How AfD politicians justify their exits from the party

Es is easier to get into AfD to enter than to get out of it. Like a door that is unlocked but held in place by a suction of air. Anyone who goes into the AfD only feels resistance from outside. He has to explain to those around him that all stories about the party are lies; that its members are just commoners who want the best for Germany. This claim may cost some friendships, but the new members can dismiss that as malice on the part of the others. As long as they tell the fairy tale of the misunderstood party, they do not suffer from an inner contradiction. Everything makes sense.

Justus Bender

Editor in the politics of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

But if they declare their withdrawal from the party, what has been said catches up with them. Then it’s time for a confession. You have to say how bad things are in the party and admit that the others were right. And they have to admit a deliberate deception: If they have known for a long time how bad the AfD is, why have they found excuses and excuses for so long? Out of opportunism? Out of greed for offices and mandates? Out of cowardice? One who has resigned says about his active time: “I couldn’t have said in an interview that my party was totally spoiled. Then you maneuver your way out of it.”

“You’re Everybody’s Asshole”

Anyone who leaves the AfD has not only failed politically, but is also in a bad position as a person. One describes the situation like this: “You’re everyone’s asshole. For some you already were. For the others you are one too.” No wonder that some people delay taking this step. The former Parliamentary Secretary in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Matthias Manthei wrote in his resignation: “You have to be a strong personality if you want to leave the AfD. Many who leave first choose the path of internal immigration (sic!) and then prefer to leave quietly and secretly.” There are also reports of threats and insults by AfD members when people leave. They are called “traitor”, “rat”, “wimp”.

The AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag in April 2022

The AfD parliamentary group in the Bundestag in April 2022

Image: Picture Alliance

The statements of those who have left all follow the same pattern. It’s like there’s a template termination somewhere on the internet that you can download, but in this case not for mobile phone contracts, but for right-wing populist parties. The similarities arise because the purified fight for their reputation with the same means. That’s why they don’t write two-liners to the party office, which would be enough, but pages of explanations to the public. In which they roll over from criticism of the party. That is the greatest similarity. In their criticism, they overtake those who have been addressing the AfD for years anyway. So not only do they admit, they rush to get ahead of their former opponents. As if everything that they have carefully kept secret for a long time is now being discharged.

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