Timo Lochocki on SWR2: The Reaction of Germany's "Concerned Citizens" Toward Immigration
Listen to the interview here (in German).
Dr. Timo Lochocki was interviewed for German radio station SWR2 about the way forward for established German political parties given events in Heidenau, which have put the spotlight on the large number of so-called “concerned citizens” that are vehemently opposed to Germany accepting further asylum seekers and refugees. Dr. Lochocki explains that across Europe approximately 30% of voters hold conservative views on integration and immigration, and for the established German parties to hold on to these voters and prevent them from supporting right-wing populist parties, such as the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), there are clear steps that they must take.
They must speak openly and clearly, and give citizens the sense that they have a plan, have the situation under control and are capable of implementing solutions that improve the situation for the immigrants and the German citizens that are feeling overwhelmed.
If they choose to dog whistle to conservative voters, they must ensure that they are able to follow through on their promises. As it is not the statements themselves that can lead to the growth of right wing populist parties, as many incorrectly believe, but instead it is a sense of betrayal by established parties that leads voters to switch to populist parties.
Crucially, Dr. Lochocki also outlines the impact of AfD success on the German Social Democrats, the SPD. Although many see the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) as the party with the most to lose, Dr. Lochocki states that both the center-left SPD and the CDU would lose similar amounts of voters, and given the greater potential for the CDU to form a coalition with the right-wing populists, it would be the SPD that would be hardest hit by any swing to the AfD. This has been confirmed in countries across Europe, and is something Dr. Lochocki emphasizes in suggesting ways for established German parties to tackle the current unrest.
Photo Credit: Nicola Romagna