Caption: Björn Höcke, top candidate and regional chairman of the AfD Thuringia, gesticulates during his appearance at the start of the election campaign of the AfD in Thuringia.
It seems the legacy media in Germany view the supporters of Björn Höcke and the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) in much the same way as our media view the MAGA-hat-wearing Trump-voting “deplorables”.
And they couldn’t be more blatant about what they’re doing: they chose to illustrate this piece with the photo at the top of this post, in a heavy-handed attempt to smear Mr. Höcke as a Hitler wannabe.
For a subtitled version of the interview that prompted this op-ed, see this post.
Many thanks to MissPiggy for translating this article from the daily Berliner Kurier:
Commentary on the election in Thuringia: The perverse desire to vote AfD
According to the latest survey, the AfD may reach 25 percent in Thuringia. 25 percent for Björn Höcke, the leader of the ultra-right wing of the AfD, a right-wing extremist who is a secret admirer of Hitler, at least in his use of language.
Assuming that the majority of these voters are not right-wing extremists, what drives them to elect such a man? Because they have all been left behind, because they are in a bad way? That cannot be, because Thuringia is a prosperous region with the lowest unemployment rate in the East. Or do they really choose to vote this way because the bus routes have been cut, or too many rural doctors close down their practices?
No, it’s something else. You can imagine them sitting in front of the TV at home and watching the new polls excitedly: “Now we’re really showing those Wessis [West Germans] and those weirdos in Berlin — now we’re driving them crazy. That’s what they get for not paying attention to us for years.” There’s just no rational explanation other than possible psychopathology.
For this kind of voter, the election of the AfD is obviously a big game, and they’re enjoy themselves greatly. But it is playing with fire. If Björn Höcke is elected, once he is able to come into power the time of such games is over. That’s when it really becomes authoritarian. Then nobody can say what he thinks except for his sworn followers. The freedoms which Thuringians enjoy today, that they are intentionally exhausting so radically with their electoral intentions, will be buried once and for all. When will these voters realise that they are digging their own grave?