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Why now? A chronological analysis of right-wing electoral outcomes in Germany : 1998 - present

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Why now? A chronological analysis of right-wing electoral outcomes in Germany : 1998 - present
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Hamrick, David
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English

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Master's ( Master of arts)
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University of Colorado Denver
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Department of Political Science, CU Denver
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Political science
Committee Chair:
Stefes, Christoph
Committee Members:
Berry, Michael
Spehn, Thorsten

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WHY NOW? A CHRONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF RIGHT-WING ELECTORAL OUTCOMES IN GERMANY:
1998-PRESENT
by
DAVID HAMRICK
B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2011
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Political Science Program
2019


©2019
DAVID HAMRICK ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ii


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by David Hamrick has been approved for the Political Science Program
by
Christoph Stefes, Chair Michael Berry Thorsten Spehn


Hamrick, David (MA Political Science Program)
Why Now? A Chronological Analysis of Right-Wing Electoral Outcomes in Germany: 1998-Present Thesis directed by Christoph Stefes
ABSTRACT
In the 2017 Federal Election, the right-wing Alternative fur Deutschland became the third largest party in the German Bundestag, signaling that European right-wing populism is on the rise in Germany. Given the low electoral success of the far-right in the several decades following German reunification, why has Germany seen such a sudden and rapid increase in right-wing vote share? By analyzing election results and demographic variables over the past several decades, I find support for the contact hypothesis to explain a gradual correlation between xenophobic voting tendencies and ethnically homogenous geographies within Germany beginning in the mid 2000’s.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Christoph Stefes
IV


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. WHAT IS POPULISM?.................................................1
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
The Populist Voter................................................5
Democratic Deconsolidation and Windows of Opportunity.............7
German Political Culture Following Reunification.................10
III. METHODOLOGY AND ANALYSIS.......................................12
IV. DISCUSSION.....................................................27
V. CONCLUSION.....................................................30
REFERENCES.............................................................34
v


CHAPTER I
WHAT IS POPULISM?
Following the Brexit vote, the surprise election of Donald Trump, and the rise of successful right-wing parties in Europe, there has been a renewed academic interest in populism, especially in efforts to explain such a seemingly unlikely shift in Western politics. Populism is certainly not a new phenomenon, and the existing literature which will be explored in this study provides a rich history of scholarship on populism throughout the 20th century.
What is striking is the rising level of support for right-wing populist politics in Germany compared to the low electoral success of the right immediately following the end of communism and German reunification. This study seeks to provide answers for why there has been such a dramatic increase in support for right-wing populism in Germany in recent elections compared to the 1990’s when right-wing populists managed to only gain a tiny fraction of the vote. By searching for the underlying causes of electoral support for right-wing populist parties, the study will seek to uncover what changes occurred between the 1990’s and now which led to the electoral success of the AfD, Germany’s newest right-wing populist party. In chapter one, I explore Kaltwasser and Mudde’s (2013) definition of populism in the Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies as well as scholarship on the history of populism to serve as a starting point for identifying populism in Germany. In chapter two, I address a broad spectrum of literature related to populism. I analyze existing studies and data on the populist voter, democratic deconsolidation, its relation to populist movements, and windows of opportunity for populist forces to garner support I also explore scholarship on German political culture leading up to and following the end of communism. In chapter 3,1 analyze election data as well as changes in immigration, employment, and poverty over the last several decades to search for correlations between demographic changes and right-wing vote share which may contribute to the rise in right-wing populist support. In chapter 4,1 argue
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that rational and economic theories do not fully explain the rise of populism in Germany, and look to the literature on the contact hypothesis to explain anti-immigrant voting trends leading up the success of the AfD in the 2017 German Federal Election. In chapter 5,1 reexamine arguments from the literature suggesting that the rise of right-wing populism also contains a cultural reaction to pluralism stemming from the integration of the former GDR into the larger European and global community.
The term populism has been used to describe a variety of political styles and movements dating back to the late 19th century.(Mudde and Kaltwasser 2013) Mudde and Kaltwasser (2013) identify populism as a political movement which a key element is popular sovereighty. They describe populism as antagonistic, promoting the moral superiority of "the people” over the corrupt elites. (Mudde and Kaltwasser, 2018) The theme of an antagonistic style of politics which plays popular sovereignty against an out-of-touch elite used by Mudde and Kaltwasser(2013) as a way to distinguish populists from other political parties. Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) argue that populism is not itself an ideology, but rather a discourse which must attach itself to a political ideology such as socialism or conservativism. Though populist parties will often embrace recognizable left or right-wing positions, what distinguishes them as populist rather than liberal, socialist, Christian democrat, ect is the antagonistic attitude they will take toward a perceived immoral or corrupt group or groups which they claim is actively working against the needs of the people and suppressing popular sovereignty. (Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017)
The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideology (2013) identifies three distinct types of populism which correspond to several populist movements dating back to the late 19th century. This study will examine the rise of right-wing populism in Europe following the collapse of communism, which is identified in the Oxford Handbook as European Xenophobic Populism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde 2013) The political parties which represent this movement follow the typical anti-elite, antagonistic style of populism, and also highly emphasize national identity and are highly critical of liberal
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immigration policies. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) In addition, these parties have been characterized as critical of the press, unsupportive of an independent judiciary, and having low support for minority rights. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Like their left-wing populist counterparts, they are Euroskeptic. (Blyth, 2016) However, because European right-wing populism is essentially nationalist populism, a key argument in its discourse is that EU elites are undermining national sovereignty regarding immigration policy. (Blyth, 2016) This contrasts left-wing Euroscepticism which tends to focus criticism on how the EU handled the Euro sovereign debt crisis. (Blyth 2016) For example, in a BBC expose on French populism, a National Front supporter argues that the current French government places a high priority on social welfare programs for immigrants while ignoring the needs of the French working class. (BBC News, 2017)
The Oxford Handbook traces European Xenophobic Populism to the 1980’s, leading up to the collapse of communism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) This study seeks to understand what conditions changed between the 1990’s and now which allowed for massive increases in right-wing populist support in Germany in recent elections compared to the 1990's when right-wing populist were receiving a very low vote share. The rise of populism in Germany is especially fascinating given its economic success following German reunification and the collapse of communism, which seems to run contrary to economic theories of populist support which tend to explain populism as a reaction to a decrease in economic opportunity among certain demographics. Furthermore, in Germany, right-wing parties were consistently polling quite low following reunification and have only recently enjoyed electoral success.
Right-wing populist parties have existed in Germany since the 1980’s, most notably the right-wing Republican party (Die Republikaner), which emphasized German nationalism its platforms (Mudde, 2002), as well as the National Democratic Party (NDP), which has ties to extreme-right nationalist ideologies (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019) Die Republikaner has achieved only nominal electoral success, at times even polling lower than the more extreme-right
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NDP in elections. The most recent right-wing populist party in Germany is the AfD (Alternative fur Deutschland), formed in 2013, which has achieved much more electoral success and gained seats in the Bundestag following the 2017 federal election.
Though right-wing populist positions are often nationalist and anti-immigration, it is important to make clear the distinctions between populism and extreme-right authoritarianism. The key element in populism is anti-elitism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Populists embrace the moral superiority of the general will of the community over individual autonomy which makes them appear democratic but anti-liberal, liberalism being an ideology which prioritizes individual rights and liberty over collective values. However, populists will sometimes legitimize attacks on groups which they consider to interfere with the homogeneity of the nation or community. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) BBC interviews with AfD supporters point to a belief among populists that migrants pose a threat to European stability because they do not embrace European culture or values, with racist undertones in some of the comments of those interviewed. (BBC,
2017)
Mudde and Kaltwasser (2018) argue that populism proposes an illiberal democracy to counter an undemocratic liberalism. However, the idea that democracy may not have to include a free press or an independent judiciary seems to part ways with mainstream notions of democracy. Contrary to populism, far-right authoritarianism is both pro-elite and undemocratic. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) For example, the right-wing regime in Chile led by Augusto Pinochet ruled under the notion that elites are superior to the common people and therefore should rule under undemocratic institutions. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) While critics have accused right-wing populist parties of embracing anti-democratic policies, the underlying message of populism is antielite rather than anti-democracy.(Kaltwasser and Mudde 2013) Their message is not one of totalitarian social control, but rather a representation of what they consider to be the moral superiority of the majority. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Populist movements differ from extreme
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right movements in that their preferred method of governance relies on a notion of popular sovereignty and popular support (Kaltwasser and Mudde 213) rather than hard power and militarism, though the antagonistic attitude of populists can easily be interpreted as a call for violence.
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CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
The Populist Voter
There is a great deal of scholarship which characterizes the political priorities of the populist voter as well as theoretical frameworks explaining the motivation of populist supporters. Unsurprisingly, data which will be explored in the review the literature indicates that antiimmigrant sentiment is a high priority in vote choice among supporters of European Xenophobic Populist parties. Key findings include a strong connection between anti-immigrant sentiment and a vote for the AfD(Hansen and Oslen, 2018), less tolerance of immigrants among populist-right supporters in the Netherlands(Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017), and perceived group threat precipitating support for radical right parties in the Netherlands and Germany( Berning and Schlueter, 2016).
Surveys of voters in Germany and the Netherlands have also found that right-wing populist supporters are more likely to be less trustful of government and politics (Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017, Hansen and Olson, 2018). This is unsurprising given the anti-system message of populist discourse and its promise to remove corrupt elites from power.
Much of the literature studying populism and anti-immigrant attitudes seems to represent attempts to test the hypothesis that low-income workers are more likely to view immigrants as competition for jobs and resources. Scheve and Slaughter famously tested this view in their Ethnic Competition Hypothesis and found that native citizens in the US will express hostility toward immigrants if they fear that immigration will lead to tougher competition for jobs. (Scheve and Slaughter, 1999) Similarly, Berning and Schlueter (2016) found that perceived group threat precipitates rather than follows support for right-wing populism in a survey of populist supporters in the Netherlands and Germany. Arzheimer (2009) concludes that while immigration and
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unemployment are important factors in right-wing voting in Western Europe, they must be understood in a more complex context. There is also sufficient evidence in the literature to reject the premise of conflict theory in relation to populist support, or at least only include it as a small part of a larger narrative. Studies by Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) and Marx and Schumacher (2018) have linked low educational achievement to support for right-wing populists. However, Hansen and Olsen (2018) found little evidence to support a "losers of globalization” hypothesis in their study of AfD voters and concluded that the AfD pulled votes from every socioeconomic demographic. The same study also found connections between AfD voters, antiimmigrant sentiment, and fear about the economy, further suggesting that while conflict theory may play a role in populist voter support, it should be understood within a more complex framework. (Hansen and Olsen 2018)
Other scholars have emphasized the role of fear or anxiety as a motivation toward voting for populist candidates or parties. Obschonka et al (2018) found that neurotic personality traits positively contributed to votes for Trump and Brexit. They also consider personal neuroticism as a "sleeper” variable which may be leveraged by populist forces to garner support. (Obschonka et al 2018) Likewise, Hansen and Olson (2018) found fear about the economy to corelate to votes for the AfD. As previously mentioned, these findings do not conclude that populist supporters are primarily low-income individuals but rather individuals from many socio-economic backgrounds who share common fears including anxiety about their economic future.
The literature also explores the role of anti-immigrant sentiment in perceived threats to cultural identity and its role in populist vote choice. Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) conclude that right-wing populist voters seem to embrace a cultural attitude of exclusion. Likewise, Molodikova and Lyalina (2017) point to new studies which suggest that negative attitudes toward immigrants is based largely on personal convictions that immigrants pose a threat to the identity of
7


their country, contrary to prior studies suggesting that anti-immigrant attitudes are largely based on economic insecurity resulting from increased numbers of migrants.
These finding represent a broad overview of the characteristics of what motivates a vote for a right-wing populist party or candidate. While this is an important aspect of explaining the rise of populism in Germany, there are other specifics unique to Germany which must be understood to explain the shift in populist support over the last several decades. The findings of the literature identifying the populist voter will be brought into this context in chapter four to establish a more complete understanding of what changes have occurred which resulted in the rise of populism in Germany, and offer an additional explanation for the success of the AfD in the 2017 Federal Election.
Democratic Deconsolidation and Windows of Opportunity
In addition to defining the characteristics of the populist voter, conditions necessary for the success of populism are addressed in the literature by exploring the process of democratic consolidation and conditions which create windows of opportunity for populist forces to garner support Over twenty years ago, Linz and Stepan (1996) presented an outline of the conditions necessary for democratic consolidation. Not surprisingly, they found that non-violent transitions of power through election are vital. (Linz and Stepan 1996) Also, they argued that a majority of the citizens must believe that liberal democracy has a unique legitimacy which cannot be matched by other forms of government (Linz and Stepan 1996) The recent success of populism in Western democracies has led to new scholarship which reexamines this argument and explores conditions under which democracy can become deconsolidated. Loa and Mounk (2017) argue that democratic consolidation is not necessarily permanent, that democratic norms can lose legitimacy when the citizens become dissatisfied with the democratically elected government and begin to look for alternatives such as ‘anti-system’ parties and candidates, and that the deconsolidation process can
8


be measured through time to predict the rise of populism. A study published in 2017 found that support for democratic institutions in the US has been steadily declining over the past several decades, with only 30% of Americans born after 1980 agreeing that it is "absolutely important” to live in a democracy where 72% of respondents born before World War II agreed. (Howe 2017) Though this study only focuses on one country, it does show that support for democratic norms can become destabilized in a previously consolidated democracy, and provides empirical evidence for Foa and Mounk’s claim that democratic deconsolidation can be measured through time to predict the rise of populism. Also important in this study is evidence that liberal norms can become detached from notions of democracy. For example, only 32% of US respondents born after 1980 agreed that it is "absolutely essential” in a democracy that "civil rights protect people’s liberty” compared with 41% of respondents born before or slightly after World War II. (Howe 2017) These results suggest that generational shifts in political culture can move away from democratic consolidation as well as towards it, and that notions of democracy can become detached from liberal values within a society which considers itself democratic.
The antagonistic, anti-system style of populism necessitates that its vote share coincides with the number of voters who are frustrated with the established political system. Therefore, if populism is on the rise in a consolidated democracy, it may signal the early warning signs of democratic deconsolidation. (Foa and Mounk, 2017) Furthermore, Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) suggest that the right-wing populist vote is often a protest vote against a liberal status quo, though populist voters themselves do not represent a preference for a more authoritarian political system, while Foa and Mounk (2017)provide evidence that support for liberal democracy is indeed declining in Western countries which are considered consolidated democracies.
Scholarship on populism has pointed to windows of opportunity in which populists can capitalize and garner increased support Brubaker (2017) argues that because crisis is an essential feature of populism, populists thrive in times of actual or perceived crisis. The 2008 recession,
9


Euro sovereign debt crisis, and terror attacks against the West would fall into this category, and increased support for populism can be explained as a response to such events. (Brubaker, 2017) Likewise, the literature explores other, more structural, elements which can create windows of opportunity for populists such as the rise of social media as an alternative to traditional political mobilization methods(Brubaker, 2017), low electoral thresholds (Jackman and Volpert,1996), and proportional systems (Jackman and Volpert, 1996). While these arguments certainly fit into the narrative of the rise of populism, they fail to paint a complete explanatory model and are at times seriously flawed. For example, Western democracies have faced crisis in the past without experiencing a surge in populist support The terror attacks of 9/11 did not usher in a populist electoral wave in the US. Nor did the collapse of communism in the GDR result in high levels of support for German populists such as Die Republikaner, despite this party’s anti-establishment platform and strong call for German reunification. Similarly, the proportional system and the low electoral threshold in Germany existed in the 1990’s when right-wing populists were polling quite low. Though there is a certain logic to the idea of populists benefitting from conditions which create windows of opportunity for populist mobilization, this element fits into a larger framework which will be explored in the following chapters.
German Political Culture following Reunification
The dissolution of the GDR in 1990 coincided with the reunification of a nation which had been divided into two separate States for over 40 years. This makes the German experience especially unique regarding the end of the Cold War. (Botsch, 2012) Also, as both data and existing literature suggest, the history of a divided Germany and the reunification process created a uniqueness to the communist transition period of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s which differentiated it from that of other European countries. (Botsch, 2012) Because right-wing populism appeals to notions of political culture and identity, in order to understand the rise of German populism in recent years, it is important to examine the communist transition period and
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the effect it had on German political culture as well as in establishing a reunified German cultural identity.
Following the dissolution of communism, it became evident that there was an extreme-right movement in the former GDR which was electorally unsuccessful in the 1990’s but did achieve some, though minimal, success in the Eastern Lander in the 2000’s. (Botsch, 2012) Botsch (2012) points to the ban of extreme right parties in the GDR, lack of experience in political mobilization during the 1990’s, the push for rapid reunification persuading most voters to support the CDU, and increased skill in political mobilization going into the 2000’s as the most likely explanations for why extreme right parties began to have increased success in the Eastern Lander during the 2000’s compared to their very low success in the 1990’s.
Dalton and Weldon (2010) explore three aspects of political culture which may have differed between the FGR and GDR during reunification: images of national identity, support for democracy, and images of socialism and the state’s role in providing economic security. Their findings indicate lingering regional variations in political culture between the former GDR and the rest of Germany that continued to exist 20 years after reunification. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010)
Both East and West Germans reported high levels of support for liberal democracy in 1990. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) However, a 1991 survey found that Easterners were more critical of the FGR government than Westerners. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) Dalton and Weldon (2010) find that while support for democracy remains high across Germany, criticism of democracy in practice continues to be higher in the former GDR regions and that the political culture of this region has continued to favor a more expansive role for the State. Furthermore, they find that while survey data has shown a continued increase of a shared national identity among all Germans since the 1990’s, there remains among many easterners a lingering East German identity even though they reject the values of the GDR regime. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) Gotz (2016) suggests that new studies point to German feelings of national pride and identity as much more complex and context
11


related than previously observed. On the one hand, there was an intense effort to reunite Germans under a single identity following the end of communism but also a strong aversion to anything which would provoke xenophobic sentiments as an expression of national unity. (Gotz, 2016) Gotz (2016) points to early divisions between liberals and conservatives as to the degree in which national pride should be expressed during the reunification period, as well as the emergence of East and West German stereotypes and efforts to combat these. Following the German Nationality Law in 2000 which allowed birthright citizenship for the children of immigrants, a campaign was launched to pluralize German identity and encourage the inclusion of immigrants in German society. (Gotz, 2016) Gotz (2016) concludes that a denationalization has occurred in Germany, which may also be present in other European countries, in which political multiculturalism has replaced the old system of nation-states, and also a renationalization as a reaction to multiculturalism which is expressed in right-wing populist forces. Furthermore, she references the 'culturalization of citizenship’ from Tonkens et al (2008) in which ‘the process by which culture (emotions, feelings, cultural norms and values and cultural symbols and traditions, including religion) has come to play a central role in the debate on social integration’. (Gotz, 2016, p.818) This phenomenon exemplifies the typical justification for anti-immigrant attitudes among populists who will offer a distinction between productive immigrants and those who are a burden on the welfare system. (Gotz, 2016)
Molodikova and Lyalina (2017) argue that the success of the AfD is directly related to the influx of asylum seekers coupled with high unemployment. They point to empirical data which ties the percentage of AfD representation in the Landstag to the percentage increase in asylum seekers per Lander. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) Also, they explore survey data which shows a rise in several key attitudes which may explain the rise in AfD support. Reported fears, about terrorism, incoming immigrants, and rise in crime, increased from 45% in the beginning of 2014 to 77% by July 2015, and Germany is also one of five European countries where a majority associate terrorism
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with migrants, with over 60% surveyed sharing this view. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) Hansen and Olsen (2018) observe that the AfD began to achieve more electoral success as it became more anti-immigrant and argue that in the 2017 Federal Election the AfD pulled votes from all parties among voters with whom immigration was the most important issue. They also argue that the AfD represents a protest vote fueled by frustration with German politics. (Hansen and Olsen, 2018)
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CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY AND ANALYSIS
The seemingly sudden decline of the CDU coinciding with the emergence of the AfD as a viable party in Germany provokes questions into how this unlikely shift was made possible. The literature points to several key elements which explain why populism is on the rise in Western democracies. In order to address a large variety of the populist literature as well as the chronological nature of the inquiry, this chapter will draw on empirical evidence to test quantitative elements that can be used to explain the shift toward increased support for right-wing populism in Germany. Using election results as a dependent variable, several other key variables will be compared between the 1990’s, 2000’s, and mid 2010’s to look for relational trends indicating a relationship to the rise in populist support. These variables were chosen because they can be easily tied to indicators of populist support from the reviewed literature. The scholarship explored in the literature review contains both rational and cultural theories which point to various forms of anxiety about immigration, national identity, and unemployment as indicators of populist support. For this reason, the quantitative method of this study will use immigration data, poverty indicators, and unemployment through time to measure possible scenarios which would lead to an increase in the anxieties associated with populism in the literature. This study hypothesizes that populist vote share is positively correlated to increases in poverty, unemployment, and immigration, and that a trend in this direction will be observable through time. In this way it will seek to confirm much of the existing literature by assuming that increases in poverty, unemployment, and immigration will indicate the conditions necessary for the anxieties associated with right-wing populist voting trends in the literature. Demographic data was obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. This includes percentage of citizens at risk of poverty based
14


on regional poverty standards for years 2000, 2005, and 2017, foreigners as a percentage of total population for years 2000, 2005, and 2015, and unemployment rates for years 2000, 2005, and 2017. Election data from the 1998 and 2005 Federal Elections was obtained through the European Election Database, and election results for the 2017 Federal Election was obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. These years were chosen in order to present a large enough sample size to measure chronological trends in voting, economic changes, and immigration while controlling for other cultural variables which may have had a greater impact on vote choice during the reunification period of the early 1990’s than in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s. Also, beginning the measurement period in 1998 will help to control for two possibilities for the right’s low electoral success in the 1990’s offered by Botsch (2012), the lack of political mobilization skills on the right and the strong push for rapid reunification in the early 1990’s which Botsch (2012) claims primarily benefitted the CDU. Because the Dalton and Weld (2010) address regional variations in political culture and attitudes towards democracy resulting from the split and eventual reunification of the FDR and GDR, each variable was measured by Federal State to observe possible regional variations in the rise of right-wing populist support
The following maps show the election results for right-wing populist parties through time. There is a clear temporal distinction in levels of populist support as well as apparent regional variation in support of the AfD. While the AfD has out-performed previous right-wing populist parties, it has performed especially well in the northeastern Lander, the geographical area of the former GDR. Also, there does not appear to be a distinct temporal correlation between regional support for right-wing populists. Regions with higher levels of support for Die Republikaner and the NDP in the 1990’s do not correspond to regions with high levels of support for the AfD in recent elections. Another initial observation is that support for the CDU is lower in regions which have higher support for the AfD.
15


CDU/CSU Vote Share 2017 Federal Election
AfD Vote Share 2017 Federal Election
Legend
AfD Vote Share I I 7.8-8.2
I I 8.2-10.1
I I 10.1-12.4
â–¡ 12.4-22.7 â–  22.7-27.0
16


Combined Rep and NDP Vote Share 1998 Federal Election
Combined Rep and NDP Vote Share 2005 Federal Election
Figure 1
Maps by David Hamrick. Election data obtained from Genesis-Online Datenbank: Federal Statistical Office of Germany December, 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0. Boundary data obtained from Diva-GIS 2019, http://www.diva-gis.org/gdata. Maps were created using QGIS software: QGIS Development Team, 2016 QGIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project http://qgis.osgeo.org.
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The AfD had its largest 2017 vote share in regions where immigrant populations as a percentage of total population have remained low compared to the rest of Germany (see Figure 1). This points to an important element in the literature profiling the right-wing populist voter as someone whose anti-immigrant sentiment has more to do with personal beliefs that immigrants pose a threat to national or cultural identity rather than the theory that anti-immigrant attitudes largely relate to increased numbers of migrants. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) This trend also coincides with a study in Hungary which found that those who had the least contact with migrants had the highest levels of negative attitudes toward immigrants. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017)
S 15
2017 Right-wing Populist Vote Share and 2015 Foreign Population by Lander
BRANDENBURG
. SACHSEN-ANHALT
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
RHEINLAND-PFALZ
SAARLAND
NIEDERSACHSEN *
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN
BREMEN
---•----
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
6 8 10 12 FOREIGNERS AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL POPULATION 2015
Figure 2.1
Negative correlation between 2017 AfD vote share and foreign-born population as a percentage of total population in 2015 by Lander. Data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0
18


Also, there does not appear to be a correlation between changes in poverty rates and AfD support. While there are elevated poverty levels in some regions where the AfD performed well, there are also elevated poverty levels in regions where the AfD gained much less support For example, the AfD won on 9.4% of the vote in Nordrhein-Westfalen compared to Sachsen-Anhalt where the AfD won 19.6% despite both Lander having similar poverty rates in 2017. Also, overall poverty has declined in regions where the AfD performed best
2017 AfD Vote Share and Poverty Rate by Lander
brXndenburg
\# SACHSEN-ANHALT
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN '
HESSEN BERLIN
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
NL^ND-F
NIEDERSACHSEN ±
• NORDRHEIN-'WESTFALEN
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN •
8 10 12 PERCENT Of CmZENS AT RISK OF POVERTY 2017
Negative correlation between 2017 AfD vote share and 2017 percentage of citizens at risk of poverty. Risk of poverty is measured as percentage of citizens whose income is below 60% of the regional median. Data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0
19


In addition to these initial observations, bivariate correlation analysis was run comparing the dependent variable (election results) with the independent variables (poverty, unemployment, immigration) using data from three federal election years as well as using percent change through time over the past several decades. AfD support in the 2017 election by Lander was negatively correlated to percent of citizens at risk of poverty by Lander, with an r value of -0.87, meaning that those Lander with the highest percent of citizens at risk of poverty coincided with low levels of support for the AfD. This is also similar to data from 2005 in which there was a slightly negative correlation between poverty and combined support for Die Republikaner and the NDP, with an r value of-0.48. Likewise, 2017 AfD support was negatively correlated to the percentage of foreigners living in each Lander in 2015, with an rvalue of -0.71 meaning that the AfD performed better in the Lander with the least percentage of immigrants. Going back several election cycles, a temporal pattern emerges of increased negative correlation between percentage of foreigners per Lander and support for right-wing populism and extreme right parties. Comparing combined support for Die Republikaner and the NDP by Lander in 1998 with the percentage of foreigners by Lander in 2000 yields no correlation, with an r value of 0.1. However, these variables measured in 2005 begin to become more negatively correlated, with an r value of -0.55, then, as shown above, even more negatively correlated by the mid 2010’s. These comparisons suggest a trend emerging in the early 2000’s in which support for right-wing populists increasingly coincides with the cultural homogeneity of the Lander. However, when comparing the percent change in right-wing populist support between the 1998 and 2017 elections and the change in the percent of foreigners by Lander between 2000 and 2015, there is a slight positive correlation, with an r value of 0.67. Percent change in the number of foreigners in Lander where populist support is highest tends to also be higher, while the total percentage of foreigners living here remains low compared to the rest of Germany.
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1998 Right-wing Populist Vote Share and 2000 Foreigner Population by Lander
BRANDENBURG
THURINGEN
• MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
SACHSEN-ANHALT
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
RHEINLAND-PFALZ
NIEDERSACHSEN
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN
HESSEN
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
6 8 10 12 FOREIGNERS AS A PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL POPULATION
Figure 3.1
Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP vote share in the 1998 Federal Election by Lander and foreigners as a percentage of the total population by Lander in 2000. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by- 2 - 0
21


2005 Populist Right-wing Populist Vote Share and Foreign Population by Lander
NIEDERSACHSEN
BRANDENBURG
SACHSEN-ANHALT
RHEINLAND-PFALZ BAYERN
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
gfcEMEN
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
6 8 10 FOREIGNERS AS A PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL POPULATION 2005
Figure 3.2
Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP vote share in the 2005 Federal Election by Lander and foreigners as a percentage of the total population by Lander in 2005. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by- 2 - 0
22


Percent Change in Right-Wing Populist Vote Share and Immigrant Population in
German Lander 1998-2017
w 1500.00%
5
0.00% ------
-20.00%
Figure 3.4
SACHSEN-ANHALT
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
.THtfRINGEN
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
NIEDERSACHSEN NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN «
..... BAYERN RHEINLAND-PFAI2
HESSEN ^ •
* BERLIN
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
40.00% 60.00% 80.00%
PERCENT CHANGE IN FOREIGNERS SHARE OF TOTAL POPULATION 2000-2015
Correlation analysis comparing the percent change in right-wing populist vote share by Lander between the 1998 and 2017 German Federal elections and the percent change in immigrant share of the total population by Lander between 2000 and 2015. All data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0
23


Percent Change in Right-wing Populist Vote Share and Immigrant Population in
German Lander 2005-2017
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN
• SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
SACHSEN-ANHALT
BRANDENBURG---
' "BE RUN '
SAARLAND# • BAYERN BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
RHEINLAND-PFALZ
NIEDERSACHSEN
0.00% I----
0.00%
40.00% 60.00% 80.00%
PERCENT CHANGE IN FOREIGNER S SHARE OF TOTAL POPULATION 2005-2015
Figure 3.5
Correlation analysis comparing the percent change in right-wing populist vote share by Lander between the 2005and 2017 German Federal elections and the percent change in immigrant share of the total population by Lander between 2005 and 2015. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018.. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by- 2 - 0
24


2005 Right-wing Populist Vote Share and Poverty Rates by Lander
NIEDERSACHSEN
BRANDENBURG
SACHSEN-ANHALT
hHEINLAND-PFALZ
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG •
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN • SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN*
8 10 12 PERCENTAGE OF CITIZENS AT RSIK OF POVERTY 2005
Figure 3.6
Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP 2005 vote share and 2005 percentage of citizens at risk of poverty using regional poverty measures. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0
25


Percent Change in Right-wing Populist Vote Share and Citizens at Risk of Poverty
in German Lander 2005-2017
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN
----SAARLAND______
RHEINLAND-PFALZ BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
0.00% -----
-15.00%
PERCENT CHANGE IN CITIZENS AT RISK OF POVERTY 2005-2017
Figure 3.7
Correlation analysis comparing the percent change of right-wing populist vote by share by Lander between the 2005 and 2017 German Federal Elections and the percent change in citizens at risk of poverty based on the regional median by Lander between 2005 and 2017. election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018.. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by-2-0
Unemployment has been steadily decreasing in German since its peak in the mid 2000’s. Bivariate analysis show no correlation between unemployment and right-wing populist vote share in the 2005 and 2017 Federal Elections. Also, comparisons of 1998 Federal Election results and 2000 unemployment rates show no correlation between unemployment and right-wing populist vote share. Because unemployment has been steadily decreasing across Germany while right-wing
populist support has been increasing, the data shows negative correlation to the percent change in unemployment and right-wing populist vote share over the last several decades.
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Percent Change in Right-wing Populist Vote Share 1998-2017 and Percent Change
in Unemployment 2000-2017
0.00% ------
-70.00%
Figure 4.1
SACHSEN-ANHALT
SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN
MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN
HAMBURG
BREMEN
- Nlf DERSACHSEN
BRANDENBURG
NORDRH El N-WESTFALEN
BAYERN
BERLIN*
BADEN-WURTTEMBERG
-40.00% -30.00%
PERCENT CHANGE IN UNEMPLOYMENT 2000-2017
Correlation analysis comparing the percent change of right-wing populist vote by share by Lander between the 1998 and 2017 German Federal Elections and the percent change in unemployment by Lander between 2000 and 2017. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl-de/by- 2 - 0
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CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION
The results of the analysis point to three overarching trends. First, consistent with Hansen and Olsen (2 018),the idea that German populists represent the "losers of globalization” is certainly questionable given the trends observed in the above analysis. The AfD has been much more successful than previous populist and far-right parties in Germany, and this has not coincided with a crisis of poverty or unemployment Indeed, the success of the AfD has coincided with a gradual decline in unemployment compared to previous decades, and negative correlation to the percent of citizens at risk of poverty. Second, there is a clear regional distinction in support for right-wing populism in 2017 which was not present in previous elections. Last, there are observable patterns of correlation between immigration and support for right-wing populism. This suggests a partial rejection of the hypothesis. Unemployment and poverty have declined in Germany, while right-wing populism is gaining higher vote share. However, increases in immigration have coincided with the rise of populism, though, this portion of the hypothesis itself can only partially be confirmed.
The idea that the influx of migrants into Germany following the 2015 refugee crisis alone is responsible for the surge in support for the AfD is specious given the chronological analysis. While the areas in which the AfD has performed well have seen an uptick in immigration, they are not the areas of Germany which has received the most migrants. Rather, the data seems to support an important element of the contact hypothesis, developed by Gordon Allport (1954), namely, that increasing contact with minority groups will reduce xenophobia. (Jolly and DiGuisto 2014) Two important observations stand out in the analysis of right-wing populist vote share and immigration. First, right-wing populist vote share is negatively correlated to the overall percentage of foreigners living in each Lander and this negative correlation can be measured through time to observe a
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trend in this direction starting in the mid 2000’s. Second, there is slight positive correlation between percent change in the number of foreigners living in each Lander over time and the percent change in vote share of right-wing populist parties. One conclusion that can be drawn, consistent with the reviewed literature, is that support for the AfD is in part related to the influx of immigrants into Germany over the past decade. Another important conclusion, however, is that support for right-wing populism has more to do with cultural anxiety associated with the gradual influx of immigrants into culturally homogeneous geographies within Germany than generalized conclusions about an anti-immigrant voting block or losers of globalization, as populist support is often characterized in the media.
The contact hypothesis has been studied in other countries as it relates to anti-immigrant attitudes and the rise of right-wing populism. Savelkoul, Scheepers, Tolsma, and Hagendoorn (2010) found that perceived threat among Dutch citizens is reduced in regions with higher Muslim populations in the Netherlands. Likewise, Jolly and DiGuisto (2014) find decreased xenophobia among regions with larger immigrant communities in France. If it is assumed that the AfD vote represents negative attitudes towards immigrants, then there appears to be a similar situation in Germany.
Hansen and Olson (2018) conclude that the AfD vote represents a portion of the electorate among all socioeconomic groups in which immigration was the most important issue in the 2017 federal election, and the data used in their study indicates strong correlation between antiimmigrant attitudes, political distrust, fear about the economy, and votes for the AfD. Furthermore, Hansen and Olson (2018) show that the electoral success of the AfD has increased as it began to focus more on immigration and the refugee crisis, and argue that the AfD vote also represents a protest vote by voters frustrated with the current state of German politics. Data from the TARKI Group, referenced by Molodikova and Lynalina (2017), indicates that Hungarians who had the least contact with immigrants had the most negative attitudes toward immigration. Correlation analysis
29


of the percentage of foreigners in each German Lander with the electoral outcomes of the AfD produces a similar result, if it is assumed that AfD voters are largely anti-immigrant. Although Germany ranks high on percentage of survey respondents (54-55%) who consider migration to be the major problem facing the EU, the same 2016 survey by the TARKI Group also cites data that Germany ranks high on positive attitudes toward migrants. (TARKI Social Research Institute 2016) While anti-immigrant sentiment and support for right-wing populism still represents a smaller portion of the German electorate, the results of the analysis indicate that geographies within Germany with the least culturally diverse populations rank highest in support for right-wing populists, and that this trend has been gradually increasing since the mid-2000's. Suggested by this finding is that cultural shock may be an important variable in the success of European right-wing populist politics, as indicated by Molodikova and Lynalina (2017), but the positive relationship between cultural homogeneity, gradual increases in foreign born populations, and right-wing populist support has existed in Germany before the refugee crisis of the mid 2010’s, and the refugee event may have exacerbated an already growing trend. Considering the implications of the contact hypothesis, one explanation for the trend observed in the analysis is that anti-immigrant political messaging and political mobilization around a nationalist, populist agenda may be more successful in culturally homogenous communities than in more diverse areas of Germany. The correlation analysis also suggests that the sudden influx of migrants into the most homogeneous regions of Germany may have produced the largest cultural backlash, expressed in the electoral success of the AfD.
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CHAPTER V
CONCLUSION
Migration and cultural integration has been a key fixture in Germany over the past several decades, owing a lot to the process of German reunification. (Gotz 2016) Certainly, the politics of German identity, citizenship, and culture are complex and ever evolving. How is immigration perceived in a homogenous culture which is not used to interacting with a diverse population versus a more plural culture where diversity is taken for granted? Furthermore, how does this fit into the larger experience of cultural unity following German reunification, 30 years later? Political philosopher Will Kymlica suggests that the experience of post-War democratic consolidation in Western Europe created a political culture of human rights awareness which eventually embraced multinational States and minority rights, in turn differentiating itself from the political culture which took shape in Eastern Europe during the second half of the 20th century. (Kymlicka, 2017) He offers a theory of European multiculturalism which considers three observations about former communist countries in Eastern Europe which separate these countries from Western democracies. They include a belief that minorities have or will collaborate with past, current, or potential State enemies. (Kymlicka, 2017) Also, that policies which benefit minorities will work against the majority group’s interest, and that minority policies are a matter of national security. (Kymlicka, 2017) If Kymlicka is correct, then it should come as no surprise that right-wing populism, with its emphasis on national identity and anti-immigrant sentiment, will experience more success in the former communist areas of Eastern Europe, including the former GDR. Though the empirical evidence presented in this study does show a clear geographic divide in AfD support, with high numbers of supporters in the regions of the former GDR, the question of a lingering divide in political culture between East and West Germany remains largely unanswered by this analysis. The degree to which the success of the AfD in the East has been dramatically higher than in the West does indicate that an anti-system politics is more appealing in the former GDR. However, more
31


empirical evidence and further study is needed to validate or invalidate the extent an East West division in political culture contributes to the success of European right-wing populism in Germany. Though right-wing vote share has increased nationally over the past decade, the dramatic increase in populist vote share in East Germany forces consideration of the extent to which the political culture of the East shares commonalities with its former communist neighbors who have also experienced a surge in right-wing populism.
The contact hypothesis offers one possible explanation for the gradual correlation between cultural homogeny and right-wing vote share in Germany. The analysis suggests that as the percentage of foreign-born population in Germany has grown over the past several decades in Germany, communities with the least exposure to immigrants have been seen the highest increase in support for anti-immigrant, right-wing political parties, expressed in the gradual rise of right-wing populist vote share. Because right-wing populism is on the rise across Europe, another conclusion of this study is that the methods used here can be replicated to investigate similar trends in other European countries that have experienced a surge in right-wing populist politics, thereby adding to the existing theories of European right-wing populism.
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Full Text

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WHY NOW? A CHRONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF RIGHT WING ELECTORAL OUTCOMES IN GERMANY: 1998 PRESENT by DAVID HAMRICK B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2011 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Mas ter of Arts Political Science Program 2019

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ii © 2019 DAVID HAMRICK ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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iii This thesis for the Master of A rts degree by David Hamrick has been approved for the Political Science Program by Christoph Stefes, Chair Michael Berry Thorsten Spehn Date: May 18, 2019

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iv Hamrick, David ( MA Political Scienc e Program) Why Now? A Chronological Analysis of Right Wing Electoral O utcomes in Germany: 1998 Present Thesis directed by Christoph Stefes ABSTRACT In the 2017 Federal Election, the right wing Alternat ive fü r Deutschland became the third largest party in the Ger man B undestag , signaling that E uropean right wing populism is on the rise in Germany. Given the low electoral success of the far right in the several decades following German reunification, why has Germany seen such a sudden and rapid increase in right wing vote share? By analyzing ele ction results and demographic variables over the past several decades, I find support for the contact hypothesis to explain a gradual correlation between xenophobic voting tendencies and ethnically homogenous geographies within Germany beginning in the mid The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Christoph Stefes

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. WHAT IS POPULISM?............................................................................................................ ..................1 II. LITERATURE REVIEW The Populist Voter.......................................................................... ..........................................................5 Democratic Deconsolidation and Windows of Opportunity...................................................7 German Political Culture Following Reunification.......................................... .........................10 III. METHODOLOGY AND ANALYSIS..................................................................................................... .12 IV. DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... ............................27 V. CONCLUSION.......................................................................................... .................................................. . 30 REFERENCES

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1 CHAPTER I WHAT IS POPULISM? Following the Brexit vote, the surprise election of Donald Trump, and the rise of successful right wing parties in Europe, there has been a renewed academic interest in populism, especially in efforts to explain such a seemingly unlikely shift in Western politics. Populism is certainly not a new phenomenon , and the existing literature whic h will be explored in this study provides a rich history of scholarship on populism throughout the 20 th century. What is striking is the rising level of support for right wing populist politics in Germany compared to the low electoral success of the right immediately following the end of communism and German reunification. This study seeks to provide answers for why there has been such a dramatic increase in support for right wing populism in Germany in recent elections compared to wing populists managed to only gain a tiny fraction of the vote. By searching for the underlying causes of elector al support for right wing populist parties, the study will seek to wing populist party. In chapter one, I explore Kaltwasser and scholarship on the history of populism to serve as a starting point for identifying populism in Germany. In chapter two, I address a broad spectrum of literat ure related to populism. I analyze existing studies and data on the populist voter, democratic deconsolidation, its relation to populist movements, and windows of opportunity for populist forces to garner support. I also explore scholarship on German poli tical culture leading up to and following the end of communism. In chapter 3, I analyze election data as well as changes in immigration, employment, and poverty over the last several decades to search for correlations between demographic changes and right wing vote share which may contribute to the rise in right wing populist support. In chapter 4, I argue

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2 that rational and economic theories do not fully explain the rise of populism in Germany, and look to the literature on the contact hypothesis to exp lain anti immigrant voting trends leading up the success of the AfD in the 2017 German Federal Election. In chapter 5, I reexamine arguments from the literature suggesting that the rise of right wing populism also contains a cultural reaction to pluralism stemming from the integration of the former GDR into the larger European and global community. The term populism has been used to describe a variety of political styles and movements dating back to the late 19 th century. (Mudde and Kaltwasser 2013) Mudde and Kaltwasser (201 3 ) identify populism as a political movement which a key element is po pular sover eighty. They elites. (Mud de and Kaltwasser, 2018) The theme of an antagonistic style of politics which plays popular sovereignty against an out of touch elite used by Mudde and Kaltwasser(2013) as a way to distinguish populists from other political parties. Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) argue that populism is not itself an ideology, but rather a discourse which must attach itself to a political ideology such as socialism or conservativism. Though populist parties will often embrace recogniz able left or right wing positions, what distinguishes them as populist rather than liberal, socialist, Christian democrat, ect is the antagonistic attitude they will take toward a perceived immoral or corrupt group or groups which they claim is actively wo rking against the needs of the people and suppressing popular sovereignty. (Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017) The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideology (2013) identifies three distinct types of populism which correspond to several populist movements dat ing back to the late 19 th century. This study will examine the rise of right wing populism in Europe following the collapse of communism, which is identified in the Oxford Handbook as European Xenophobic Populism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde 2013) The political parties which represent this movement follow the typical anti elite, antagonistic style of populism, and also highly emphasize national identity and are highly critical of liberal

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3 immigration policies. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) In addition, these part ies have been characterized as critic al of the press, unsupportive of an independent judiciary, and having low support for minority rights. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Like their left wing populist counterparts, they are Euroskeptic. (Blyth, 2016) However , because European right wing populism is essentially nationalist populism, a key argument in its discourse is that EU elites are undermining national sovereignty regarding immigration policy. (Blyth, 2016) This contrasts left wing Euroscepticism which ten ds to focus criticism on how the EU handled the Euro sovereign debt crisis. (Blyth 2016) For example, in a BBC expose on French populism, a National Front supporter argues that the current French government places a high priority on social welfare programs for immigrants while ignoring the needs of the French working class. (BBC News, 2017) the collapse of communism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) This study seeks to understand what ses in right wing populist support in Germany in re cent elections compared to the 1990's when right wing po pulist were rec eiv ing a very low vote s hare . The rise of populism in Germany is especially fascinating given its economic success following German reunification and the collapse of communism, which seems to run contrary to economic theories of populist support which tend to explain populism as a reaction to a decrease in economic opportunity among certain demographics. Furthermore, in Germany, right w ing parties were consistently polling quite low following reunification and have only recently enjo yed electoral succe ss. Right rig ht wing Republican party (Die Republikaner), which emphasized German nationalism its platforms (Mudde, 2002), as well as the National Democratic Party (NDP), which has ties to extreme right nationalist ideologies (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019) Die Republ ikaner has achieved only nominal electoral success, at times even polling lower than the more extreme right

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4 NDP in elections. The most recent right wing populist party in Ge rmany is the AfD (Alternative fü r Deutschland), formed in 2013, which has achieved much more electoral success and gained seats in the Bundestag following the 2017 federal election. Though right wing populist positions are often nationalist and anti immigration, it is important to make clear the distinctions between populism and extrem e right authoritarianism. The key element in populism is anti elitism. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Populists embrace the moral superiority of the general will of the community over individual autonomy which makes them appear democratic but anti liberal, l iberalism being an ideology which prioritizes individual rights and liberty over collective values. However, populists will sometimes legitimize attacks on groups which they consider to interfere with the homogeneity of the nation or community. (Kaltwasse r and Mudde, 2013) BBC interviews with AfD supporters point to a belief among populists that migrants pose a threat to European stability because they do not embrace European culture or values, with racist undertones in some of the comments of those interv iewed. (BBC, 2017) Mudde and Kaltwasser (2018) argue that populism proposes an illiberal democracy to counter an undemocratic liberalism. However, the idea that democra cy may not have to include a free press or an independent judiciary seems to part ways with mainstream notions of democracy . Contrary to populism, far right authoritarianism is both pro elite and undemoc ratic. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) For example, the right wing regime in Chile led by Augusto Pinochet ruled under the notion that elites are superior to the common people and therefore should rule under undemocratic institutions. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) While critics have accused right wing populist parties of embracing anti democratic policies, the underlying message of populism is anti elite rather than anti democracy. (Kal twasser and Mudde 2013) Their message is not one of totalitarian social control, but rather a represen tation of what they consider to be the moral superiority of the majority. (Kaltwasser and Mudde, 2013) Populist movements differ from extreme

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5 right movements in that their preferred method of governance relies on a notion of popular sovereignty and popular support (Kaltwasser and Mudde 213) rather than hard power and militarism, though the antagonistic attitude of populists can easily be interpreted as a call for violence.

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6 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The Populist Voter There is a great deal of scholarship which characterizes the political priorities of the populist voter as well as theoretical frameworks explaining the motivation of populist supporters. Unsurprisingly, data which will be explored in the review the literature indicates that anti immigrant se ntiment is a high priority in vote choice among supporters of European Xenophobic Populist parties. Key findings include a strong connection between anti immigrant sentiment and a vote for the AfD(Hansen and Oslen, 2018), less tolerance of immigrants among populist right supporters in the Netherlands(Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017), and perceived group threat precipitating support for radical right parties in the Netherlands and Germany( Berning and Schlueter, 2016). Surveys of voters in Germany and the Netherlands have also found that right wing populist supporters are more likely to be less trustful of government and politics (Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt, 2017, Hansen and Olson, 2018). This is unsurprising given the anti system messag e of populist discourse and its promise to remove corrupt elites from power. Much of the literature studying populism and anti immigrant attitudes seems to represent attempts to test the hypothesis that low income w orkers are more likely to view immigrants as competition for jobs and resources. Scheve and Slaughter famously tested this view in their Ethnic Competition Hypothesis and found that native citizens in the US will express hostility toward immigrants if the y fear that immigration will lead to tougher competition for jobs. (Scheve and Slaughter, 1999) Similarly, Berning and Schlueter (2016) found that perceived group threat precipitates rather than follows support for right wing populism in a survey of populi st supporters in the Netherlands and Germany. Arzheimer (2009) concludes that while immigration and

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7 unemployment are important factors in right wing voting in Western Europe, they must be understood in a more complex context. There is also sufficient evid ence in the literature to reject the premise of conflict theory in relation to populist support, or at least only include it as a small part of a larger narrative. Studies by Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) and Marx and Schumacher (2018) have linked low educational achievement to support for right wing populists. hypothesis in their study of AfD voters and concluded that the AfD pulled votes from every socio economic demographic. The same study also found connections between AfD voters, anti immigrant sentiment, and fear about the economy, further suggesting that while conflict theory may play a role in populist voter support, it should be understood within a more complex framework. ( Hansen and Olsen 2018) Other scholars have emphasized the role of fear or anxiety as a motivation toward voting for populist candidates or parties. Obschonka et al (2018) found that n eurotic personality traits positively contributed to vote s for Trump and Brexit. They also consider personal neuroticism as a 2018) Likewise, Hansen and Olson (2018) found fear about the economy to corelate to votes for the AfD. As previously mentioned, these finding s do not conclude that populist supporters are primarily low income individuals but rather individuals from many socio economic backgrounds who share common fears including anxiety about their economic f uture. The literature also explores the role of anti immigrant sentiment in perceived threats to cultural identity and its role in populist vote choice. Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt (2017) conclude that right wing populist voters seem to embrace a cultur al attitude of exclusion. Likewise, Molodikova and Lyalina (2017) point to new studies which suggest that negative attitudes toward immigrants is based largely on personal convictions that immigrants pose a threat to the identity of

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8 their country, contrar y to prior studies suggesting that anti immigrant attitudes are largely based on economic insecurity resulting from increased numbers of migrants. These finding represent a broad overview of the characteristics of what motivates a vote for a right wing p opulist party or candidate. While this is an important aspect of explaining the rise of populism in Germany, there are other specifics unique to Germany which must be understood to explain the shift in populist support over the last several decades. The findings of the literature identifying the populist voter will be brought into this context in chapter four to establish a more complete understanding of what changes have occurred which resulted in the rise of populism in Germany, and offer an additional explanation for the success of the AfD in the 2017 Federal Election. Democratic Deconsolidation and Windows of Opportunity In addition to defining the characteristics of the populist voter, conditions necessary for the success of populism are addre ssed in the literature by exploring the process of democratic consolidation and conditions which create windows of opportunity for populist forces to garner support. Over twenty years ago, Linz and Stepan (1996) presented an outline of the conditions nece ssary for democratic consolidation. Not surprisingly, they found that non violent transitions of power through election are vital. (Linz and Stepan 1996) Also, they argued that a majority of the citizens must believe that liberal democracy has a unique leg itimacy which cannot be matched by other forms of government. (Linz and Stepan 1996) The recent success of populism in Western democracies has led to new scholarship which reexamines this argument and explores conditions under which democracy can become de consolidated. Foa and Mounk (2017) argue that democratic consolidation is not necessarily permanent , that democratic norms can lose legitimacy when the citizens become dissatisfied with the democratically elected government and begin to look for alternatives s

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9 be measured through time to predict the rise of populism. A study published in 2017 found that support for democratic institutions in the US has been steadily declining o ver the past several live in a democracy where 72% of respondents born before World War II agreed. (Howe 2017) Though this study only focuses on one country, it does show that support for democratic norms can become destabilized in a previously consolidated democracy, and provides empirical evidence for the rise of pop ulism. Also important in this study is evidence that liberal norms can become detached from notions of democracy. For example, only 32% of US respondents born after 1980 compared with 41% of respondents born before or slightly after World War II. (Howe 2017) These results suggest that generational shifts in political culture can move away from democratic consolidation as well as towards it, and that notions of democracy can become detached from liberal values within a society which considers itself democratic. The antagonistic, anti system style of populism necessitates that its vote share coincides with the number of voters who are frustrated with the estab lished political system. Therefore, if populism is on the rise in a consolidated democracy, it may signal the early warning signs of democratic deconsolidation. (Foa and Mounk, 2017) Furthermore, Akkerman, Zaslove, and Spruyt ( 2017) suggest that the right wing populist vote i s often a protest vote against a liberal status quo, though populist voters themselves do not represent a preference for a more authoritarian political system , while Foa and Mounk ( 2017) provide evidence that support for liberal democr acy is indeed declining in Western countries which are considered consolidated democracies. Scholarship on populism has pointed to windows of opportunity in which populists can capitalize and garner increased support. Brubaker (2017) argues that because crisis is an essential feature of populism, populists thrive in times of actual or perceived crisis. The 2008 recession,

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10 Euro sovereign debt crisis, and terror attacks against the West would fall into this category, and increased suppo rt for populism can be explained as a response to such events. (Brubaker, 2017) Likewise, the literature explores other, more structural, elements which can create windows of opportunity for populists such as the rise of social media as an alternative to t raditional political mobilization methods(Brubaker, 2017), low electoral thresholds (Jackman and Volpert ,1996), and proportional systems (Jackman and Volpert, 1996). While these arguments certainly fit into the narrative of the rise of populism, they fail to paint a complete explanatory model and are at times seriously flawed. For example, Western democracies have faced crisis in the past without experiencing a surge in populist support. The terror attacks of 9/11 did not usher in a populist electoral wa ve in the US. Nor did the collapse of communism in the GDR result in high levels of establishment platform and strong call for German reunification. Similarly, the proportion al system and the low wing populists were polling quite low. Though there is a certain logic to the idea of populists benefitting from conditions which create windows of opportunity for popul ist mobilization, this element fits into a larger framework which will be explored in the following chapters. German Political Culture following Reunification The dissolution of the GDR in 1990 coincided with the reunification of a nation which had been divided into two separate States for over 40 years. This makes the German experience especially unique regarding the end of the Cold War. (Botsch, 2012) Also, as both data and existing literature suggest, the history of a divided Germany and the reuni fication process created a differentiated it from that of other European countries. (Botsch, 2012) Because right wing populism appeals to notions of political culture a nd identity, in order to understand the rise of German populism in recent years, it is important to examine the communist transition period and

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11 the effect it had on German political culture as well as in establishing a reunified German cultural identity. Following the dissolution of communism, it became evident that there was an extreme right some, though mi nimal, success in the Eastern Lä h, 2012) Botsch (2012) points to the ban of extreme right parties in the GDR, lack of experience in political mobilization increased skill in political mobil extreme right parties began to have inc reased success in the Eastern Lä Dalton and Weldon (2010) explore three aspects of political culture which may have differed between the FGR and GDR during reunification: images of national identity, support for security. Their findings indicate lingering regional variations in political culture between the former GDR and the rest of Germany that continued to exist 20 years after reunification. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) Both East and West Germans reported high le vels of support for liberal democracy in 1990. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) However, a 1991 survey found that Easterners were more critical of the FGR government than Westerners. (Dalton and Weldon, 2010) Dalton and Weldon (2010) find that while support for d emocracy remains high across Germany, criticism of democracy in practice continues to be higher in the former GDR regions and that the political culture of this region has continued to favor a more expansive role for the State. Furthermore, they find that while survey data has shown a continued increase of a shared national identity among all Germans since the reject the values of the GDR regime. (Dalton and Weldo n, 2010) Gotz (2016) suggests that new studies point to German feelings of national pride and identity as much more complex and context

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12 related than previously observed. On the one hand, there was an intense effort to reunite Germans under a single identi ty following the end of communism but also a strong aversion to anything which would provoke xenophobic sentiments as an expression of national unity. (Gotz, 2016) Gotz (2016) points to early divisions between liberals and conservatives as to the degree in which national pride should be expressed during the reunification period, as well as the emergence of East and West German stereotypes and efforts to combat these. Following the German Nationality Law in 2000 which allowed birthright citizenship for the c hildren of immigrants, a campaign was launched to pluralize German identity and encourage the inclusion of immigrants in German society. (Gotz, 2016) Gotz (2016) concludes that a denationalization has occurred in Germany, which may also be present in other European countries, in which political multiculturalism has replaced the old system of nation states, and also a renationalization as a reaction to multiculturalism which is expressed in right wing populist forces. Furthermore, she references the the process by which culture (emotions, feelings, cultural norms and values and cultural symbols and traditions, including religion) has come to play a central role in the debate on social integ Got z , 20 16, p.818 ) This phenomenon exemplifies the typical justification for anti immigrant attitudes among populists who will offer a distinction between productive immigrants and those who are a burden on the welfare system. (Gotz, 2016) Molo dikova and Lyalina (2017) argue that the success of the AfD is directly related to the influx of asylum seekers coupled with high unemployment. They point to empirical data which ties the percentage of AfD representation in the Landstag to the percentage increase in asylum se ekers per Lä nder. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) Also, they explore survey data which shows a rise in several key attitudes which may explain the rise in AfD support. Reported fears, about terrorism, incoming immigrants, and rise in cr ime, increased from 45% in the beginning of 2014 to 77% by July 2015, and Germany is also one of five European countries where a majority associate terrorism

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13 with migrants, with over 60% surveyed sharing this view. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) Hansen and Olsen (2018) observe that the AfD began to achieve more electoral success as it became more anti immigrant and argue that in the 2017 Federal Election the AfD pulled votes from all parties among voters with whom immigration was the most important issue. They also argue that the AfD represents a protest vote fueled by frustration with German politics. (Hansen and Olsen, 2018)

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14 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY AND ANALYSIS The seemingly sudden decline of the CDU coinciding with the emergence of the AfD as a viable party in Germany provokes questions into how this unlikely shift was made possible. The literature points to several key elements which explain why populism is on the rise in Western democracies. In order to address a large variety of the populist literature as well as the chronological nature of the inquiry, this chapter will draw on empirical evidence to test quantitative elements that can be used to explain the shift toward increased support for right wing populism in Germany. Using election results as a dependent variable, several other key variables indicating a relations hip to the rise in populist support. These variables were chosen because they can be easily tied to indicators of populist support from the reviewed literature. The scholarship explored in the literature review contains both rational and cultural theories which point to various forms of anxiety about immigration, national identity, and unemployment as indicators of populist support. . For th is reas on, t he quantitat ive method of this study will use immigration data, poverty indicators, and unemployment through time to measure possible scenarios which would lead to an increase in the anxieties associated with populism in the literature. T his study hypothesize s that p opulist vote share is positively correlated to increases in poverty , unemployment, and immigration, and that a trend in this direction will be observable through time. In this way it will seek to confirm much of the existing literature by assuming that in creases in poverty, unemployment, and immigration will indicate the conditions necessary for the anxieties associated with right wing populist voting trends in the literature. Demographic data was obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. This includes percentage of citizens at risk of poverty based

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15 on regional poverty standards for years 2000, 2005, and 2017, foreigners as a percentage of total population for years 2000, 2005, and 2015, and unemployment rates for years 2000, 2005, and 2017 . Election data from the 1998 and 2005 Federal Elections was obtained through the European Election Database, and election results for the 2017 Federal Election was obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany. These years were chosen in order to present a large enough sample size to measure chronological trends in voting, economic changes, and immigration while controlling for other cultural variables which may have had a greater impact on vote choice during the reunification period of the ear ls on the right primarily benefitted the CDU. Because the Dalton and Weld (201 0 ) address regional variations in political culture and attitudes towards democracy resulting fr om the split and eventual reunification of the FDR and GDR, each variable was measured by Federal State to observe possible regional variations in the rise of right wing populist support. The following maps show the election results for right wing populist parties through time. There is a clear temporal distinction in levels of populist support as well as apparent regional variation in support of the AfD. While the AfD has out performed previous right wing populist parties, it has performed especi ally wel l in the northeastern Lä nder, the geographical area of the former GDR. Also, there does not appear to be a distinct temporal correlation between regional support for right wing populists. Regions with higher levels of support for Die Republikaner and the elections. Another initial observation is that support for the CDU is lower in regions which have higher support for the AfD.

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16

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17 Figure 1 Maps by David Hamrick. Election data obtained from Genesis Online Datenbank: Federal Statistical Office of Germany December, 2018 . Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0 . Boundary data obtained from Diva GIS 2019, http://www.diva gis. org/gdata. Maps were created using QGIS software: QGIS Development Team, 2016 QGIS Geographic Information System. Open Source Geospatial Foundation Project. http://qgis.osgeo.org.

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18 The AfD had its largest 2017 vote share in regions where immigrant popul ations as a percentage of total population have remained low compared to the rest of Germany (see F igure 1 ). This points to an important element in the literature profiling the right wing populist voter as someone whose anti immigrant sentiment has more to do with personal beliefs that immigrants pose a threat to national or cultural identity rather than the theory that anti immigrant attitudes largely relate to increased numbers of migrants. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) This trend also coincides with a study in Hungary which found that those who had the least contact with migrants had the highest levels of negative attitudes toward immigrants. (Molodikova and Lyalina, 2017) Figure 2 .1 Negative correlation between 2017 AfD vote share and foreign born population as a percentage o f total population in 2015 by Lä nder. Data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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19 Also, there does not appear to be a correlation between changes in poverty rates and AfD support. While there are elevated poverty levels in some regions where the AfD performed well, there are also elevated poverty levels in regions where the AfD gained much less support. For example, the A fD won on 9.4% of the vote in Nordrhein Westfalen compared to Sachsen Anhalt where the AfD won 19.6% despite both Länder having similar poverty rates in 2017. Also, overall poverty has declined in regions where the AfD performed best. Figure 2 .2 Negative correlation between 2017 AfD vote share and 2017 percentage of citizens at risk of poverty. Risk of poverty is measured as percentage of citizens whose income is below 60% of the regional median. Data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of German y, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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20 In addition to these initial observations, bivariate correlation analysis was run comparing the dependent variable (election results) with the independent variables (poverty, unemployment, immigration) using data from three federal election years as well a s using percent change through time over the past several decades. AfD support in the 2017 election by Länder was negatively correlated to percent of citizens at risk of poverty by Länder, with an r value of 0.87, meaning that those Länder with the high est percent of citizens at risk of poverty coincided with low levels of support for the AfD. This is also similar to data from 2005 in which there was a slightly negative correlation between poverty and combined support for Die Republikaner and the NDP, w ith an r value of 0.48. Likewise, 2017 AfD support was negatively correlated to the percentage of foreigners living in each Länder in 2015, with an r value of 0.71 meaning that the AfD performed better in the Länder with the least percentage of immigran ts. Going back several election cycles, a temporal pattern emerges of increased negative correlation between percentage of foreigners per Länder and support for right wing populism and extreme right parties. Comparing combined support for Die Republikane r and the NDP by Länder in 1998 with the percentage of foreigners by Länder in 2000 yields no correlation, with an r value of 0.1. However, these variables measured in 2005 begin to become more negatively correlated, with an r value of 0.55, then, as sho wn above, wing populists increasingly coincides with the cultural homogeneity of the Länder. However, when compar ing the percent change in right wing populist support between the 1998 and 2017 elections and the change in the percent of foreigners by Länder between 2000 and 2015, there is a slight positive correlation, with an r value of 0.67. Percent change in the n umber of foreigners in Länder where populist support is highest tends to also be higher, while the total percentage of foreigners living here remains low compared to the rest of Germany.

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21 Figure 3.1 Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP vote share in the 1 998 Federal Election by Lä nder and foreigners as a percenta ge of the total population by Lä nder in 2000. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of G ermany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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22 Figure 3.2 Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP vote share in the 200 5 Federal Election by Lä nder and foreigners as a percenta ge of the total population by Lä nder in 2005. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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23 Figure 3.4 Correlation analysis comparing the percent change in righ t wing populist vote share by Lä nder between the 1998 and 2017 German Federal elections and the percent change in immigrant sha re of the total population by Lä nder between 2000 and 2015. All data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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24 Figure 3.5 Correlation analysis comparing the p ercent change in righ t wing populist vote share by Lä nder between the 2005and 2017 German Federal elections and the percent change in immigrant sha re of the total population by Lä nder between 2005 and 2015. Election data obtained from the European Election s database, accessed 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. . Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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25 Figure 3.6 Chart comparing combined Rep and NDP 2005 vote share and 2005 percentage of citizens at risk of poverty using regional poverty measures. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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26 Figure 3.7 Correlation analysis comparing the percent change of right wing populist vote by share by L ä nder between the 2005 and 2017 Ger man Federal Elections and the percent change in citizens at risk of poverty ba sed on the regional median by Lä nder between 2005 and 2017. e lection data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, December 2018. . Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0 Bivariate analysis show no correlation between unemployment and right wing populist vote share in the 2005 and 2017 Federal Elections. Also, comparisons of 1998 Federal E lection results and 2000 unemployment rates show no correlation between unemployment and right wing populist vote share. Because unemployment has been steadily decreasing across Germany while right wing populist support has been increasing, the data shows negative correlation to the percent change in unemployment and right wing populist vote share over the last several decades.

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27 Figure 4.1 Correlation analysis comparing the percent change of right w ing populist vote by share by Lä nder between the 1998 and 2017 German Federal Elections and the perc ent change in unemployment by Lä nder between 2000 and 2017. Election data obtained from the European Elections database, accessed December 2018. Demographic data obtained from the Federal Statistical Office of Ger many, December 2018. Percent change is own calculation. Data licence Germany Version 2.0 www.govdata.de/dl de/by 2 0

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28 CHAPTER IV DISCUSSION The results of the analysis point to three overarching trends. First, consistent with Hansen and Olsen (2018), the idea that Ger man questionable given the trends observed in the above analysis. The AfD has been much more successful than pre vious populist and far right parties in Germany, and this has not coincided with a crisis of poverty or unemployment. Indeed, the success of the AfD has coincided with a gradual decline in unemployment compared to previous decades, and negative correlatio n to the percent of citizens at risk of poverty. Second, there is a clear regional distinction in support for right wing populism in 2017 which was not present in previous elections. Last, there are observable patterns of correlation between immigration and support for right wing populism. This suggests a partial rejection of the hypothesis. Unemployment and poverty have declined in Germany, while right wing populism is gaining higher vote share. However, increases in immigration have coincided with th e rise of populism, though, this portion of the hypothesis itself can only partially be confirmed. T he idea that the influx of migrants into Germany following the 2015 refugee crisis alone is responsible for the surge in support for the AfD is specious given the chronological analysis . W hile the areas in which the AfD has performed well have seen an uptick in immigration, they are not the areas of Germany which has received the most migrants. Rather, the data seems to support an important element of the contact hypothesis, developed by Gord on Allport (1954), namely, that i ncreasing contact with minority groups will reduce xenophobia. ( Jolly and DiGuisto 2014 ) Two important observations stand out in the analysis of right wing populist vote share and immigration. First, right wing populist vote share is negatively correlated to the o verall percentage of foreigners living in each Lä nder and this negative correlation can be measured through time to observe a

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29 between percent change in the nu mber of foreigner s living in each Lä nder over time and the percent change in vote share of right wing populist parties. One conclusion that can be drawn, consistent with the revie wed literature, is that support for the AfD is in part related to the influx of immig rants into Germany over the past decade. Another important conclusion, however, is that support for right wing populism has more to do with cultural anxiety associated with the gradual influx of immigrants into culturally homogeneous geographies within Ge rmany than generalized conclusions about an anti immigrant voting block or losers of globalization, as populist support is often characterized in the media. The contact hypothesis has been studied in other countries as it relates to anti immigrant attitu des and the rise of right wing populism. Savelkoul, Scheepers, Tolsma, and Hagendoorn (2010) found that perceived threat among Dutch citizens is reduced in regions with higher Muslim populations in the Netherlands. Likewise, Jolly and DiGuisto (2014) fin d decreased xenophobia among regions with larger immigrant communities in France. If it is assumed that the AfD vote represents negative attitudes towards immigrants, then there appears to be a similar situation in Germany. Hansen and Olson (2018) concl ude that the AfD vote represents a portion of the electorate among all socioeconomic groups in which immigration was the most important issue in the 2017 federal election, and the data used in their study indicates strong correlation between anti immigrant attitudes, political distrust, fear about the economy, and votes for the AfD. Furthermore, Hansen and Olson (2018) show that the electoral success of the AfD has increased as it began to focus more on immigration and the refugee crisis, and argue that th e AfD vote also represents a protest vote by voters frustrated with the current state of German politics. Data from the TARKI Group, referenced by Molodikova and Lynalina (2017), indicates that Hungarians who had the least contact with immigrants had the most negative attitudes toward immigration. Correlation analysis

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30 of the percentage of foreigners in each German Lä nder with the electoral outcomes of the AfD produces a similar result, if it is assumed that AfD voters are largely anti immigrant. Although Germany ranks high on percentage of survey respondents (54 55%) who consider migration to be the major problem facing the EU, the same 2016 survey by the TARKI Group also cites data that Germany ranks high on positive attitudes toward migrants. (TARKI Soc ial Research Institute 2016) While anti immigrant sentiment and support for right wing populism still represents a smaller portion of the German electorate, the results of the analysis indicate that geographies within Germany with the least culturally diverse populations ra nk highest in support for right wing populists, and that this trend has been gradually increasing since the mid 2000's. Suggested by this finding is that cultural shock may be an important variable in the success of European right wing populist politics, a s indicated by Molodikova and Lynalina (2017), but the positive relationship between cultural homogeneity, gradual increases in foreign born populations, and right wing d the refugee event may have exacerbated an already growing trend. Considering the implications of the contact hypothesis, one explanation for the trend observed in the analysis is that anti immigrant political messaging and political mobilization around a nat ionalist, populist agenda may be more successful in culturally homogenous communities than in more diverse areas of Germany. The correlation analysis also suggests that the sudden influx of migrants into the most homogeneous regions of Germany may have pro duced the largest cultural backlash, expressed in the electoral success of the AfD.

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31 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION Migration and cultural integration has been a key fixture in Germany over the past several decades, owing a lot to the process of German reunification. (Gotz 2016) Certainly, t he politics of German identity, citizenship, and culture are complex and ever evolving. How is immigration perceived in a homogenous culture which is not used to interacting with a diverse population versus a more plural culture where div ersity is taken for granted? Furthermore, how does this fit into the larger experience of cultural unity following German reunification, 30 years later? Political philosopher Will Kymlica suggests that the experience of post War democratic consolidation in Western Europe created a political culture of human rights awareness which eventually embraced multinational States and minority rights, in turn differentiating itself from the political culture which took shape in Eastern Europe during the second half of the 20 th century. (Kymlicka, 2017) He offers a theory of European multiculturalism which considers three observations about former communist countries in Eastern Europe which separate these countries from Western democracies. They include a belief that mi norities have or will collaborate with past, current, or potential State enemies. (Kymlicka, 2017) Also, that policies which benefit minorities will work against the Kymlicka, 2017) If Kymlicka is correct, then it should come as no surprise that right wing populism, with its emphasis on national identity and anti immigrant sentiment, will experience more success in the former communist areas of Eastern Europe, includin g the former GDR. Though the empirical evidence presented in this study does show a clear geographic divide in AfD support, with high numbers of supporters in the regions of the former GDR, the question of a lingering divide in political culture between E ast and West Germany remains largely unanswered by this an alysis . T he degree to which the success of the AfD in the East has been dramatically higher than in the West does indicate that an anti system politics is more appealing in the former GDR. However, more

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32 empi rical evidence and further study is needed to validate or invalidate the extent an East West division in political culture contributes to the success of European right wing populism in Germany. Though right wing vote share has increased nationally over th e past decade, the dramatic increase in populist vote share in East Germany forces consideration of the extent to which the political culture of the East shares commonalities with its former communist neighbors who have also experienced a surge in right wi ng populism. The contact hypothesis offers one possible explanation for the gradual correlation between cultural homogeny and right wing vote share in Germany. The analysis suggests that as the percentage of foreign born population in Germany has grown over the past several decades in Germany, communities with the least exposure to immigrants have been seen the highest increase in support for anti immigrant, right wing political parties, expressed in the gradual rise of right wing populist vote share. Becau se right wing populism is on the rise across Europe, another conclusion of this study is that the methods used here can be replicated to investigate similar trends in other European countries that have experienced a surge in right wing populist politics, t hereby adding to the existing theories of European right wing populism.

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