Within a mere five years, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) has established itself in the German party system. During the same period, however, it has undergone a significant ideological transformation as well. Initially regarded as a direct competitor to the small-government Free Democrats, the AfD has since adopted the tried-and-tested electoral approach of other right-wing populist actors by embracing welfare chauvinist positions, linking the survival of the welfare state to that of the nation state. In doing so it has made substantial inroads into the blue-collar electorate, in some German states even overtaking the Social Democrats as the preferred choice of the working class.
Philipp Adorf is a research assistant at the University of Bonn. His past work has focused on the transformation of the Republican Party in the United States since the 1960s, published as How the South was won and the nation lost (Bonn, 2016). He recently co-edited a volume on the state of America’s democracy with Patrick Horst and Frank Decker: Die USA—eine scheiternde Demokratie? (Frankfurt 2018), including entries of his own on the topics of gerrymandering and the role of race in shaping partisan preferences. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org