The Atlantic

Germany's Right-Wing Populists Are Importing U.S.-Style Campaign Tactics

How a prominent GOP-linked political firm engineered the AfD’s strategy
Source: REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

About two weeks before election day in Germany, ads for a new website from the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) began popping up online across the country. “Angela Merkel: The Oathbreaker,” the website read, with a menacing,black-and-white flickering image of the longtime German chancellor’s face—a reference to Merkel’s decision to allow large numbers of refugees into Germany. The homepage listed two numbers: “98,” which it suggested was the number of Germans killed or injured by Merkel’s refugee and immigration policies, and “1,500€,” which the site alleged was the estimated monthly cost to the government of one refugee. Until election day, a Google search for “Merkel” would return an ad for this site as its first result (“Look at the lies,” one such ad said).

Such sites, and the subsequent online

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