In Germany, this is seen as a big issue, because Germans can't distinguish between right wing parties and nazis. Basically, everyone who is "right" is automatically a nazi. And when you take Germany's history into consideration, everyone is afraid that history will repeat itself.
Now, to be fair, this party has some representatives who have uttered ambiguous (whatever the spelling is) messages. You could say that they are fishing for votes from nazis. Yes. But that doesn't mean that the whole party (or all the voters) are nazis.
Funny enough, most people who are against the AFD, bring up all kinds of reasons why it is stupid (yes, "stupid) to vote for them. They bring up all kinds of elaborate reasons. For example:
- The AFD does not even have a concept for pensions and retirement benefits
- The AFD has financial / tax plans that benefit rich people more than poor people (the supposed target group)
- The AFD can't provide solutions to the problems they complain about
All of this may sound like legitimate critisism, there is just one problem. Voters in favor of the AFD vote for the AFD for very, very simple and straight forward reasons:
- To veto Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to let 1 million immigrants (labelled as "refugees") enter the country on a permanent basis
- To protest against the rising influence of Islam in Germany
- Most AFD voters don't believe the AFD will solve problems, they simply mistrust ALL other parties
On top of that, you should note that there are virtually no other alternatives to vote for if that is your political position. Let me walk you through the options:
CDU: The party of chancellor Merkel. She decided to take in refugees. You vote for the CDU, you support Merkel's decisions
CSU: A party that has a strong position against the intake of refugees, asking for an upper limit of refugees per year. The only problem: They can only be voted for in one state (Bavaria) and are in a union with CDU, making them basically the same party in effect!
SPD: The social democrats. They were in a government coalition with the CDU, making them Angie's partners in crime (or in a brave act of humanitarian efforts, if that's your point of view). Voting for them basically means you still support the intake of refugees. It is a social party after all.
Green party: They are very much in favor of refugees
Left party: They are in favor of all poor people and therefore not opposed to taking in refugees
FDP: A liberal party. They are in favor of a Canadian model immigration program, meaning they want qualified immigrants who are given points depending on how qualifiied, suitable etc. they are. The only problem with them: They share similar views on other political topics with the CDU, making them a frequent coalition candidate in the past. In other words: Voting for the FDP will extend Angie's chances of being a chancellor in a CDU-FDP government.
When you go through all these options, you quickly realise that you can either vote for a party that wants to have many refugees from Africa, the Middle East and whereever, or you can vote for a party that technically is against taking in too many refugees, but then you directly support Angela Merkel who will then claim "the electorate is on our side".
So this is why 12.6 per cent of all people voted for the AFD, the only party that is clearly against Merkel and her choice to flood Germany with mostly uneducated and sometimes criminal nincompoops.
I should note at this point that Germany has a tendency to mix humanitarian acts with "we need highly qualified foreign workers". This argument does not work in reality, however, politicians use it to fool the public into thinking that bringing in ANY foreigners is better than not bringing in foreigners at all. The reality is that many poor foreigners would love to enter Germany to seek asylum and gain easy financial benefits, while few highly qualified Chinese, Indians and other specialized workers feel attracted to a country with a complicated language that is kind of isolated culturally.
It's as simple as that.
The next thing on the list is the alleged nazi problem with the AFD. I see two options here: Either, the AFD radicalize themselves further and further until they are basically unvoteable by the German public (12.6 per cent is not the amount of nazis in Germany... it's people giving them the benefit of the doubt) or they democratize (?) themselves to the point where they become a right wing, but not radical hater party. Then, they can continue to attract people who have conservative views within what's acceptable in a democracy.
And I think that's what we will see.... it's all not too dramatic.