Andreas M. Wüst
Incorporation beyond Cleavages? Parties, Candidates and Germany's Immigrant-Origin Electorate

German Politics, 2016: 25, issue 3, pp. 414-432
ISSN: 0964-4008 (print); 1743-8993 (online)

This article is an attempt to shed more light on the relationship between parties and immigrants. The focus of the empirical analyses is on candidates and issues as linkage mechanisms between parties and voter groups. The results do not only point to some changes in this relationship, but also to a few elements that indicate a specific representational bond between the immigrant-origin electorate and immigrant-origin politicians. This finding corroborates the ‘politics of presence’ hypothesis by Anne Phillips, but rather as a complementary element of political representation than as a substitute. There are significant differences in some migration-related policy positions of native politicians and of those of immigrant origin – in all parties. Irrespective of the specific voter–candidate relationship among the immigrant-origin population, the analyses in this article strongly support the traditional, party-centred ‘politics of ideas’ approach. Consequently, the political integration of immigrants and their descendants can be characterised as a more general process across parties, and this process is expected to linger on.