Introduction In the 1980s, the Populist Radical Right emerged as a new party family. Its members have a number of core characteristics in common: they are nativist, authoritarian, and usually also populist (Mudde 2007). While their relationship with European integration is more complex than it would first seem, they are often also eurosceptic (Vasilopoulou 2018). By the…
Until 2017, Germany was an exception to the success of radical right parties in postwar Europe. We provide new evidence for the transformation of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) to a radical right party drawing upon social media data. Further, we demonstrate that the AfD’s electorate now matches the radical right template of other countries and that its trajectory mirrors the ideological shift of the party. Using data from the 2013 to 2017 series of German Longitudinal Elections Study (GLES) tracking polls, we employ multilevel modeling to test our argument on support for the AfD. We find the AfD’s support now resembles the image of European radical right voters. Specifically, general right-wing views and negative attitudes towards immigration have become the main motivation to vote for the AfD. This, together with the increased salience of immigration and the AfD’s new ideological profile, explains the party’s rise.
1 Introduction: Voting for the Radical Right Within the larger field of Radical Right studies, the question of why people vote for Radical Right Parties (RRPs) has attracted a large (perhaps disproportionally so) chunk of scholarly attention. There are at least three reasons for this. First, the early (and rather humble) electoral successes of the…
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly-formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinary well in the 2013 General election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the Euro and argued for a re-configuration of Germany’s foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and europhobe.
On the basis of the party’s manifesto and of hundreds of statements the party has posted on the internet, this article demonstrates that the AfD does indeed occupy a position at the far-right of the German party system, but it is currently neither populist nor does it belong to the family of Radical Right parties. Moreover, its stance on European Integration is more nuanced than expected and should best be classified as soft eurosceptic.
Gideon Botsch hat eine knappe Gesamtdarstellung der deutschen extremen Rechten nach 1945 vorgelegt, die einen komprimierten, aber sehr gut lesbaren Überblick über mehr als sechs Jahrzehnte bundesdeutschen Rechtsextremismus gibt. Bedauerlich ist das durch das Format erzwungene Fehlen von Fußnoten und der weitgehende Verzicht auf Belege im Text, Ein weiteres Problem liegt darin, dass die Darstellung fast vollständig ohne einen theoretischen Unterbau auskommt. Das Buch sollte vor allem als Nachschlagewerk betrachtet werden, mit dessen Hilfe sich die Studierenden rasch das notwendige zeitgeschichtliche Hintergrundwissen erschließen können.
West European right-wing extremist parties have received a great deal of attention over the past two decades due to their electoral success. What has received less coverage, however, is the fact that these parties have not enjoyed a consistent level of electoral support across Western Europe during this period. This article puts forward an explanation of the variation in the right-wing extremist party vote across Western Europe that incorporates a wider range of factors than have been considered previously. It begins by examining the impact of socio-demographic variables on the right-wing extremist party vote. Then, it turns its attention to a whole host of structural factors that may potentially affect the extreme right party vote, including institutional, party-system and conjunctural variables. The article concludes with an assessment of which variables have the most power in explaining the uneven electoral success of right-wing extremist parties across Western Europe. The findings go some way towards challenging the conventional wisdom as to how the advance of the parties of the extreme right may be halted.
My monograph on the Extreme Right vote in Western Europe covers the EU-15 states plus Norway and Switzerland from 1980 to 2003 [in German]
Seit den frühen 1980er Jahren haben sich die Parteien der Extremen Rechten – manchmal auch als Radikale Rechte, Neue Rechte oder Populistische Rechte bezeichnet – als neue Parteienfamilie in Westeuropa etabliert. Fast jeder der alten EU-Mitgliedsstaaten sowie Norwegen und die Schweiz mußte sich in diesem Zeitraum mit einer oder mehreren dieser Parteien auseinandersetzen, deren Verhältnis zur liberalen Demokratie häufig als problematisch erscheint. Dieses Buch untersucht die Wählerschaft dieser Parteien. Ein Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf dem Zusammenspiel von Mikro- und Makro-Faktoren, das das Wahlverhalten zugunsten dieser Parteien erklären kann.
Why is support for the Extreme Right unstable over time and uneven across countries? This study covers the joint effect of micro and macro factors on the Extreme Right vote in all EU-15 countries plus Switzerland and Norway from 1980 to 2002. The main finding is that while immigration and unemployment rates are important, their interaction with other political factors is much more complex than suggested by previous research. Moreover, persistent country effects prevail even if individual and contextual variables are controlled for.
This article examines the relationship between Christian religiosity and the support for radical right parties in Western Europe. Drawing on theories of electoral choice and on socio-psychological literature largely ignored by scholars of electoral behaviour, it suggests and tests a number of competing hypotheses. The findings demonstrate that while religiosity has few direct effects, and while religious people are neither more nor less hostile towards ethnic minorities and thereby neither more nor less prone to vote for a radical right party, they are not ‘available’ to these parties because they are still firmly attached to Christian Democratic or conservative parties. However, given increasing de-alignment, this ‘vaccine effect’ is likely to become weaker with time.