organisation whose politics are Right of Centre and in so doing the BBC effectively conflates extreme Right fascism with most or all Right Wing tendencies. Constant repetition of this mantra will eventually persuade many ordinary people to become suspicious of any thing labelled Right Wing as a consequence of such relentless propaganda.

AC Harper
AC Harper
6 days ago
Reply to  Chipoko

I’ve argued in the past that the BBC was not ‘political’ but was pro-Establishment. Now that the ‘Establishment’ has been marched through by the Marxists (and fellow travellers) the BBC has also been contaminated.
Defund the BBC.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 days ago

Personally all I can do is laugh

Lone Wulf
Lone Wulf
8 days ago

One result of these elections is that right wing candidates have been democratically elected by a not negligible part of the population.

Last edited 8 days ago by Lone Wulf
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
8 days ago

The comments are doing their usual disappearing trick this morning. Basically the update function on the website isn’t working correctly. They appear and dissappear depending in which order you list them.

Last edited 8 days ago by Mike Downing
M To the Tea
M To the Tea
7 days ago

I believe Europe has a rightful claim to its territory and should have learned from its history of colonization that exploiting resources abroad often leads to reciprocal actions, with others seeking economic opportunities here through human capital call it immigration or not. I appreciate the rise of right-wing movements (and enjoy their sharp critiques) because they discourage further colonization of other continents. This shift could stimulate the economy by increasing the skilled workforce, and I support a move away from consumer culture towards purchasing quality, functional products and services. I think that Europe and the US focusing on enhancing skills and utilizing domestic resources could serve as a positive example for other countries that have suffered due to capitalism and exploitation. Personally, I support the right-wing perspective. However, it is ineffective to have a right-wing government that continues to exploit other regions, especially when our own population is so diverse now. This only invites conflict and chaos, and winning becomes irrelevant without peace and stability at home.
Therefore, we should close our doors to globalization and embrace self-sufficiency and let go of consumer chaos call it another name.