AfD as accompanying music – 7 reasons why the Trump scam is not working for us

The rise of the AfD and its recent decisions on foreign policy – the demolition of the EU, farewell to NATO and the euro – worry many, including abroad. The general perception: Germany is drifting.

But this feeling and the facts have decoupled. Right-wing populism, which swept from the USA to Germany like Jeans, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, has potential for excitement in Germany, but no prospects of power. There are seven solid reasons why the Trump scam isn’t working for us: 

Reason 1: The Trumpists are attacking the classic institutions of the state. The Germans love them. Trump – and meanwhile also his Republican challengers – are conducting an aggressive and media campaign against the main institutions of the state.

Trump likes himself in the nefarious attacker’s pose

Ron DeSantis says the US military is now more interested in “global warming and gender ideology” than national security. Trump doubts the independence of the electoral system and denounces the judiciary as the fifth column of the Democrats.

This campaign falls on fertile ground in the United States. The New York Times reported yesterday: “American confidence in their institutions has fallen to an all-time low. Republicans are feeding that deep distrust.”

In Germany, on the other hand, a clear majority of the population trusts the police, the courts and the education system. Everyone knows that our state is sluggish and cumbersome, but not politically malicious.

Reason 2: Trump likes to pose as a nefarious attacker, the Germans fear gamblers. The American ex-president does not avoid any political scuffle. He loves the duel situation.

He called Hillary Clinton “crooked” (in English: dishonest, crooked), he called Joe Biden “sleepy Joe”, in the current primary campaign he described his Republican, Italian-born competitor Ron DeSantis as “meatball Ron”.

At Trump’s side stands a journalistic empire

You can’t score a hit in Germany with a rowdy demeanor and the hysterical tone of a demagogue. Two world wars and the breach of civilization in the Nazi era still have the effect of a protective vaccination.

Despite their electoral success and a poll high, three quarters of the population do not rate politician Björn Höcke and the AfD as democratic, but as right-wing extremist parties, as a recent Forsa poll showed.

Reason 3: At Trump’s side stands a journalistic empire, at the side of the German Trumpists there are only Mickey Mouse media.

Donald Trump can rely on Fox’s national television network. Star presenters Jesse Watters, Sean Hannity and Greg Gutfeld – who now triple CNN in prime time ratings – are more important to him than any party body. The man behind it, 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch, plays a similar role in the US today as German publisher Alfred Hugenberg did in the Weimar Republic.

The AfD does not have such a media fighting machine that it could start at the push of a button. The drummers of their content – from Boris Reitschuster to Roland Tichy to Julian Reichelt – are members of an army of tin soldiers. They glow brightly but have no firepower.#

America has a “The Winner Takes It All” voting system

All major publishers – from Friede Springer to Hubert Burda to Dieter von Holtzbrinck – would rather have their hands cut off than even bend a finger for the AfD. They form a journalistic firewall that stands. Political problems are not glossed over in their media, but neither are they exploited to the detriment of democracy.

Reason 4: America has a “The Winner Takes It All” voting system; anyone who wants to govern in Germany needs coalition partners. In the US majority voting system, it is enough to be the strongest party.

The winner gets to move into the White House without a partner. In German proportional representation, the winner of the election needs one or more coalition partners immediately, otherwise his victory will fade away. The isolation brought about by the AfD itself is therefore not good enough to open up any prospects of power.

Reason 5: Trump is benefiting from the erosion of the middle class, which does not exist in Germany. The “Make America Great Again” campaign is also taking off in America because the middle class is going through a difficult time.

The deindustrialization of the past few decades, the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of Hollywood, the digital industry and Wall Street have hit small and medium-sized workers badly.

Trump has advocates and financiers in the US economy

Erosion processes in mainstream society are also undeniable in Germany, but a strong and expensive welfare state prevents millions of people from becoming impoverished. There are no tent cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Right-wing populism thus lacks a social basis.

Reason 6: Trump has advocates and financiers in the US economy, the German company bosses keep the AfD at a distance.

A large number of American billionaires – Forbes Magazine identified 133 of them – supported Donald Trump in 2020. The war chest of right-wing populism in the USA is bulging this time too.

In Germany, on the other hand, this till is empty. There is no DAX group and no prominent family business that is committed to the AfD. Entrepreneurship may grumble, but it keeps its distance.

The AfD is just weird background music

Reason 7: US democracy is defended by an old man. The political class in Germany is not perfect, but much more vital. Joe Biden, 80, for all his frailty, rivals gerontological autocracies anywhere in the world. The man stumbles and stammers through the evening news. Every campaign appearance becomes an obstacle course for him. 

The political class in Germany is not perfect, but it is much younger. With Annalena Baerbock, Robert Habeck, Christian Lindner, Volker Wissing, Sahra Wagenknecht, Hendrik Wüst and Daniel Günther, she has vital forces that can be presented at any time.

Olaf Scholz and Friedrich Merz are also 15 and 13 years younger than Joe Biden. Overall, the powerful here represent the people, which cannot be said of the quartet of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi. The four are together 321 years old.

Hank Peter

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