Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck
Wie "AfD-bewegt" sind die Gewerkschafter?

Pp. 401-423 in: Romana Careja, Patrick Emmenegger, Nathalie Giger (Eds.): The European Social Model under Pressure: Liber Amicorum in Honour of Klaus Armingeon. 2020. Wiesbaden: Springer

Against the background of the recent electoral success of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland, AfD), this contribution deals with the relevance of trade union membership for voters’ support of this party. As organizations with large parts of their identity shaped by their historic pride as pioneers of the fight for freedom and democracy in anti-fascist resistance, trade unions have taken a clear stance against the AfD. Has this organizational positioning caught on among trade union members? The analysis of voter behavior in the Bundestag elections of 2017 does not show any direct effects of the affiliation with trade unions on voter preferences for or against the AfD, and equally few effects on general opinions of this party. However, subtle indirect effects of trade union membership are discernable. Among union members, certain forms of social and political alienation only weakly translate into positive attitudes towards the AfD. In total, however, union membership does not constitute a massive barrier for the AfD on their path to electoral success. In agreement with previous studies, these results also suggest that trade union membership nowadays is of no relevance when it comes to general political issues that do not directly concern voters’ social and economic interests.