Germany’s far-right populist party Alternative for Germany is facing a number of scandals. Yet they are unlikely to reduce the party’s support. The network of ‘alternative’ media and social media influencers that shield the party from negative critique is too strong.
Since its foundation in 2013, the party has managed to establish itself as the political arm of a broader far-right movement that reaches from disappointed conservatives to re-politicized non-voters and to the radical and extreme right. The role of social media has been central in recruiting support and providing a common infrastructure for an alternative public sphere that today is largely independent of traditional media outlets.
The AfD’s abiding image as a party of old men hides the fact that it has become Germany’s first successful internet party.